Philly Balladeer Mutlu Onaral Releases Soulful New EP


The song may have started as a spoof, but watch soul singer Mutlu Onaral (who goes simply by "Mutlu") jam with pals Amos Lee and Daryl Hall on the sweet and sticky "Caramel" on Hall's hit homegrown TV series "Live from Daryl's House" and you know these guys work seriously well together.

It must just be a Philly thing. When the legendary Hall first heard Mutlu back in 2007, when the late great Hall and Oates bassist/bandleader Tom "T Bone' Wolk was producing his record, right away he connected with the up-and-coming singer once they figured out they both came from some of the same neighborhoods. Soon after that, the honey-voiced acoustic guitarist was opening for Hall and Oates, and when Hall's long time partner John Oates first overheard Mutlu in his dressing room he knew right away where he came from. "John just grinned and said 'Philly!' Multi laughs.

"Daryl and John are two of my musical heroes, Right up there with Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye," Mutlu shared with me. "The fact that those guys paid attention to me in the beginning is something that we'll always affect my life for the better. I've opened for them a bunch of times and have also sat in with them individually and even played Daryl's amazing club recently. And our friendship, just like with Amos, really gets to the heart and soul of what it's like to grow up in and around the Philly area. There's just something about it. There's an unspoken groove that we all have with each other."

Mutlu's latest grooves are all very spoken and lush and soulful and playful and straight from the heart. The new EP is called Caffeine & Whiskey and it's a smooth reminder of just how connected this talented singer songwriter is to his roots. For everyone that remembers the sweet sounds that flowed from Philly Studios and street corners, from the Delfonics, the Stylistics, Major Harris, Blue Magic, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass, Billy Paul and all the others, including of course his friends Daryl Hall and John Oates, will no doubt embrace the new collection. The four tune sampler, including 'Gone Forever,' 'Amazing You,' 'Undress You' and 'Caught Up In it' are tailor-made for summertime. Watch for him on the road as well, but by all means check out the music that touches the heart in the way that only Philly soul can do it.