"Indy" artist Cynthia Layne's upcoming album, an R&B and jazz-flavored collection titled "Beautiful Soul," will be released by artist-friendly Indianapolis-based indie label Owl Studios on September 25th, 2007.
Beautiful Soul was co-produced and co-composed by Rob Dixon, who has worked with Layne over the years. The Baltimore-born Dixon is also a respected musician who has toured all over the world.
Layne (who hails from Dayton, Ohio) and Dixon, who plays saxophone, also regularly perform together. The rest of her band is comprised of Beautiful Soul co-producer/co-composer Reggie Bishop on piano, keyboards/keyboard bass along with Kenny Phelps on drums.
The new album is more R&B-influenced than her previous release Reality which was jazz. Songs of note on Beautiful Soul include "Be You," "KIngs & Queens," "Letting You Go" and "I Can't Change You."
"I listen to a lot of music styles and grew up on R&B music," said Cynthia. "I wanted to do an R&B album to reach more audiences and listeners...to be more mainstream. I think there is a little something for everyone on the album. For example, "What I Need" has a more singer/songwriter vibe; "I Can't Change You" is more jazz; "Be You" is more neo-soulish and "Free Yourself" is plain old school funk."
A few of the songs on Beautiful Soul were co-written by Layne, who says she draws inspiration from everyday living and the life experiences she, her family and friends have experienced. "Seems to me that we are all either ready to go through it, are in it or coming out of some situation in life," she said. "And for me singing is like telling a story...and we all have a story to tell."
Owl Studios may be relatively new on the scene (the company started in 2006), but the quality of artists they work with has always been a priority. In the short time since its inception, Owl Studios has become a well-respected, artist-friendly, independent record label in the genres of jazz, R&B/soul, and jam band. Rob Dixon, Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, Derrick Gardner and Steve Allee are on the label's diverse roster. The label has made a point of including established artists that have made names for themselves performing with or arranging for Maria Schneider, Harry Connick, Jr., Stan Kenton, Wes Montgomery, JJ Johnson, Slide Hampton, Ray Charles, Pat Martino, Wynton Marsalis and The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and the Count Basie Big Band. In addition to their reputations as performers and arrangers, many of their artists are also educators at top music institutions and jazz award winners, including a Grammy® nomination, jazz historian/arranger/conductor for the Smithsonian Institute; winner of the 1996 American Pianists Association Jazz Competition; winner of the 1996 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Performer Award and music director for the award-winning, nationally-syndicated Bob & Tom morning radio program.
Beautiful Soul will be available on September 25, 2007. For more information on Cynthia Layne, please go to www.owlstudios.com.