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Brian McKnight goes back to "old school R&B"

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Saturday, August 13, 2011

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In an uncertain time for the music industry, Brian McKnight is hedging his best on his latest release.

“Just Me” is a two-disc set with 10 new songs on one and a solo acoustic live show featuring the R&B/pop hitmaker’s older favorites on the other. These days, McKnight says, that may be the best way to draw attention to the fresh material.

“We are now a singles-buying population,” explains McKnight, 42, who’s sold more than 20 million albums worldwide since 1992. “People aren’t really conditioned to believe in full albums anymore. So I’m experimenting.

“I have no idea what they want, but hopefully giving them new songs now will get them ready for more new songs later, in some other configuration. This is a record for the fans, and hopefully it’ll change the format of how I do things in the future.”

For many of the new songs, McKnight says he “really went back to old school R&B.”

“Temptations” was written “in a real Marvin Gaye-ish style” and recorded with his oldest son (Brian Jr.). He also taps into “1953 style Ray Charles” for another.”

“Obviously that (sound) is just part of what I do,” McKnight says, “but it’s where I felt like going this time, and I think it sounds good alongside the live stuff, especially the way I recorded it. Hopefully other people will think it works.”

Brian McKnight, Tank, Avant and Kyle Simpson perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, at Chene Park, Chene and Atwater streets, Detroit. Tickets are $67, $47 and $37. Call 313-393-7128 or visit www.cheneparkdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.cheneparkdetroit.com

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