Material: An intriguing mix of pop, R&B and soul is at the heart of Jodie and The Normals' accessible, feel-good originals. The material is uplifting, infusing a silver lining even when they express conflict or uncertainty. Tender ballad “Here” asks for breathing room in a new relationship while assuring her partner she wants him in her life: “I don’t know where this will lead but I guess I need some time to breathe. Is that alright? Because I just want you here...” The song starts with solo acoustic guitar and kicks into a rolling, insistent rhythm. “Magic,” written by Camacho, pays tribute to someone who brings out the best in you: “There’s magic in your hands, this feeling comes over me and I no longer doubt myself, just want to break free.”
Musicianship: Levinson fronts the band as spokesperson and main vocalist, but the group’s strength lies in their keen ability to work cohesively. Levinson’s voice has a soulful, honey-like quality, which is never forced, while Camacho’s leans more toward the robust end of the soul spectrum. When the two join forces, the result is an underlying power topped with a gentle overlay. Levinson’s tasty electric keyboards supply the foundation to set the mood and tone for the band. The percussion consists of a cajon, a box-like instrument that Camacho plays so skillfully that he accesses a multitude of sounds that vary each song’s flavor. Schwartz’s sensitive guitar work fits the outfit perfectly, with gentle picking or percussive energy when called for.
Performance: The performance’s appeal lies with the versatility in material and an emphasis on rhythmic variation. Levinson and Camacho alternate singing lead, reminiscent of ‘70s bands like Fleetwood Mac and The Doobie Brothers where leads were handled by the member who best represented the song. The band played an Alison Krauss cover, “Let Me Touch You For A While,” wisely associating themselves with a high profile act and song.
Summary: Jodie and The Normals are about musical and spiritual synergy with uplifting songs. Honing their image and further solidifying their direction will move them closer to the next step in their career, putting finishing touches on an already musically polished act.
The Players: Jodie Levinson, vocals, keyboard; Luis Camacho, vocals, percussion; Zack Schwartz, guitar.
Photo by Mark Shiwolich
Venue: Rockwood Music Hall
City: New York, NY
Jodie and The Normals - "BestShot"
Looking to get your music reviewed in the magazine? Click HERE!