Todd Thomas, a.k.a. Speech, enjoyed brief Top-40 glory in the early 90s as leader of the Georgia hip-hop collective Arrested Development. Hes continued to make socially conscious yet fun music ever since, blending folksy rap and vintage soul grooves in his campaign for a kinder world. The charming Vagabond feels like a sunny afternoon in the back yard with your best friends. As an MC, Speechs rhymes are chatty and unforced, and his crooning features a sweet falsetto reminiscent of Prince. Though not above classic rap egotism, he subverts convention in the punchy What You Give, dissing a huffing and puffing foe, then bragging about his sexual prowesswith his wife! And after all the uplifting messages, including a moving cover of John Lennons Across the Universe, Speech signs off with Gone Away, a poignant ode to his late older brother, revealing the angst behind the positive vibes.