Temar Underwood

Thursday, August 30, at Nighttown, Cleveland Heights.

Temar Underwood neo-soul Otis Redding
With influences ranging from Otis Redding and Sam Cooke to U2 and Tina Turner, Temar Underwood wears the classics with all the conviction of a true believer. Underwood's 2006 debut, Ad Lib to Fade, found the 26-year-old -- born and raised in Northeast Ohio -- roundly rejecting the digital conformity of mainstream R&B. Instead, it's old-school soul, with strong rock and folk influences, that fires his passion.

The inspirational "My Burden" quotes famous lines from Redding and Cooke, while the sensual "Inside Out" and the dreamy "Falling Like Rain" both boast strong acoustic flavors.

Although Underwood's crooning is as smooth as silk, his appearance at the ritzy Nighttown, in Cleveland Heights, is a marked departure for a club renowned for its live jazz. "This will be a rock and roll show, but a rock and roll show inspired by the ghosts of classic soul, blues, and even some neo-soul," explains Underwood, phoning from his home in New York City. "[It will be] full of energy, full of laughter, and a little naughty."

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