The Soul of John Black • A Sunshine State of Mind • Yellow Dog Records • Producer: John Bigham • Score: 8 out of 10
A Sunshine State of Mind is a stripped down, crafty, DIY record with a high quality demo feel. Former Fishbone guitarist John Bigham is a soulful crooner who uses emotion and groove to offset the simplicity of his very infectious tunes. "Higher Power," "Beautiful Day," and "Summertime Thang" bring to mind the vocal soul stylings of Al Green, Bobby Womack and Ronald Isley. Stinging torrents of gutbucket blues-rock guitar is unleashed on "Magic Woman" and "East LA Lady." A Sunshine State of Mind grows on you and reminds us that you don't have to be Mozart to write cool tunes. Funky grooves, soul, and a clever turn of a phrase will do the trick.