City of Black & White (Deluxe Version)

City of Black & White (Deluxe Version)

This sensitive, Nashville-based singer/songwriter flashed a penchant for rapping hard-hitting stories between sung choruses on his major-label debut, Nothing Left to Lose. Three years later, Kearney's artistic voice minus the raps plays this album out like a love letter. “All I Have” finds Kearny addressing a physically distant love, admitting heartbreak amidst a smooth mix of guitar and piano. On “Closer to Love,” a funky backbeat and soulful piano melody kick in after the line, “I guess we’re all one phone call from our knees,” bolstering the masterful storytelling. “New York to California” is a man-and-his-piano ballad with an intimacy that’s matched by the haunting, carpe-diem-themed “City of Black & White.” There’s a push-and-pull dynamic to this album, but despite the rugged soul-searching, the music is soft and warm, often accented with orchestral instrumentation and tender harmonies. While City of Black & White veers from the hard-luck raps featured on Nothing Left to Lose (reminiscent of singer/rapper Everlast), fans of musicians such as the Fray and Coldplay should be especially pleased with the outcome.

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