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Time (EP)

Time is a sensitive thing. The moment may seem right for some things; for other things, not so much. The latter best captures the essence of the new EP from Canadian singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Luke McMaster. Long known by many as one half of the pop/rock duo McMaster & James of the early 2000s, McMaster in more recent years has expressed his love and passion for  the Motown legacy and classic soul sound, releasing several projects in that style.  In 2008, he penned and recorded a handful of soul rich tunes with friend and producer/co-writer, Greg Johnson. However, when he presented them to his publishers, there was little interest in this new evolutionary sound, because as McMaster puts it, "They wanted more McMaster & James, but that wasn't who I was anymore". In other words, the time wasn't right.

After several Motown inspired projects, including a collaborative effort with Motown songwriting icon,Lamont Dozier, and Felixe Cavaliere of the Rascals on Icons Of Soul, these long forgotten songs have finally found their moment on McMaster's latest offering, Time.

McMaster says it took the pandemic and lockdowns, where all of us were essentially spending all of our time at home, to rediscover these five soulfully sweet tunes that had fallen through the cracks -  a serendipitous turn of events during a very difficult, unprecedented time. The EP is essentially a splendid collection of McMaster's unique style of soul presentation, highlighted by his enchanting falsetto voice, smooth melodies, horn backing and utterly soothing background harmonies.  "Running", the EP's first single, kicks off the experience with its punchy rhythm and love themed lyrics. The title song is soft and reflective, with almost choir-like background harmony. McMaster continues to pour out his heart in "Can't Get Enough of You", so musical and lyrical that it would melt any heart being serenaded with this up tempo vibe. Blue-eyed neo soul has never sounded so good nor so charming. Oddly, my personal favourite is a song of love gone wrong, "All I'm Missing Is You"probably because the smooth, warm, flowing melody with horn and string arrangement is so feelgood and McMaster's voice so captivating, it distracts from what the song is actually predicated upon. 

McMaster is not only proud of his newest project, but also of the circumstances under which the EP came to light.  He says, "Time is about rediscovery, loss, and gratitude. Finding  time for so many things was difficult before this worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. We've been forced to slow down and appreciate what's around us. Our longing for the past is showing up everywhere now. He adds, 'Timing is everything and sometimes you just have to wait it out". 

Time is positive, enjoyable, and when you get down to it, soulfully simple in style, offering a nice break from the increasingly complex world in which we continue to exist. Sometimes it takes the worst of times, for something's time to be right.

Reviewed by Stu Berketo

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