Crystal C-Note: Shadow Works
Fort Wayne artist Crystal C-Note wants to make music that “touches your soul,” mixing in a hefty dose of soul and R&B as well as touches of hip-hop, dance, and even island music. She performs in bright colors, giving her visuals a touch of Björk extravagance (more mid-’90s, and less red carpet swan dress.) Despite the technicolor bliss of her outfits and stage presence, it still all comes down to her music.
On Shadow Works, the singer/songwriter touches on self-love, following the muse, drug addiction, and letting a little light in when things get too dark. It’s 12 songs that groove heavy with melodies, story, and soul. These are songs born of inner strength and the need to share that strength to the world through dance-heavy music.
Shadow Works wants to move you. That’s the overall vibe I get. It moves you to dance, to change, to take responsibility for your actions, to be the person you wish you were. But Crystal C-Note doesn’t lay it on heavy, she delivers her message through well-produced, street-level songs. She uses the studio as an instrument, making her songs sound the best they can. It works.
The album is filled with good vibrations. Opener “Dopamine” has an old bluesy feel with soulful piano and vocals, bringing to mind Billie Holiday and Hozier. There’s a great hip-hop breakdown thrown in there for good measure. “Sugarwater” is another great modern dance/pop track with a vocal hook that pulls you in. “Vibe Higher” has touches of reggae and island grooves.
Elsewhere, “Won’t Let Go” hits the struggle with addiction, both those struggling and their loved ones. Crystal gets help from local musicians as well, like Bluffton-based artist Arthur Mock on “Warrior,” and Mock and T Zank on “Mojo Thief,” which has a slinky kind of ’80s feel, complete with Neal Schon-esque guitar solo.
Shadow Works shows Crystal C-Note connecting to her art in a very visceral and present way with great production, earworm hooks, and just the right amount of groove to get you moving. A fantastic collection of R&B and hip-hop hybrid dance tracks with soul and grit.