Friday, Aug 25 2006 | 12:35

After the critically acclaimed release of her first solo album “Soul Makeover” and the sophomore effort “Be It” on Sähkö Recordings, soul songstress Nicole Willis teamed up with Finland’s premier funk band The Soul Investigators and together they released the album “Keep Reachin’ Up” on Timmion in April 2006.

Now Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators are touring Europe and present their explosive, soulful live show. Here are the dates:

24.08. Nürnberg – K4 (D)
25.08. Hamburg – Mandarin Casino (D)
26.08. Wiesbaden – Folklore im Garten (D)
27.08. Cologne – Stadtgarten (D)
28.08. Munich – Atomic Cafe (D)
30.08. Düsseldorf – Rheingold Saal (D)
31.08. Leipzig – Conne Island (D)
01.09. Berlin – Lovelite (D)
02.09. Leuven (BE)
09.09. Helsinki -Tavastia (FI)
15.09. Amsterdam – New York Flavas WTC (NL)
16.09. Dublin festival – Speigel Tent (IRL)

– album information –

Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators “Keep Reachin’ Up” (Timmion / TIMMIONCD002)

The album’s lead single “If This Ain’t Love (Don’t Know What Is)” was nominated at Gilles Peterson’s ‘Worldwide Awards’ as one of the best songs of the year 2005. An up-tempo, inspired and deceivingly simple track, “If This Ain’t Love” brings to mind releases by legendary soul labels such as Motown and current music by the likes of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. Peaking at number 4 on the national Finnish charts, “If This Ain’t Love” has been lauded by rare groove connoisseurs as ‘Northern Soul for the new millennium’.

“The sound of this group reminds me of dancing to the new James Brown 7″ in the record shop on Clarkson Avenue with my sister when we were 6 and 8 years old”, Brooklyn-born Nicole Willis describes the album. The follow-up single, “My Four Leaf Clover” continues in the same vein.
The album’s production courtesy of Didier, the man behind the rough sound that the Timmion label is known for, is sparse, but rich in detail, and showcases Didier’s knack for keeping the sound cohesive. Nicole’s vocals and the funky backing of The Soul Investigators are a perfect match.

Nicole Willis states it plainly. It’s her third solo album that sees her pair up with the native Helsinki Soul Investigators. She recorded two albums fronting acid jazz group Repercussions titled “Earth & Heaven” and “Charmed Life”. She has since released two solo albums, both on Sähko/Puu: “Be It” (2004) and “Soul Makeover” (2000).
Both albums featured production from husband Jimi Tenor, Maurice Fulton, Veikka Ercola, Nuspirit Helsinki and the artist herself, Nicole Willis.

The Soul Investigators, under different guises like Didier’s Sound Spectrum, Ostari Njengi and Soultors, have impressed fans of Deep Funk for nearly a decade. Their numerous 45 releases like “Chicken”, “Soulful Trip” and “U-Bo-Te” and LP’s “Soul Strike!” (Soul Fire, 2001) and “Home Cooking” (Timmion, 2003) have found their way onto the turntables of vinyl enthusiasts all around the globe.

“Keep Reachin Up” is a sure-shot album that is not to be missed. The album has been released in April 2006.

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