Black and White America is the 9th studio album by American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and arranger Lenny Kravitz, released on August 30, 2011. The album was more commercially successful in the European market, where it charted in the top ten in various countries, including a #1 debut in Germany and Switzerland. According to Oricon, Black and White America debuted at #20 selling 6,000 copies in Japan. The album debuted at #17 in the US, selling 20,145 copies.
Lenny Kravitz has walked the musical line between Black and White America ever since 1989, when he cannily crafted his persona through strands of Prince, Curtis Mayfield, David Bowie, John Lennon, and Jimi Hendrix. Kravitz has never been shy about his colorblindness but the very title of Black and White America suggests that he may finally be getting political, something he’s avoided outside of the occasional free love platitude. Naturally, this isn’t quite the case.
Rock music in the 1980s had completely lost the gritty feel of earlier eras, until Lenny Kravitz rediscovered the magic formula. Kravitz's sonic template combined good old-fashioned rock & roll with glam, soul, and psychedelia, making him a massive success. He made a splash straight out of the gate with his album Let Love Rule. After that, he de-emphasized the flower-power aspects of his music and began moving toward a heavier rock sound.
A singer-songwriter can be anything from an unwelcome pub musical disaster to Bob Dylan. I have a negative disposition when I see an artist describe themselves as such as there is a great chance of being underwhelmed due to the liklihood is that the music is compiled simply of a man and a guitar…and the man could be anybody from an unwelcome pub musical disaster to Bob Dylan - and Bob Dylan has been done. If I do say so myself I am usually rather good at accurately comparing one musician or group with another, but Russell Joslin has left me stumped. This would mean that for one man and a guitar, he appears to have created a sound that hasn’t really been done before. It’s not a new genre and it’s not some abstract form of experimentation, it’s just what decent singer songwriter music should be, a man telling his story which if he’s telling it right is from a unique standpoint.