Picks and Pans Main: Music

UPDATED 01/22/2007 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 01/22/2007 at 01:00 AM EST

SOUL-MAN SHOWDOWN

BY CHUCK ARNOLD

WINNER

ANTHONY DAVID
The Red Clay Chronicles David comes from the same Atlanta talent pool as another neo-soul artist, India.Arie, who lends her rich vocals to the tender duet "Words." Reminiscent of D'Angelo and Anthony Hamilton, he brings a distinctly southern flavor to songs like "Kin Folk," which go down like a plate of barbecue ribs at the family reunion.
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OMARION
21 The former member of the R&B boy band B2K, who is actually 22, seems determined to show that he is all grown up and ready for action on his second solo CD (which opened at No. 1 on Billboard's album chart). While some of these cuts sound like Usher leftovers, tracks like the slow-burning single "Ice Box" generate a good amount of heat.
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BRIAN MCKNIGHT
Ten As an R&B lover man, McKnight gets extra points for endurance: This is his 10th disc in a 15-year recording career. Although fairly predictable—save for that flag-waving Rascal Flatts collaboration—his latest finds the 37-year-old crooner aging gracefully with smooth grooves like the Marvin-esque "Shoulda Been Lovin' You."
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