Music Review: Nikka Costa, “Pebble to a Pearl”
Seven years ago, Nikka Costa’s career looked certain to go supernova — her song “Like a Feather” was everywhere and her style had one foot in classic funk and another in sci-fi future soul. But then she fell prey to industry whims and was forced to re-record much of her 2005 disc, “Can’tneverdidnothin’,” to little commercial effect. Now, a retrenched Costa is deep in a classic groove with “Pebble to a Pearl,” her first disc for the revitalized Stax label, and her new home has the siren bursting with hot buttered soul.
With the exception of the clear ‘60s echoes in opening track “Stuck to You,” “Pebble to a Pearl” could play convincingly as a 1974 artifact — Stevie Wonder’s “Fulfillingness’ First Finale” figures forcefully. She can slide from the simmering funk of “Keep Pushin’” into sexy Southern R&B ballads such as “Love to Love You Less” and Johnny Guitar Watson’s “Loving You” with slippery ease.
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