Considering his career-defining hit is entitled "Hip To Be Square," it's hard to imagine that 80s MTV heartthrob/sports bar rocker Huey Lewis could ever be associated with anything remotely cool. But for the first time since American Psycho's faux serial killer protagonist Patrick Bateman gave a favorable critical soliloquy of Lewis' Sports Lp, Lewis is indeed more hip than square.
Soulsville, Huey Lewis & The News' first album since 2001, is a loving tribute to legendary Memphis soul music label Stax aka "Soulsville USA." While the blue-eyed soul leanings of Lewis' music can be found even in his cheesiest work like "Stuck With You" and "Power Of Love" - Lewis comes by it honestly, having spent years in the trenches of the SF funk/soul scene, before moving to England in the early 70s and grinding it out in UK's pub-rock scene aside the likes of Elvis Costello, who used his then-band on his classic debut album My Aim Is True.
Costello is famous for reinterpreting blue-eyed soul tunes like "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" - but three decades later, Lewis has trumped him by going directly to the source. Lewis' smokey low tenor may not stand up to the vocal talents of Solomon Burke or Otis Redding - but he's not trying to out do what cannot be outdone - he's merely singing their praises and exposing some of their minor hits that deserved a wider audience. Solomon may have died on an airplane ride to Holland earlier this year, but thanks to Huey -he is living on - one casino gig at a time.
Sure, the accountants, FBLA alumni, lawyers and sports bar dwellers who will populate Seminole Hard Rock tonight could care less about Joe Tex or the rest of the Stax family. They want the hits. Surely Lewis and the latest edition of the News will provide them. But they will get several apples in their musical happy meal tonight. Lord knows they need the roughage.
Huey Lewis & The News perform tonight at 8pm at the Hollywood Seminole Hard Rock Casino, It is located at 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, Fl. Tickets are: $54, $69 and $84. For more information call: 866-502-PLAY