funk Archive

War: 50 Years On, Still Making Friends

Multiracial American funk band War got its start backing British singer Eric Burdon, formerly of the Animals. “Spill the Wine” from 1970’s Eric Burdon Declares “War” effectively captured the zeitgeist of the era: a brotherly-love hippie ethos that was as sexy as it was hopeful. Though the group parted ways with Burdon after two albums,

Album Review: Sidney Barnes – ‘Sup’m Old, Sup’m New, Sup’m Borrowed, Sup’m Blue’

Sidney Barnes falls into the category of criminally under-appreciated musical figures. His career figures significantly into the histories of doo-wop, soul, funk, rock, pop and psychedelia. He cut “Wait” b/w “I’m Satisfied” way back in 1961, and while that record didn’t make a splash, it set him on a path he follows to this day.

Tuxedo: “Perfect is Boring.”

Tuxedo is a retro-funk duo fronted by two established artists. Mayer Hawthorne made his name as a modern-day soul crooner with a style firmly rooted in the music of his Detroit hometown. Seattle-based Jake One is a hip-hop producer and member of the famed Rhymesayers Syndicate. Both have earned Grammy nominations for their past work.

Album Review: Mary Frances – A New Perspective

Mary Frances is best known as keyboardist and lead vocalist for Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, and for her work with Grammy Award-winning kid hop artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. But on her debut solo album, A New Perspective, Frances moves ever so slightly away from the collaborative nature of those projects, and toward

Dr. Bacon: Persistence Amid Constant Change

Jesse Talbott is a songwriter and the lead singer in Dr. Bacon, a band originally from Boone that relocated to Asheville in 2016. It’s difficult to pin down the musical style of Dr. Bacon; that challenge arises from the fact that the group’s musical journey has been punctuated by a number of genre shifts and

Empire Strikes Brass: Everyone Loves a Parade

Empire Strikes Brass managed quite a feat in its first five years as a group. The 10-plus-piece band worked diligently on a grassroots level, playing benefits and street festivals, and became a household name in its hometown of Asheville without releasing an album. When the group finally entered the studio it recorded not one but two

Roy Ayers’ Positive Vibrations

Few popular musicians have been successful at making a switch from one genre to another while holding on to a substantial fan base. Singer and vibraphonst Roy Ayers has done it, and more than once. Famously gifted a set of vibes mallets by bandleader Lionel Hampton, Ayers earned one of his first professional breaks as

The Nth Power: Maximum Musical Skills

New Orleans supergroup delivers spirituality and soul live onstage and on a pair of new albums The hypnotic, deep-groove funky soul of The Nth Power is a big draw on the jam band circuit. On the group’s web site, the New Orleans-founded quartet claims that it’s “on a mission to share the light.” There’s no

Coffey Talk: A Chat with Guitar Legend Dennis Coffey (Part 2)

Continued from Part One … Dennis Coffey was part of a new venture, the Producer’s Workshop, led by legendary Motown bassist James Jamerson. As he recalls in Guitars, Bars and Motown Superstars, “Motown had already got rid of its staff producers who were hitless, so the remaining producers continued to develop their ideas during the

Coffey Talk: A Chat with Guitar Legend Dennis Coffey (Part 1)

The 2002 film Standing in the Shadows of Motown introduced viewers to The Funk Brothers. That name – originally coined by session drummer William “Benny” Benjamin – was retroactively applied to a large and loosely-defined group of musicians responsible for a staggering amount of the pop music that came out of Detroit, Michigan in the