Luke McMaster Celebrates 60 Years of a Motown Legend with 'Songs of Smokey'
Well-known as a purveyor of blue-eyed soul, Luke McMaster sets the bar ever higher with each project he takes on. His latest album has the singer-songwriter delivering classics by a music icon who Bob Dylan deemed America's "greatest living poet" and who played a key role in transforming Motown into a pop music landmark. Songs of Smokey pays tribute to the artistry that made Smokey Robinson a soul legend - each song delivered with McMaster's signature style.
Set for release on February 7th by Green Hill Productions, Songs of Smokey features McMaster's reimagining of Robinson's most beloved Motown hits, from his percussive twist on "Ooo Baby Baby" to his soul-baring take on "Tears of a Clown." With its caressing vocals and acoustic backing, "The Way You Do the Things You Do" is transformed into a gentle love letter, while "Cruisin'" maintains its distinctive Smokey delivery through McMaster's silky falsetto.
Meanwhile, McMaster digs deep into his lifelong love of soul classics with stunning performances of "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" and "Who's Lovin' You." Featuring timeless hits such as "My Girl," "Shop Around," and "Get Ready," Songs of Smokey serves as a fitting homage to the great Smokey Robinson - an artist who is celebrating his 60th anniversary in the music industry this year.
Songs of Smokey comes on the heels of McMaster's 2018 album, Icons of Soul, Vol. 1, which featured the Toronto-based musician honoring and working with a long lineup of classic R&B songwriting legends. McMaster has always nurtured a love of Motown and soul music, starting during his childhood in Manitoba and continuing on through his move to Winnipeg in the late 90s and early 00s. There, he earned numerous Canadian gold albums with Rob James as one-half of the duo McMaster & James, releasing hits such as "Thank You" and "Love Wins Everytime."
McMaster went solo in 2002, shifting his focus to songwriting and placing songs on multi-platinum and gold albums by artists such as Rihanna, Nick Lachey, Nick Carter, and Kalan Porter. He also recorded several EPs and albums (including Time in 2008; 2013's All Roads, which featured "Good Morning, Beautiful," a hit recorded with Grammy-nominated pianist Jim Brickman that peaked on the US Billboard AC Radio charts at #3; Heart of Soul in 2014; and 2016's Trending). McMaster's solo projects contain both original tracks as well as his interpretation of soul hits such as Roberta Flack's "Feel Like Makin' Love" and Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered."
With Icons of Soul and now Songs of Smokey, McMaster has circled back to focus on the music - and the artists - that have inspired him throughout his entire career.
"As the Bard of Motown, it was his soul stirring musical genius that shaped the heat of passion into carefully crafted songs of romance, emotion, and remembrance," says McMaster.