Good Thing. But Har Mar Superstar (real name: Sean Tillman, no relation to Josh) is taking it to the next level on his current tour, performing a full set of Sam Cooke covers alongside songs Tillman claims were directly inspired by Cooke. It’s something of a left turn for the songwriter, who made his name with raunchy, vintage-sounding soul and funk wrestled into being via sweaty, shirtless performances. But Tillman is older, wiser and far more clean-shaven now, as evidenced by his uncharacteristically subdued and surprisingly seductive Personal Boy EP, released last summer. Put another way, for a performer weaned on sleaze, Tillman is taking rather nicely to sophistication. And, as luck would have it, to Sam Cooke’s sonic legacy.
It’s not uncommon for R&B and soul singers in this day and age to wear their influences on their sleeve; consider, for instance, how unapologetically Leon Bridges channels Marvin Gaye throughout this year’s