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James Blake
James Blake plays it both ways at the Roxy
James Blake plays it both ways at the Roxy

James Blake could’ve become Sam Smith. The two singers, both British men in their 20s, approach soul music as a kind of endlessly adaptable text, similar to the way Amy Winehouse and Adele did several years before them. Both have strong voices they only occasionally exercise at full power. And both balance natural good looks with a slightly sheepish charm that’s endeared them to insiders and misfits alike. But where Smith looks toward the center with big choruses and straightforward confessions -- and has been duly rewarded, as with the six Grammy nominations he received last week -- Blake keeps one eye on the margins, disrupting his traditionally rooted music with weird...

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