Amp Fiddler

Hailing from Detroit, this singer and keyboard player is more like a man with a mission. Amp Fiddler travels in a multitude of directions, challenging the listener as he switches among soul, funk, and dance, keeping a keen eye on the present and future of music while still paying homage to those who came before him.

"My music is part of my history," he explains by phone from his native Detroit. "I was the youngest in my family. My sister was into rock and blues, and my brother listened to jazz and bebop, so I got a mix of music when I was a kid just walking around the house."

On his latest release, Afro Strut (Fontana), he combines clever beats and soulful vocals, with positive results. Corinne Bailey Rae guests on the lead single, "If I Don't," which has a clear New Orleans jazz vibe. He pays tribute to Jimi Hendrix with a guitar-based version of "Hey Joe." Then he tips his hat to Marvin Gaye with the original "Faith," whose arrangement clearly borrows from Seventies Motown soul. For his show in Miami, he will be playing with a Detroit-based trio and two backing vocalists.

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Ernest Barteldes