Recording information: Notifi Studios, St. Louis, MO; South Beach Studios, Miami, FL; Studios A., Dearborn, MI; The Black Room, Southside Studios; The Classroom Recording Studios, Atlanta, GA.
Photographers: Charles Barnes; Lawrence Bryant.
On his first album since 2010's Mr. I, Ronald Isley links with the eOne label and reconnects with Troy Taylor, one of the producers who worked on the Isley Brothers' 2006 album Baby Makin' Music. Taylor is involved with 11 of the 13 songs, most of which are relaxed contemporary ballads, solid and enjoyable. Some of them either directly reference or evoke decades-old Isley Brothers hits, such as the "Between the Sheets" rewrite "Another Night" and the "Journey to Atlantis"-echoing "Make Love to Your Soul," the latter of which is punctuated with Ernie Isley-inspired guitar work from Patrick Hayes. Taylor brings Trey Songz along for the duet "Lay You Down," but background vocalist Muhammad Ayers, who even sings some of the hooks, is heard enough to justify co-billing. Kem and Bryan Michael Cox drive the other two songs. "My Favorite Thing" is more like a Kem song featuring Isley -- who sings of social-media interaction prior to proclaiming "got a brother waitin' by the phone" -- than the other way around. Cox, Johnta Austin, and Kendrick Dean cook up "Let's Be Alone," one of the album's more attention-grabbing productions. ~ Andy Kellman