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Calvin Richardson brings grown-man soul in his new album

DEMETRIA IRWIN | 4/12/2011, 5:27 p.m.

Calvin Richardson has a new album, and with it, a strong contender for wedding song of the year. "You're So Amazing" off Richardson's "America's Most Wanted" album just hit the Top 20 on the Billboard Urban Adult Contemporary chart. The sugar-sweet lyrics and Richardson's smooth, powerful voice provide the perfect soundtrack to a first dance.

"America's Most Wanted" is mostly about romantic love, but not all of it has the innocence of "You're So Amazing." Richardson growls some of the sexy lyrics in "Come Over," and in the fun mid-tempo "Paradise," Richardson has a post-club suggestion for a beautiful woman whose body looks like it might taste "sweet like blackberry pie."

Richardson has a few years on today's male chart-toppers like Trey Songz, and his album, appropriately, feels more mature. Yes, he explores casual sex and giving up "Thug Livin," but he does so from the perspective of a grown man. Richardson wrote or co-wrote every track on the album. This past summer, he won an ASCAP award for writing and publishing 2009's "There Goes My Baby," a song co-written with Babyface and sung by Charlie Wilson.

Raised in a church-centered home in North Carolina as the fifth of nine children, Richardson has spent his whole life listening to soulful music. You can hear his down-home roots in his endearing pronunciation of some words.

The title track, an ode to the lady in his life, is not the strongest song in the 11-track album, but it does fit the overall theme of love and passion. "Reach Out," a duet with Nadia, a singer with a commanding voice, falls a little flat with an odd chorus and rather interesting sound effects. But all in all, "America's Most Wanted" is a solid album.

Richardson earned two Grammy nominations for his last album, "Facts of Life," a tribute album to music legend Bobby Womack. "America's Most Wanted" just might earn Richardson a couple more nods.

Catch Calvin Richardson at New York hot spot S.O.B.'s on September 9.