New Video By Rich Wyman & Lisa Needham “Forgiveness”

From the whip-crack of the first snare hit, listeners to Rich Wyman & Lisa Needham’s “Forgiveness” will know they’re in for a thrilling ride. The drums are joined by a propulsive bass, the piano locks in with a scalding organ, horns blare away in harmony, and an electric six-string decorates the whole mix in brilliant colors. We’re mere seconds into the track, and the song is already simmering; a few more measures and the whole band is cooking with burners on blast. That’s before Rich Wyman starts even singing. Once you hear that rough but mellifluous shout — and Lisa Needham’s gorgeous harmonies — any doubts about whether you’re in the presence of R&B greatness will be banished for good.

Longtime fans of the duo won’t be surprised at all. They’ve come to count on Needham and Wyman for brilliant, unforgettable soul and R&B recordings. The two artists make music that evokes the classics of the style, and they perform it all with the intensity and excitability of youthful musicians just coming into full possession of their expressive powers. Yet they aren’t newcomers at all: they’re proven masters with a long track record of success. Wyman, a fiery singer and daring pianist, has collaborated with Eddie Van Halen, performed alongside the Goo Goo Dolls, and taken home ten ASCAP awards for his songwriting. Needham has demonstrated remarkable range and flexibility — she’s equally at home singing confessional folk, speakeasy-era jazz, and two-fisted rock and roll. As solo artists, they’re undeniable. As a duo, they’re unstoppable.

Their chemistry doesn’t end at the recording studio door. Rich Wyman and Lisa Needham are partners in life as well as artistic collaborators, which might help to explain the supernatural tightness of their harmonies and the near-telepathic connection they exhibit when they sing together. “Forgiveness” is an apology note from a husband to a wife — and the pair wring every ounce of emotion, sincerity, and playful humor out of the song. The closeness of their relationship is the focus of Bryce Johnson’s winning clip, too. We’re shown Wyman and Needham as bandleaders, guiding a group of ace musicians through an invigorating performance. But we’re also shown the pair in isolation from the others, communicating desire, remorse, sympathy, and outrage through the language of music. Wyman delivers his entreaty to Needham under the glow of a stained-glass window. Does she find it in her heart to absolve him? With a plea as heartfelt (and tuneful!) as this one, how could she resist?

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