Curtis Harding is committed to doing music his own way. The Atlanta-based musician got his start as a backup singer in Cee Lo’s band, but after being approached by a major label, he walked away from the deal. “The things these labels were saying in our meetings, and what they were offering was ridiculous,” Harding says in an interview. Instead, he went the independent route, choosing how and with whom he’d release his own music. He’s teamed up with Cole Alexander, singer/guitarist with the Black Lips, for a band called Night Sun, and a collaboration with Brent Hinds of the metal band Mastodon is on the horizon. But his real tour-de-force is on Soul Power, his soul-inflected debut.
Reflecting his roots in both gospel and the neo-soul of Cee Lo, Harding has feet in both the past and future. The record evenly splits its time between garage-R&B fury and a more laid-back kind of cool. “Keep On Shining” is the best of both of these worlds. Over a driving beat, Harding does his best Wilson Pickett routine, punctuated by horn blasts and a tight backing band.