Building on rave reviews for his 2019 debut Changes, Chicago-based singer-songwriter and pianist Neal Francis unveils music from his sophomore album In Plain Sight, released in late 2021. While Changes’ vintage New Orleans stylings saw Francis hailed as “the reincarnation of Allen Toussaint” by Craig Charles on BBC Radio 6 Music, the new record expands his palette into lusher and more complex territory, by turns dreamlike and kaleidoscopic, anchored as ever by his virtuosic, stream-of-consciousness piano work. Exploring themes of addiction, sobriety, acceptance and redemption, Francis taps influences that range from ragtime to gospel, soul to glam rock.
Soulful singer-songwriter Unoma Okudo is distinguished by her unique voice, and captivating melodies and lyrics. Born in Nigeria, where she was introduced to music by her parents, her career really began after she moved to Glasgow to further her education. Here, she began to write songs and discover her own voice as an artist. Since then, Unoma has performed as the opening act for established and well-known artists including Macy Gray, Ronnie Spector, Sinach, and soul legend Alexander O’Neal. For Unoma, the last few years have been an intense season of self-discovery, juggling life as a medical doctor and creative artist. After a brief hiatus from performing, she returns with new material, with themes celebrating freedom, purpose, and spirituality.