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“People Get Ready” by Bill Crews and The Crews Cartel

If you’ve been waiting for some great beats to wrap the summer season, Bill Crews and his band The Crews Cartel have got your needs covered with their new cover of “People Get Ready,” a track that gives us more than a few reasons to believe that classics truly never die. “People Get Ready” is a melody-powered cover with a lusty lyrical wit at the center of its multilayered harmonies, but although it’s one of the more complexly arranged pop numbers I’ve come across in the American underground lately, I wouldn’t say that it’s an overly complicated composition at all. In Bill Crews, listeners can expect to find a musician and a vocalist who is as in love with the little details within his music as he is with the medium itself, which isn’t something that can be said about a lot of indie artists today.

There’s a terrific chemistry between Crews and his counterpart in The Crews Cartel that you can tell isn’t being forced upon them by some higher conglomerate in the music industry; it’s wholly organic and the product of their own intellectual and spiritual connection to the craft. The only discord that we find in “People Get Ready” is created by the churn of the instrumentation, giving The Crews Cartel and our leading man plenty of room to fill in the edges with colorful vocal prowess. The singing is well-fitting for the surreal backdrop it’s given by the band, and beside Crews’ delicate arrangement, it makes the surrounding groove even more intoxicating from beginning to end.

Production-wise, I think that “People Get Ready” is good for both serious as well as casual listening, which is an extremely rare combination for any cover single these days. The muscularity of the music makes it prime for really getting lost in the melodicism of the piece, while the streamlined efficiency of the hook as well as the sensational play from both Bill Crews and The Crews Cartel make it a strong listen for pop radio, a format that has become increasingly eclectic in the last ten years. There’s no overindulgence for us to sift through here, but in the very bedrock of the bassline, vocal, guitar, and drums, there are more intricacies than one would ever expect to discover in a track that was designed for the approval of mass audiences.

While I wasn’t super familiar with the works of The Crews Cartel or Bill Crews before getting a copy of “People Get Ready” from a colleague in the business, I’ll be listening to them throughout 2023 as a go-to for easy-listening vibes for certain. The future is wide open for Crews right now, and as long as he continues to come up with output as intuitive and poetic as he has with his latest studio release, he’s going to find himself a most welcome newcomer to the upper hierarchy of independent musicians in the American underground. This is the first of many steps on a road to developing multipurpose pop music all his own, and it’s undisputedly essential listening this September.

Mindy McCall



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