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Premiere: Leon Timbo - 'Never Too Much'

By Jof Owen

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Listening to Leon Timbo’s reimagining of the Luther Vandross classic ‘Never Too Much’, it’s immediately obvious that for him, music is part of a larger process of growth and healing.

Taking the peppy R&B swagger of the Luther Vandross original, slowing it right down and reworking it as an otherworldly country-soul spiritual, Leon Timbo pulls something deep and powerfully life-affirming from the song; delicately picking around the original and its timeless tale of romance and surrender with a raw and earthy vocal.

The first taste of his new Lovers & Fools Vol 2 project coming in June, we spoke to Leon about the inspiration behind recording ‘Never Too Much’.

"Luther Vandross is one of the most incomparable artists of all time. A man masterful at remakes, he remade amazing classics, while still managing to give those songs his own unique touch. Luther’s touch grabbed the ears and hearts of multiple generations. To honor the man and the legend, in my heart I wanted to take an original he penned and remake it to remind people of his musical genius. This 40-year-old classic is only one of the many testaments to his exceptionalism".

Listen to the wonderful ‘Never Too Much’, exclusively premiering on Holler below.

Growing up the son of two pastors in Jacksonville, FL, music was integrated into Timbo’s life from the very start, as a way to communicate spiritual experience. He began singing at the age of 16 and playing guitar at 20, playing live locally and pursuing a career as a full time musician.

“I grew up listening to the blues while splitting time between low-income spaces and those defined by people living in abundance. I’ve balanced those spaces, plus how they made me emotionally feel, in my creativity,” Timbo says. Along with his parents, his grandmother Virginia was one of the first to introduce him to music by singing Ray Charles styled songs to him as a kid and later buying him his first guitar at the age of 17. From there, his musical aspirations took flight.

Inspired by artists Bill Withers, James Taylor and Tim Miner. By 2005, after cutting his independently released album Soul Sessions, Timbo was successfully touring across the U.S. on an almost non-stop small venue circuit, building a loyal fanbase from coast to coast, and using the internet to post new songs and video clips.

During one trip he was performing at a church in Dallas where the singer and actor Tyrese Gibson happened to be in the audience, and he asked Timbo to open a show for him that night at the House Of Blues. Tyrese in turn introduced him to Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and they began working together as well, while Timbo continued to travel the country spreading his gospel roots.

With his 2021 Lovers And Fools EP Timbo set his eyes on country and Americana territory as he explored themes of love, loss and letting go. “Lovers and Fools came from my hardest relationship process, and it came about as a result of handling my grief,” Timbo says of the record. “I recorded this album in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Nashville. This musical experience was like a coming of age. This album gave me the freedom to authentically be me".

Lovers and Fools Vol 2 will be released on MNRK Music Group with support from Brooklyn Basement Records in June. ‘Never Too Much’ is out on Friday 29th April.