Daniel Merriweather, "Love & War" (J Records/Allido Records)
Australian-born singer Daniel Merriweather embodies the definition of a soul singer, not just because his music is styled in that fashion, but because his voice is so darn expressive.
On the Mark Ronson-produced stateside debut "Love & War," every note Merriweather sings is boldly held, even when the desperation in his tone seems to forecast tears in the next musical bar.
The singer's album begins starkly on "For The Money." It begins with a single piano chord followed by lyrics that build up to a startling end: "New York, she sits and cries. She's had her moment of glory. Stands up, then she took the dive. From the sixty-first story."
The 28-year-old co-wrote nearly every song on the disc, narrating a breakup tale — mistep-by-mistep — on country-sounding "Cigarettes." He is playful there, and poetic on a dressed-down song about unrequited love, "Giving Everything Away For Free."
Merriweather is backed on several songs by the Dap-Kings. The band's horns gave a retro sound to music by Amy Winehouse, and they do the same for Merriweather on the socially conscious track "Change" featuring rapper Wale.
He teams up with Adele on duet "Water And A Flame" — just one of the gems on the album.
CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: The tambourine, the drums, the guitar — they all sound great paired with lyrics about being the jerk who unknowingly chases a good girl away on "Getting Out."