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Mutlu - Liviní It
Mutlu - Liviní It
CD Review by Jud Conway on 10/28/2008   

Mutlu Onaral, or simply, "Mutlu," as he is called, is part of a new generation of recording artists coming out of Philadelphia, PA. The twenty-something singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist crafts R&B-styled acoustic soul informed by the urban experience and infused with the collaborative nature of modern hip-hop. He is a dynamic in-demand live performer who has opened for, among others, Amos Lee, Joe Jackson, Leon Russell, and John Hiatt. Liviní It, Mutluís debut full-length release on Manhattan Records/EMI, is a strong first statement by a young talent who proudly acknowledges his native-Philly musical roots.

The sessions for Liviní It were conducted by legendary producer/musician T-Bone Wolk, who has worked with the likes of Elvis Costello and Hall & Oates. The duo of Mutlu and Wolk played most of the instruments on the record, excepting drums. Wolkís production emphasizes the intimacy of Mutluís acoustic guitar-playing.

Liviní It opens with the title track, co-written with producer/songwriter Michael "Ojike" McHenry. Sonically, the song sounds a little like Innervisions-era Stevie Wonder, a la "Higher Ground." The song boasts a funky, propulsive bass line and infectious chorus.

Other album highlights include "Hello Morning," co-written with fellow Philly musicians Ben Arnold and Scot Sax, and "Upside," a track which conjures up melodic impressions of songs like the Beatles "Lady Madonna" and Van Morrisonís "Caravan."

Mutlu is joined by a number of high-profile friends on key tracks. Amos Lee, who produced Mutluís 2006 self-titled EP, co-wrote and sang on "Make It There," a song that harkens back to "Sheís Gone" and other early Hall & Oates singles. Daryl Hall himself appears on the track "See What It Brings." Philly luminary G. Love contributed vocals and harmonica on "Shaky Ground." Raheem De Vaughn duets with Mutlu on the final cut, entitled "In Your Heart."

Mutlu is currently touring throughout the Philadelphia region (and beyond) in support of Liviní It. His growing popularity can be best summed up by the commitment of one fan on Mutluís site, who writes, "I'm gonna spread your awesomeness like a disease! (A super cool disease that everyone wants. lol)."

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