|Chicago-born singer/songwriter/performer Gerald McClendon earned the moniker “The Soul Keeper” by being one of the most versatile and dynamic R&B and soul stylists “The City of the Big Shoulders” has to offer. He has a voice with tremendous range that draws instant comparisons to other great singers such as Otis Redding, Ben E. King, Marvin Gaye, Z.Z. Hill, and Wilson Pickett. He is a master storyteller and provocateur, who will entice and entertain.
McClendon’s latest release, “Can’t Nobody Stop Me Now,” is a collection of a dozen new songs about love and lust, fatal attractions and heartfelt devotions that will tug at your heartstrings and lure your feet onto the dance floor. For the 2020 Delta Roots Records release, McClendon teamed up with the claimed producer Twist Turner to record at Delta Roots Sound Studios in the heart of Chicago. The duo employed a team that included Art Love on bass, three great guitar players, Herb Walker, Joe Burba and Mark Wydra, and three keyboardists, Roosevelt Purifoy, Sumito Aryioshi and Brian James, along with Skinny Williams and John “Boom” Brumbach on saxophone. Turner, who has worked with over 40 Grammy winning artists, laid down the drum tracks as well as handling producer duties.
The album opens with the horn-driven title track ‘Can’t Nobody Stop Me Now’ with McClendon laying out his plan to leave the past and hard times behind him, take control and fulfill his dream. The blazing tenor sax of Skinny Williams introduces the passion play ‘Where Do We Go From Here’ with McClendon pouring his heart out on the dramatic blues number. He then demonstrates that he is versed in the art of persuasion on the smooth R&B tune ‘Groove On Tonight.’
Williams delivers another great solo on the desperate ballad ‘She Don’t Love Me Anymore.’ Taking cues from his mentor Z.Z. Hill, McClendon chastises a bad girl on the bumpin’ ‘Runnin’ Wild,’ then channels Bobby “Blue” Bland on the piano-driven track ‘It’s Over Now.’ He spells out his manly attributes on the cheeky track ‘Mr. Wrong,’ before sharing more testimony to his self-reliance on the uplifting number ‘I Started Over.’
McClendon expresses his vulnerability on the delicate hymn, ’You Can’t Take My Love,’ and the haunting love song ‘Why Can’t We Be Together.’ The tawdry tale of a man in the doghouse, ‘Cut You Once,’ plays out over an easy funk groove with hot string jabs. The team then pulls out all the stops for the dramatic finale ‘I Think About You’ unleashing sweeping horns and churning Hammond B3.
With this fine solo release “Can’t Nobody Stop Me Now,” Gerald McClendon further displays his passion for traditional R&B and cements his mission as “The Soul Keeper.”
Rick J Bowen
Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois; Gerald has loved music since the tender age of four and would sing along with the music playing on the radio. Gerald has become one of the most versatile artists who proudly gives praise to the Masters of R&B, such as Marvin Gaye, Wilson Pickett, and Otis Redding. His love for music embraces all genres and he is prolific in many other forms such as rock, soul, blues, and country as well as jazz standards.
McClendon has collaborated with numerous musical projects, such as the recording of the theme song for the theatrical play, “Ten Percent Of Molly Snyder.” He was the featured vocalist on the album, “Sleeping While The River Runs” (2005). He sang ‘Pink’ on “Sweet Emotion: Songs of Aerosmith” (2001) and he was a featured singer on the Delta Roots Records’ 2019 release, “Battle Of The Blues: Chicago Vs Oakland.” McClendon’s most recent project was collaborating with Vince Salerno on “Grabbing The Blues By The Horns” (2019). Other projects going back over 20 years include “Choose Love” (1999) and a track on “Judgement Day: The Songs Of Robert Johnson” (2004) ‘Me And The Devil Blues.’
Gerald’s performances include a private “End Of The Season” celebration for the TV Personality Judge Mathis at Nouveau Tavern located downtown Chicago, and a performance in Las Vegas at Rock-N-Roll Fantasy Camp in which renowned, singer, songwriter and producer, Todd Rundgren was on the bill. He and his band have been a regular act at the club/restaurant, Untitled.
When one considers, Gerald McClendon’s originality, passion and ability to have an audience lose themselves in his music, authentic stage performance and ability to make vintage standard sound as fresh and lively as his own original music, there is no doubt that Gerald McClendon will continue to be a major attraction at clubs, festivals and private events for many years to come.