While his first name implies a full cycle on this planet, Lyfe Jennings actually only did a dime behind bars-- which probably feels like a lifetime, so he's forgiven. The Toledo native has been compared to Curtis Mayfield and D'Angelo, and with good reason-- his voice is light but raspy, impassioned but not inflamed with the scars only hard livin' brings. He sings about the poverty, violence, and depredation of ghetto struggle on all three of his albums, from debut Lyfe 268-192, The Phoenix, and his latest, Lyfe Change, released in April, all of which contains a blues/jazz/hip-hop mélange of influences. But then he'll toss out a line like "I never met the president/but I met some Mexicans," and you'll giggle at the absurdity of the lyrics. Then, whether you like it or not, you'll be forced to concede: well, that's Lyfe. With Ray Lavender.
Wed., July 16, 8 p.m., 2008