Singer Gerald Alston has been entertaining audiences for over 40 years with a voice that has become synonymous with the sound of sophisticated soul. Alston, a North Carolina native, began like so many artists: Singing in church as a youth. No surprise, considering he was the son of a preacher and the nephew of gospel vocalist Johnny Fields, one of the founding members of the legendary gospel group the Five Blind Boys of Alabama. While still in his teens, Alston formed his own group, Gerald Alston & the New Imperials, who performed a combination of gospel and secular music, but went by the name The Gospel Jubilee when performing in churches. Alston got his big break in 1970 when he became the new lead singer for The Manhattans after the group heard Alston in a rehearsal. Although the group had already experienced nominal success on the charts, they didn’t strike musical gold until 1976 with their hit single “Kiss and Say Goodbye.” With Alston singing lead, “Kiss and Say Goodbye,” a soulful ballad with serious crossover appeal, made it to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts. Four years later the group won a Grammy Award for their top ten single “Shining Star.” After a 17-year run with The Manhattans, Alston decided to go solo. Even amidst the rise and popularity of New Jack Swing, he continued to grace the airwaves with the sounds of classic soul with tunes like his top ten R&B hit “Take Me Where You Want To” and his 1990 release “Slow Motion,” which rose to number three on the R&B chart and became a quiet storm favorite. In 2008, Alston released a tribute to one of his influences, singer Same Cooke, with the album Gerald Alston Sings Sam Cooke.
Montrose Cunningham is an independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado residing in Dallas, Texas. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughter, sometimes at the same time. Purchase his latest release “Inertia” at www.MontroseMusic.com, visit him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @MontroseC.