All Good Presents...
Wed, November 15, 2017
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm
In rock ‘n’ roll, you’ve got to walk the well-trodden path of the genre’s forefathers one step at a time. Each gig under your belt makes for another fan, while every record serves as the next totem for your legacy. It’s a proverbial rite of passage, and there’s no skipping to the end. The Revivalists didn’t take any shortcuts.
Since forming in 2007, the seven-piece New Orleans roots-driven rock band logged countless miles on the road, cultivating a high octane live show and a studio presence equally steeped in instrumental virtuosity and charismatic vocal magnetism. Following two independent releases, 2010’s Vital Signs and 2014’s City of Sound, that time and dedication came to a head on the group’s third full-length album, Men Amongst Mountains [Wind-Up Records]. As much as it’s the culmination of their work thus far, it opens up a new chapter for the band—David Shaw [vocals], Zack Feinberg [guitar], Ed Williams [pedal steel guitar], Rob Ingraham [saxophone], George Gekas [bass], Andrew Campanelli [drums], and Michael Girardot [keys, trumpets].
“The title sums up our collective feeling,” says Shaw. “We started to find ourselves on festival bills with our idols and in front of huge crowds. We thought, ‘We’re amongst these giants, but we’re holding our own.’ We felt like we stood up and met the challenge by simply being who we are as The Revivalists.”
That honesty turned both fans and critics into believers. Upon release, Men Amongst Mountains debuted at #2 on the Billboard Alternative Albums Chart and Top 10 on the iTunes Alternative Albums Chart while quickly racking up nearly 2 million plays on Spotify all through word of mouth. Rolling Stone, NPR, Nylon, and more would sing their praises as they launched a headline tour that sold out dates across the country. It all comes back to the group’s sound though.
“Everyone adds his own unique imprint to it,” Shaw goes on. “There’s always an element of surprise, because it’ll be groove-oriented, but unconventional. We lock in, and something different happens.”
Whether it’s Ed’s show-stopping pedal steel fireworks, Zack finger-tapping out bluesy licks on his fretboard, or Rob and Michael’s horns adding just the right touch of bombast, Men Amongst Mountains consistently surprises. In order to capture that unpredictability, the band recorded the album live on tape in just 21 days at the iconic “Studio in the Country” [Stevie Wonder, The Afghan Whigs, Nine Inch Nails] in Bogalusa, LA with producer Ben Ellman.
“We had been playing a good amount of the songs live,” explains Shaw. “We had a feel for them, but we also had a few new ones. Ben was a breath of fresh air in the process. There are seven people in the band and a lot of strong personalities, to say the least. Ben guided us through our ideas. With his encouragement, we’d work it until we felt that magic.”
The magic certainly courses through the album opener and lead single “Keep Going,” which shot into the Top 25 on the Triple A Chart. Driven by Shaw’s heavenly urgent croon, the track builds into a swinging refrain propelled by shining keys, funked-out guitar, and booming horns. “It started out as an acoustic song I’d written,” he goes on. “I showed it to the band, and they brought it to life. I was pretty road-worn at the time and tired from touring. That’s what the opening line is all about. It’s that message to just keep going.”
Elsewhere, “Wish I Knew You” delivers a wistful desire with stunning jamming and southern R&B swagger. “Monster” reels back into pensive lyrical poetry within a canvas of ethereal instrumentation, and “All In The Family” confidently explodes on a jaw-dropping guitar solo. The soulful “It Was A Sin” showcases Zack’s fret tapping bolstered by Ed’s cinematic pedal steel. “Zack and I wrote that one together,” remarks Shaw. “You can really hear everything we do as a band in there.”
Ultimately, The Revivalists are quite far along on their own path now, and there’s no turning back.
“All that matters is that the art makes you feel something,” the singer concludes. “I’d love for it to take you away into the mood we felt when the song was actually created. I hope you can feel the general vibe of a song and have it be an escape—whether you’re listening to it at home or in the crowd at a show.”
Southern Avenue is a Memphis street that runs from the easternmost part of the city limits all the way to Soulsville, the original home of Stax Records. Southern Avenue is also the name of a fiery young Memphis quintet that embodies its home city's soul, blues and gospel traditions, while adding a youthful spirit and dynamic energy all their own. “If Memphis is a genre, this is it!” proclaims American Blues Scene and Rock 103FM calls Southern Avenue - “The most talked about band in Memphis.”
Their self-titled debut album is a breath of fresh air with its own unique blend of gospel- tinged R&B vocals, roots/blues-based guitar work and soul-inspired songwriting. And Southern Avenue’s upcoming release on the fabled Stax label is a testament to the young combo's talent and vision.
Southern Avenue features five young but seasoned musicians who came from diverse musical and personal backgrounds to create music that spans their wide-ranging musical interests, while showcasing the powerful chemistry that the group has honed through stage and studio experience. Southern Avenue encompasses Memphis-born, church-bred sisters Tierinii and Tikyra Jackson, respectively a soulful, charismatic singer and a subtle powerful drummer; guitarist Ori Naftaly, an Israeli-born blues disciple who first came to America as an acclaimed solo artist; versatile jazz-inspired bassist Daniel McKee; and the band's newest addition, keyboardist Jeremy Powell, an early alumnus of Stax's legendary music academy.
The band members' diverse skills come together organically on Southern Avenue, scheduled for release on February 24, 2017 via Stax Records, a division of Concord Music Group. Produced by Kevin Houston (North Mississippi Allstars, Lucero, Patty Griffin), the 10-song album features guest appearances from Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars and trumpeter Marc Franklin of the Bo-Keys. But it's Southern Avenue's own potent musical chemistry that drives such sublimely soulful originals as "Don't Give Up," "What Did I Do," "It's Gonna Be Alright," "Love Me Right" and "Wildflower." The band also pays tribute to its roots with an incandescent reading of Ann Peebles' Memphis soul classic "Slipped, Tripped and Fell in Love."
The seeds for Southern Avenue's birth were planted when Ori Naftaly, who'd grown up in Israel with a deep-rooted passion for American blues and funk, came to Memphis in 2013 to compete in the prestigious International Blues Challenge. That experience led to Naftaly moving permanently to Memphis and successfully touring the United States with his own band.
Although his talents were embraced by American audiences, Naftaly felt constrained in his own band, feeling the need to include a more expansive, collaborative musical vision. That opportunity arrived when he met Memphis native Tierinii Jackson, who'd gotten her start singing in church, before performing in a series of cover bands and theatrical projects. According to Ori, "When I saw Tierinii perform, I thought, 'This is why I came to America.' I met her and we clicked. At our first rehearsal, she told me that her sister was a drummer, and she thought it would be great to have her in the band. We had such a good vibe, and suddenly I didn't care so much about my solo thing."
"I initially clicked with Ori really well, but it was his project," Tierinii remembers. "Then he came to me and said 'I want this band to be a collaboration, I want this to be our vision and our music.' So we started writing together, and that's when I realized that we were really the same musically."
"We started over," Naftaly continues. "We threw out most of the songs I'd been playing in my solo band, and Tierinii and I wrote a whole new set, and we became Southern Avenue. The more we played together, the closer we got, and the more we became a family. We started getting a different kind of crowd, and from there things escalated quickly."
"Ori said, 'My band is done, this is y'all's band,'" Tierinii recalls. "We all quit our other gigs and started focusing on this, working and writing and living together in a way that you don't experience when you're playing somebody else's music. Now we're playing songs that we wrote ourselves and we're playing them from our hearts. That is when I realized that we had something special."
Despite not having a record deal, Southern Avenue quickly found success touring in America and Europe. They won additional attention playing some prestigious festivals and competing in the International Blues Challenge, in which they represented Memphis. Less than a year after the band's formation, they were signed to the resurgent Stax label. "I feel like being on Stax is a responsibility," says Tierinii. "I grew up in Memphis, seeing the name Stax everywhere. It was a constant presence, and now it's up to us to live up that. I feel like this band can be a platform to do a lot of positive things for the city of Memphis. I want to change the world, but Memphis is home."
Tierinii views Southern Avenue as "a perfect soundtrack to our first year together. We wrote these songs in our first nine months of being a band. We'd all done so many things and come from so many different places, but the music represents all of us. "It's been a real crash course," she continues. "We've haven't been a band for very long, but what we have feels very special, and it's made us a strong unit. I think that we represent something that people need to see right now."
"This band has already made our dreams come true," Ori concludes. "I've waited all my life to be in a band like this, and it's amazing to me that I get to play with these people every night. Our goal is to keep doing this for a long time and leave our mark. We're trying to build a legacy."
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001