Stream Lee Fields & The Expressions new album, Emma Jean, via NPR Music

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Photo credit: DannyMiller/Leon Michaels, courtesy of the artist
Photo credit: DannyMiller/Leon Michaels, courtesy of the artist

R&B musician Lee Fields & The Expressions release their new album, Emma Jean, on June 3rd on Truth & Soul Records. The North Carolina born soul musician recorded a portion of his new record at Dan Auerbach’s studio in Nashville. Auerbach wrote “Paralyzed” for the new album, and along with a handful of originals, Fields also brings new soulful light to JJ Cale’s “Magnolia.”

Kianna Fitzgerald of NPR Music writes:

Now 63 years old, Fields has been pumping out soul, funk and Southern blues since he was a teenager. With more than 15 albums and 45 years of experience under his belt, it only makes sense that Fields’ appeal hinges on a sound he first began tooling as an ardent young fan of the late, great James Brown. Add that comparison with the vocalist’s complete title — Lee Fields & The Expressions, his backing band — and it’s even easier to tie Fields to the popular Black acts of the mid-to-late 20th century, from The Stylistics to The Isley Brothers to Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes.

On Emma Jean, that hearkened spirit is unmistakable. The record — which is named after Fields’ mother, who passed in 1993 — sees the singer and his band resume the reserved, yet grandiose sound they’ve meticulously developed over the years. With his most recent releases — namely, 2009′s widely popular My World and 2012′s equally well-received Faithful Man — Fields cemented his presence as a leader in the pack of retro soul. With daring accompaniment, penetrating lyrics and a combined sound that bleeds triumph and lovesickness all at once, Fields and co. stand solidly apart.

Listen to the album here. Listen to Fields’ cover of “Magnolia” below.

Lee Fields & the Expressions are playing a free show on Saturday, June 21st on Make Music Philly Day at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing

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