It's tempting to call Adele Adkins this year's Amy Winehouse. After all, a serious buzz has blossomed into genuine phenom status with last summer's release of Adele's debut, 19. Four Grammy nominations in heavyweight categories (Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance) have followed. Both Adele and Winehouse are from the U.K., both have over-the-top voices, both tap a certain retro vibe. But Adele—still only 20—sets herself apart with an apparently fully formed versatility that fuses those retro threads of soul, R&B, folk, and Britpop with a contemporary sensibility. Plus, she's already an impressive writer, filling 19 with a teenager's love obsessions, but with insight beyond her years and punctuated by stylish lines. Her musical arrangements are even more enthralling. And her voice can not only match Winehouse's in sassy power but also casually toss off a seemingly endless array of emotion-laden nuances and textures ranging from squeaks and sultry purrs to stormy, broad brushstrokes. Opening will be another impressive neo-soul U.K. singer: Cornwall native James Morrison stirs a lot of blues and R&B into the strong originals on his second album, Songs for You, Truths for Me. Morrison's raspy voice suggests a finer version of Rod Stewart's, and he can rock out like the former Face, too, especially on the current single, "Nothing Ever Hurt Like You." All ages.
Tue., Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m., 2009
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