Ledisi, “Let Love Rule” (Verve)

Ledisi, a New Orleans native who moved to California as a child, gets right to the heart of her peace and love message on Let Love Rule’s opening cut, “Shot Down.” With its reggae groove, the tune immediately identifies itself as delivering a socially conscious theme that is reinforced when she sings, “I want peace to win.” A nine-time Grammy nominated artist, Ledisi is, as usual, in great voice on the song. A big plus is that it includes horns, as do several other cuts, keyboards and bass. Alas, there is no drummer listed so it is assumed that electric programming was utilized. The lack of a drum set becomes more obvious, and somewhat distracting, on the title cut, “Let Love Rule.”


Ledisi definitely knows her way around a soul ballad and brilliantly delivers “Forgiveness,” on which Modesty Lycan provides excellent support as a background singer, with guitarist Ivan Barias, a co-writer with Ledisi and Jaquetta Singleton, thoughtfully accompanying the vocalists.

For some of Ledisi’s straight-up contemporary R&B style, “Here” really works with a full horn section, guitar, piano, bass and drums. Ledisi delivers as she moves among genres and uses various instruments and electronic mixes and even string ensembles. On the more acoustically oriented “All the Way,” she displays her more sophisticated side and ability to incorporate a rhythmic vocal approach while remaining totally passionate.

Ledisi invites the incredible John Legend in for “Give You More” and, as one can imagine, it’s a match made in studio heaven.

The vocalist takes it out with gospel giant Kirk Franklin’s “If You Don’t Mind” on which she’s the lead singer fronting a choir of great voices.

Let Love Rule succeeds because of Ledisi herself.