‘The Final Word’ on R&B, soul and gospel…perhaps

David Goodson | 11/7/2019, 12:59 p.m.
Let’s harken back a bit, to the month of April—the 19th to be exact.
The O'Jays Courtesy of The OJays' official website

Let’s harken back a bit, to the month of April—the 19th to be exact. With the release of their first studio album in 15 years The O’Jays’ album “The Final Word” was announced to be just that in terms of original music for the iconic trio. Talk about a blow!! We talkin’ about a hole in the soul literally. While there’s an in depth catalog to mine to get that feeling, a huge vacuum is generated in regards to whom will be the torch bearers of that emotive, passionate, gritty, mellifluous R&B/soul. Can the next generation find that? If they do, will they appreciate it? Time will tell for the latter question, but as for the first we got that covered for a lack of a better term. Their stellar work providing air-tight harmonies for one of the preeminent soul men, Anthony Hamilton, of our time caught the ears of quite a few thousand devout concertgoers over the years, but their soulful, oft times hilarious renditions of popular songs or phrases garnered the attention of millions via the World Wide Web. Comedic timing and sensibilities aside, the future of the 2E, J’Vito and Tony Lelo, collectively known as The HamilTones, is far from a joke.

J’Vito offers, “We focused on bringing back what hadn’t been in a long time and that being a group of guys where three guys can actually sing, not just one lead and two guys.” As for the material he continued, “We just wanted to get back to the basics and that was just to promote love in music. That was our primary approach.”

Hailing from what has low-key been one of the top three regions for hip-hop/R&B for over a quarter a decade (K-Ci & Jo Jo, Fantasia, Calvin Richardson, Anthony Hamilton, Lil Brother, J Cole and Rapsody enough?), The HamilTones now are poised to carry the baton to the rarified air of superstardom. Their debut EP “Watch The Ton3s” has caused frenzy upon its top 5 release and not because of anticipation of a fervent fan base. Nah, it’s the quality of the music. Some of the day ones have managed to get their hands on the physical copies they offer at venues after a performance and know what “Fire” and “Highway 74” and perhaps the tune that captured their gospel, R&B and soul roots best “Gotta Be Lovin’ Me” can do to a sound system. But with the “Watch The Ton3s” release up for mass consumption the fervid extent of the music is revealed and fans have gravitated to more than just the seamless harmonies. Explains LeLo, “I was in a recording session and I got a call from one of my homies. He said to me I wanna tell you something. ‘I was listening to your song ‘Pieces’ and that joint saved my marriage.’ It’s having those type of moments that do it for us!”

Reactions as such have made the group very popular on the road. A good thing they love the grind because along with the growth of the fan base, touring helps with the business. Simple and plain reveals 2E, “We gotta hit the road and get that money. We are 100% independent.”

This leads to Friday, Nov. 8, at Sony Hall (235 West 46th St.) as The HamilTones along with supporting act Bobbi Storm grace the stage. They asked that a message to the city gets relayed. In a joint statement they chimed, “New York has given us opportunities that have opened us up to the entire world! This city has truly helped to cultivate us into who we are today.” They continue, “The video to our latest single ‘Alone’ was shot there so every time we see it it’s a reminder to just how much love this place has shown us.”

See you in the spot? Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.