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Adia Victoria on Bill Withers

Adia Victoria (photo by Mason Hickman, PR)

Adia Victoria (photo by Mason Hickman, PR)

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In honor of Black History Month this February, WFUV has invited Black artists we admire to talk about the music they love — which influenced their own songwriting — in our "Album ReCue" series.  Listen to my conversation with Nashville's Adia Victoria on demand in the player above about her pick, Bill Withers’ brilliant 1971 debut, Just As I Am.  Says Adia: "It's a record that centers and praises normal Black folks."

During our conversation, she also explained why she finds Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" so heart-wrenching and she shares a beautiful memory of her own "Grandma's Hands."

Withers poured his 33 years of life experience into the songs on his debut album and humbly presented them with his acoustic guitar. Victoria relates to this as well. "I was a lot older than a lot of people that had already developed in their career," she said. "So I was not polished, I was not refined, I just had this bag of stories and a voice to sing it."

When asked to describe the sound or impact of  Withers' Just As I Am in six words, her response was both succinct and expansive: "Black art in culture is universal."

Listen to highlights from my chat with Adia and songs from Withers Just As I Am throughout the week on 90.7, streaming online.

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WFUV's Album ReCue: Bill Withers'Just As I Am