Some people enjoy playing fantasy baseball and football…you know, where you can take the best players from the entire league and put them on your team and go out to kick butt over the other fantasy teams.
Well if I were going to build my perfect Blues band from players on the scene today, this might be my league champ.
They call themselves Southern Hospitality and the name is perfect because, on their debut album, you feel as though these 5 musicians have invited you into their home for a little social engagement…maybe some iced tea on the porch or that bottle of moonshine back behind the barn with the smoker going out back for dinner.
Damon Fowler, JP Soars and Victor Wainwright are the front men for SoHo. Each is the leader of their own band and have successful careers going. Then, as the legend will someday tell it, at a late night jam the three found they had a formula that left each tingling after they got off stage.
This happens more often than not, but in this instance the feelings were so strong the three kept talking and talking and eventually decided they should make that feeling last.
Bringing in Chris Peet on drums from JP’s band and Chuck Riley on bass from Damon’s band, Southern Hospitality was born and came into the world opening for Mr. Buddy Guy, because when the formula is right you have to make a big splash right up front!
Blind Pig Records saw the formula also and signed the gents and then put them into the studio with Tab Benoit…the result, Easy Livin’ their debut album.
It contains 12 tracks that give each of the three a chance to shine and at the same time combines their individual skills to create a totally new dynamic.
And let me say here, this dynamic would be less than it is if not for Peet and Riley. The rhythm section is the soil for any band. When the soil is not healthy, the plants may grow but they are not colorful and vibrant. Peet and Riley are the blackest, richest, most nutrient soil there is and they allow the flowers of talent that is Fowler, Soars and Wainwright become brilliant flowers.
From the opener, Southern Livin’ which allows each to tell their story to Wainwright wrapped in a golden cloak of R&B on “Certified Lover”, Fowler taking the lead in the reggae inspired “Don’t Feel Like Going There Today” or Soars telling the tale of how important it is to have someone waiting at home on “Long Way Home” the album is a collaboration. There are no egos vying for attention; what is good for the band is good for all and this is good for us!
One last note is the cover of Fried Neck Bones & Home Fries…this is nothing short of brilliant, allowing each of the 5 members to present the best of their abilities. Others have done the song, with Santana’s version being the most recognizable, but I have a new favorite version. The guitar interplay between Soars and Fowler, with Wainwrights keys behind just shines.
This is one that should be loaded and ready for play at any given moment. The only thing better than sitting back and listening to this album is to see this league champion live on stage.
March 26, 2013
Vinny Bond Marini
Music On The Couch