A Philadelphia native and first generation American of Turkish decent, Mutlu combines his innate Philly soul style with elements of folk, reggae and rock. If it’s true that you can judge the caliber of a musician by the company they keep, then Mutlu presides the elite, upper echelons, having toured, supported or shared the same stages with artists such Daryl Hall & John Oates, Amos Lee, Adele, Katy Perry, John Hiatt, Leon Russell, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Todd Rundgren, Shuggie Otis & many more. His 2008 debut album produced by the late T-Bone Wolk, featured guest appearances by Daryl Hall, Amos Lee, G. Love and Raheem DeVaughn. Now six EP’s later, the Philly singer-songwriter who has been performing and writing since his teens, unleashes his latest 7 track project – “Good Trouble”– which he co-produced with Darius Amedolia. The recording was mixed and mastered by Grammy winning producer/engineer Phil Nicolod.
My first, real-time impressions of “Good Trouble”? Mutlu is truly magnetic. His voice is a blessing. The songs are incredible. You can listen to this album from start to finish. Beyond amazing music. An absolute must have for music lovers of any genre. Excellence doesn’t belong to any one genre. It transcends.
It’s clear from track one – and the album’s lead single – “Lifeline”, that Mutlu labors at the fringes of the rock and soul world. And throughout the recording, he relentlessly pursues this iconoclastic sound, while putting his voice to work against a shifting fabric of musical textures.
The soulful reggae rhythm of “Not Escapable,” hosts Mutlu’s sentiments of frustration with political situation, while “95 to 5” pops and bounces with an incandescent energy supplied by an insistent acoustic guitar strum and lyrics which keeps its focus on the plight of the common man.
Slower and introspective, the crystal clean picked guitar notes of “Scarred” shapes a melancholic backdrop for Mutlu to color vocally. The emotion is immediate and transportive. Production values are crisp and sharp on the grooving Philly soul of “Nothing in This Whole Wide World”, which features John Oates. This one easily plays to Mutlu’s strengths, allowing his silky falsetto to shine.
There’s no denying that musically, there are a handful of R&B, soul-rock influenced records in the past 10 years that have reached some of the heights found on “Good Trouble”, but nobody is writing lyrics or delivering vocals like this. Clearly, there’s no denying that Mutlu has an absolutely incredible voice, with an outrageous range in both the musical and emotional sense.
His lyrics often move fluidly like a string of profound thoughts being made on the spot, such as in the up-tempo “Work For Me”. The song beautifully transitions into “Oh My Girl”, where Mutlu delivers his trademark sweeping vocals accentuated in slow intense celestial-inspired landscape. The result is a track with an entrapping environment that’s both hauntingly ethereal and somatic.
There can be no doubt that the consistent high-quality exchange between words and music makes “Good Trouble”, Mutlu’s most superlative and focused record to date. In addition to the album release, Mutlu began his solo tour on August 9th in Knoxville, TN. The tour will include stops in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Durham, Western Mass, and at Daryl Hall’s venue in upstate New York. Check it out!