On their fourth album, I Learned the Hard Way, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings do not veer far from the format that established them as the premier 21st century soul outfit, but continue to journey deeper into their sound and their influences. Calling to mind the looseness and verve of Stax and the Muscle Shoals sound, the record is meant as a testament to the kind of exhilaration and poignancy that only music can open onto. With Sharon Jones, as always, the emphatic and explosive center of proceedings, the band traverses the ground between the raw gut-punch of rhythm and blues and the laid-back cool of a soulful groove. — Tyler Parks, Paste.com
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