Southern Avenue (Renew/BMG)

On a straight path running through the draw of the Blues and the magnetic energy of Southern Soul music runs Southern Avenue, a group seemingly fueled by a divine nature of empowerment that’s wholly contagious. These Memphis-based Grammy® Award nominated rising stars are back with their third record, Be The Love You Want. Produced by Steve Berlin (Los Lobos, Deer Tick, Susan Tedeschi, Jackie Greene), and co-produced by guitarist Ori Naftaly, this thoroughly uplifting body of work leans heavily on Gospel harmonies and deep grooves to take us significantly higher than we were before pushing “Play.”


Driving opener “Be The Love You Want” is the musical embodiment of what it means to have soul power and sets the tone for the following eleven tracks. These songs deploy spiritual guidance for everything including navigating dark days like in “Control” and “Don’t Hesitate (Call Me),” the perseverance anthem and first single “Push Now,” opening oneself up to love as in “Fences,” and how to reclaim one’s happiness as in the Funk-powered second single co-written with Jason Mraz, “Move In The Light.”


“It’s just such a unique collaboration,” says lead-vocalist Tierinii Jackson. “Jason understands the vibe of Southern Avenue is very positive, so his approach lyrically perfectly matched the direction for the album. When he turned up with the song, I was so grateful. We reworked it with the band and made it all churchy and soulful and as Memphis-y as we could. It turned out really, really great. It’s kind of a wild card, because it’s more of a dance song, but it’s still got that church vibe, it still has the soul.”


“Push Now” is inspiring the listeners of WNXP, KROK, WTMD, and WPYA, and Southern Avenue has joined the JBE Virtual SummitFest lineup for the August 19 broadcast of Episode 8. The band is currently on the road supporting Jason Mraz, and Be The Love You Want hits shelves August 27.