In This Life Together

In This Life Together

by Kindred the Family Soul


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The Ashford & Simpson of neo-soul, Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon, aka Kindred the Family Soul, continue their ongoing autobiography in song with their second album, In This Life Together, its title borrowed from a dual memoir by the husband-and-wife acting and activist team of Ruby Dee and the late Ossie Davis, who is quoted and name-checked in "The Quote (Interlude)." Typical of neo-soul recordings, the music, provided by a succession of multi-instrumentalist composer/producers (Yameen, Dinky Bingham, Boy Genius, Kristin Price, Chuck Treece, Easy Mo Be, Elise Perry, Anthony Bell, etc.), is mid-tempo, synthesizer-and-drum-programming-driven approximations of 1970s soul in the manner of Marvin Gaye and Sly & the Family Stone, tricked out with contemporary hip-hop elements, including a couple of unnecessary guest raps. Over the tracks, Dantzler and Graydon improvise singsong melodies and intone repetitive hooks, but what really matters is not the music, it's the message. The couple are unabashedly autobiographical; you can't get through the first real song, "Thru Love," without knowing how many children they have and what their sexes are (a son and two daughters), and by the final track, "Bed Time Story," you're being informed, "Aquil has started a new school, and oooh he's doing well." Such details, however, only serve to make their material universal. In contrast to most urban music (and most pop music in general), the subjects here do not concern new love or love gone wrong, they are about the love continuing in a real, committed relationship, that of a contemporary, working-class African-American couple. That love faces many challenges -- the word "stress" turns up in no less than four songs (post-traumatic on one occasion), and "pressure" and "struggle" are repeated, too. Even in a mutual love song like "Thru Love," the singers pause to ask, "Still, who says it's gonna last forever?" But this is more than just couples therapy set to music. "Sneak a Freak" addresses the possibilities of intimacy sandwiched in between all of life's responsibilities; "Woman First" is Graydon's reflection on how her husband's love helps her get through daily strife ("Ever since I had the babies, I just don't feel the same"); and "Message to Marvin" is an update on Gaye's "What's Going On," with the chorus, "What the hell is going on?" There are also songs of faith ("As of Yet") and reflections on parents ("Struggle No More," which oddly contains a verse contributed and sung by India.Arie that is a complete non sequitur). In other words, the collection presents a full-scale portrait of life for a loving, struggling, contemporary couple with three kids trying to keep things together, a life not that different from most people's. That is actually a refreshing perspective to find expressed in popular music, and one a wide audience should be able to identify with.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/20/2005
Label: Hidden Beach
UPC: 0827969651223
catalogNumber: 96512
Rank: 99701

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kindred the Family Soul   Primary Artist
Chuck Treece   Bass,Guitar,Drums,Keyboards
Dinky Bingham   Bass,Keyboards,Background Vocals,Multi Instruments
Julian Brown   Drums
James Poyser   Piano
Anthony Bell   Multi Instruments
Tracy Carter   Organ,Multi Instruments,fender rhodes
Fatin Dantzler   Vocals
Richard Tucker   Guitar
Jill Scott   Shouts
India.Arie   Vocals
Grecco Buratto   Guitar
Aja Graydon   Vocals
Daud Elbakara   Trumpet
Adam Blackstone   Bass
Jarrett Miles   Trumpet
Jermaine Miles   Trombone
Archie Eversoul   Track Performer
Conley "Tone" Whitfield   Bass,Guitar
Radji Mateen   Saxophone,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Chuck Treece   Producer
Ossie Davis   Composer
Ruby Dee   Composer
Dinky Bingham   Producer,Engineer,drum programming,Vocal Producer
Julian Brown   Producer
Larry Gold   String Arrangements
M. Lewis   Composer
Steve McKeever   Executive Producer
J.J. Nix   Composer
E.V. Perry   Composer
Anthony Bell   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Tracy Carter   Producer
Fatin Dantzler   Composer,Executive Producer
Richard Tucker   Producer
R. David Tucker   Composer
T.K. Carter   Composer
R. Tyson   Composer
Kindred the Family Soul   Audio Production
Aja Graydon   Composer,Executive Producer
Steve McKie   Producer,drum programming
Conley "Tone" Whitfield   Producer
Marcus John Bryant   Composer

Customer Reviews

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In This Life Together 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD is refreshing. I love the fact that they are married and they talk about marriage,kids, and just the importance of family values. This is so needed in an era where everything degrades women and the idea of relationships period. Shout Out to Kindred.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's good to hear about true love and relationship and the issues around them. This is truly a good album