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Interview:
Main Isley brother found musical magic with Detroit's Kem
 

By GARY GRAFF
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

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Ronald Isley had a modest goal when he started making his just-released new album, "This Song's For You."

"To make it make history, man," says the 72-year soul music patriarch, who's fronted the Isley Brothers since 1957. "To make it win Grammys. To make it special, legendary. We first started by saying we didn't want any album fillers; we wanted it to be 12 songs that any of them could be released as a single.

"I want this album to show all the young people what I supposedly have done."

"This Song's For You" certainly holds true to the smooth soul sounds of the Isleys catalog, which includes a stop at Motown Records during the mid-60s and the hit "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak For You)." Isley's latest single, "My Favorite Thing," pairs him with Detroit singer -- and Bounce TV Summer Music Festival tour mate -- Kem, who co-wrote and guests on the track that was partly recorded in Dearborn.

"He's one of the new people that really knows music the way you should it," Isley says of Kem. "I've been knowing him from when his career first started. We did shows together on the road and became friends that way, and we've been talking.

"He's more like Marvin Gaye and Luther Vandross when it comes to his music; he's very particular in everything he does. It took nine months to write that song. We wanted a special song to do together, and that song is a smash, man."

The Bounce TV Summer Music Festival with Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, the Isley Brothers featuring Ronald and Ernie Isley, Kem and host Rodney Perry plays at 7 p.m. Friday, July 26 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $55.75-$125.75 pavilion, $29.75 lawn. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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