After José James announced that he would be doing Lean On Me, his tribute album in honor of legendary music man Bill Withers, we've been anxiously waiting to hear what his takes on some of our favorite Bill Withers tunes will sound like. We already got to hear a pretty faithful version of "Use Me" that didn't disappoint and now we get signature Withers tune "Lovely Day."
It doesn't get more sublime than "Lovely Day," and José doesn't try to reinvent the wheel with his cover. He keeps much of the song's original structure intact, from the opening bass and guitar riffs to the keys and drums. Of course, José's smooth, jazz-inflected vocals make this somehow even more relaxing as the song evokes a warm summer day with the one you love. The biggest change that's made is turning the song into a duet thanks to the inclusion of singer Lalah Hathaway, who brings her full-bodied voice to the table to add the perfect contrast to José's. The addition of another vocal (especially one of the caliber of Lalah's) makes this one grow lovelier and lovelier with each listen.
In addition to Lean On Me, which will drop on September 28th, you can also see the singer doing his thing live as he's set to hit the road yet again throughout the fall and winter in support of the set. You check out his upcoming dates — which include a couple nights in Japan and even a date at sea — after you see the lovely music that José James and Lalah Hathaway make together below.
José James Tour Dates:
Sept. 22 – Monterey Jazz Festival – Monterey, CA
Sept. 24 – GRAMMY Museum – Los Angeles, CA
Oct. 19 – Jefferson Center – Roanoke, VA
Oct. 20 – The Hamilton – Washington DC
Oct. 26 – Highline Ballroom – New York, NY
Oct. 31 – Billboard Live – Osaka, Japan
Nov. 1 – Billboard Live – Tokyo, Japan
Nov. 2 – Billboard Live – Tokyo, Japan
Nov. 7 – Troubadour – Los Angeles, CA
Nov. 8 – Garfield Theatre – La Jolla, CA
Nov. 15 – Arts Commons – Calgary, AB
Jan. 25 – Berklee Performance Center – Boston, MA
Jan. 26-Feb. 2 – Blue Note at Sea
Mar. 15 – Chicago Symphony Center – Chicago, IL