CeeLo Green is Thomas Callaway

CeeLo Green is Thomas Callaway

As its title suggests, CeeLo’s fifth album is a kind of reintroduction, a stripping away of persona to reveal the man underneath. We already knew he could sing—and knew he had style, too. But where Green’s past projects have bridged the classic with the contemporary (he was, lest we forget, part of the groundbreaking Atlanta rap crew Goodie Mob), Thomas Callaway is a proudly retro affair, mixing gospel (“Lead Me”), country R&B (“Little Mama”), and fuzzed-out Latin soul (“Doing It All Together”) with time-capsule precision. Having a backing band whose collective resume includes Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Johnny Cash, and Elvis probably doesn't hurt, and neither does production from The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, who has built a career on conjuring the ghosts of sonic pasts in revealing ways. In other words, if Thomas Callaway sounds like the real thing, there’s good reason for it.

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