Time has come today

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This Detroit-area guitarist deftly weaves the blues with a grown-up contemporary sound, which ain’t an easy thing to do. Al-Saadi’s deep, gritty voice resonates through this collection of smooth songs as if he has lived far beyond his 27 years, and his restrained guitar playing is powerful without trampling the tunes.

The songwriting is varied too; when Al-Saadi steps out of his blues shoes, he bounces from an acoustic ballad reminiscent of Blind Faith (“In Time”) to pleasing and catchy pop (“Everything”). His love of soul shines on the silky “If,” and his guitar soloing carries subtle jazz undertones on “Who Turned Out the Lights?” But the velvety flow of album opener “Breathe” and the grave strut of “Mystified” show that blues is what makes Al-Saadi’s soul sing. Here’s a skilled — yet relatively unnoticed — singer-songwriter; a Long Time Coming indeed.

 

Appears Tuesdays at Blue Martini (201Hamilton Row, Birmingham; 248-258-3005) and Wednesdays and Thursday at Goodnite Gracie’s (301 W. Huron, Ann Arbor; 734-623-7400).

Gary Blackwell writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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