by Thomas Bedward February 04, 2021
A Washington, DC native now based out of Chicago, Illinois, Terry Blade has become one of the most powerful and impressive singer-songwriters of the LGBTQI scene. Armed with a sultry baritone and expansive sound that fuses elements of soul, RnB, and heavy folk, Terry’s music has won countless awards and drawn comparisons with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Amos Lee, Meshell Ndegeocello and the immortal Tracy Chapman.
After first rising to prominence with the release of his debut acoustic demo, ‘The Unloveable’, and his subsequent EP, ‘Misery (Mastered For Headphones)’ last year. Two uniquely powerful releases, they perfectly introduced Terry’s emotive, stripped-back style, portraying his natural emotive sound and emphasising the authenticity and highly personal nature of his work. Now, Terry is back with an album that far excels anything we’ve heard before, blending his established sound with an uncompromising focus on the intersectionality of his social and cultural identity as a gay African American descendant of slavery in the United States.
Aptly titled ‘American Descendant of Slavery, The Album’, the new record incorporates original music with audio recordings of former African American slaves (and their descendants) obtained from the American Folklife Centre at the Library of Congress. It’s an unapologetically poignant release, and one that grows and shifts perfectly with every single track and every single memory.
After the opening lines of ‘What He Mean by That?’, the album comes into its own with ‘INward’, a sharp RnB-infused single that breaks down the many shades of the ‘n-word’. A single that treats it with both pride and pain, it’s a song that sets the tone of the record in perfect form. Incorporating subtle vocals tracks and nuanced hip-hop sounds, there’s magic and emotion in every beat, and as the album continues, the thrills, hits, and heavy moments only increase. In tracks like ‘Reparations’, Terry shifts to a smooth, synth flow that lays the foundation for his unapologetically honest views on the black experience, while other tracks like ‘Black Hurts’ revels in deep, bluesy tones to convey the enduring effects of slavery in modern American. Through ‘I Want it Back’ and ‘They Must Be Kin’, Terry moves back to his atmospheric style, creating a stark, textured sound that perfectly reflects his bitter, yet beautiful lyrics.
Along with his spotlight on slavery and the climate that surrounds Black America, Terry also uses the album as a platform to address gender identity, opening with the narrative driven ‘MTF’, and continuing with ‘Mr. Robertson’ and ‘Ms. Mizell’. As the album comes to a close, Terry unleashes his most intimate moment so far, create the serene and lavishly produced ‘Same Gender Loving’, an ode to Terry and his significant other.
A textured tapestry of sounds that reaches back through the history, everything about ‘American Descendant of Slavery, The Album’ speaks to the soul, and the more you listen, the more you become attached to Terry and his experiences. As with his previous releases, Terry has worked wonders to shine a spotlight on what matters most, while also continuing to develop as a musician, creating a perfect storm of potent, politically charged, socially conscious, and undeniably entertaining moments.
You can preview the new album above via Apple Music and be sure to follow Terry on his social media pages below, so you never miss a release.
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