Despite being an artist most likely to elicit responses like "She's still around?" Macy Gray is still creating music and still delivering blues-y albums like The Way.While she might not be the patron saint of loves lost, she could be in the running. Gray's latest feels like she never left. Kicking things off with guitar- and strings-driven "Stoned" — which could be an updated Cold Specks number — Gray's inimitable vocals own the track.
After the diverse Covered and a song-by-song of Stevie Wonder's Talking Book, both of which were released by the Universal-distributed 429 in 2012, Macy Gray returned with a set of originals issued through her new label, named (honest) Happy Mel Boopy Touring Co. Compared to The Sellout, her previous album of original material, The Way is significantly less slick -- a no-fuss organic recording that involves some of the personnel from the 429 albums, including multi-instrumentalist Jeffrey "Zoux" Bluestein and guitarist Martin Estrada. There are some notable guest appearances, the most prominent of which comes from Booker T.
Macy GrayThe Way(Moonslice/Kobalt)Rating: 3 out of 5 stars It’s appropriate that soul singer Macy Gray kicks off her 8th album with a song called “Stoned” because many would say her unconventionally scratchy voice makes her seem like she’s always had one toke too many. It’s that unique sound though that has kept her afloat in the music industry, although her move from the majors (Epic), to offshoots of bigger labels (429) and now to a small indie parallels her declining commercial fortunes since her still impressive 1999 debut. Gray’s reduced popularity can partially be traced to inconsistent material.