The South has long been known for its hospitality and down home music. Recently the region has seen the emergence of a musical group of young musicians who are masters of their craft and embody the soul and spirit of Dixie. Or as Blues Revue said, "There's a new entity in the blues world, a diverse, powerful group with enormous potential."
The Band creating all the buzz, called Southern Hospitality, is comprised of lap steel guitar master Damon Fowler, guitarist extraordinaire JP Soars, and keyboard wizard Victor Wainwright.
Their debut release on Blind Pig Records, Easy Livin’, promises to be one of the most exciting CDs of 2013. The album was produced by Tab Benoit, winner of three Blues Music Awards this past year (including the prestigious "B.B. King Entertainer of the Year"), who said, “Damon, Victor, and JP are the future of roots music."
The three artists are musician's musicians, each bringing a unique style and fresh translation of the great Southern soul, blues, and rock music that came before them. Together, their mutual chemistry, high energy and musical talents create a cohesive vision, with echoes of Muscle Shoals and Macon, that organically flows together into an entirely original and dynamic form of Americana and Southern soul roots music with a modern sensibility.
SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY originated when Fowler, Soars and Wainwright, who were performing with their respective bands at a festival in Florida in July of 2011, decided on an impromptu jam together at a post festival party. After witnessing the performance, the South Florida Blues Society approached the trio about playing for the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Pre-Cruise Party.
Fowler had already been thinking about doing a project with other musicians and contacted his pal JP Soars. "I thought it was great idea as soon as Damon called," Soars said from his home in Boca Raton. "I had jammed with him a few times on stage and was totally excited because there was a natural chemistry that seems to happen whenever we play together."
The two guitar-slingers with the singular singing voices immediately decided they wanted pianist-frontman Wainwright to round out their aggregation. Soars added, "I had played with Wainwright before, as well, and he has a lot of soul, and we just feed off each other."
Dubbing themselves Southern Hospitality, the three musicians added bassist Chuck Riley from Fowler's band and Soars' drummer Chris Peet to the lineup and made their official debut opening for Buddy Guy in August 2011 at the Heritage Music Blues Fest in Wheeling, West Virginia.
Each frontman sang a couple tunes and the Band jammed them to a thunderous conclusion. Fowler said, "It was cool to have two guitars and piano, it really added to the overall texture." By the time the performance ended the crowd exploded with cheers and applause.
"We were all ecstatic about the reaction," Soars said. "I knew it would be good but not that good. The response was overwhelming. Walking around, people kept coming up and telling us how great it was. It felt good." "It was a super magical experience and excellent response right from the first number," Wainwright said. "That was something I've only experienced a few times after many years of playing. The reaction was amazing."
BluesWax said of the show, "Southern Hospitality, after a single gig, has significant players in the blues world taking notice. Fowler, Wainwright and Soars share much love for the songs of the South. The hot jazz and funk of New Orleans, classic country, gospel, soul, and blues that became rock 'n' roll in Memphis and went global by way of a trucker named Elvis."
Since then Southern Hospitality has performed at a handful of select dates and been generating even more buzz and a growing fan base. Fowler sees the association as not unlike the Traveling Wilburys, where each member brings his owns songs to the table, and then everybody works on them together, creating a vibrant collaboration of original American roots music. "We are representing the South," he said of the project. "We wanted to put together a package of where we're from that represents the music we grew up listening to and that we're making our own today."
Critically acclaimed songwriter; Julie Black inspires with stories of life & love. Her sultry, powerful vocals weave potent tales within sumptuous melodies & rhythms. Genuine and emotionally uninhibited; her passionate sound resonates deeply with listeners.
Julie Black first appeared on the horizon with her debut release Call Me Angel for Blues. The album was issued in 2007 by BOJA Records, the independent label of music veteran Bob Langford (Deep Purple, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Joe South) and mastered by Rodney Mills (R.E.M., Charlie Daniels, Gregg Allman, Pearl Jam, Journey and Patsy Cline). The album had fans & critics buzzing. Blues Revue Magazine, the world's largest blues publication, referred to her as "a major singing and songwriting talent". The album climbed up the charts, including those at XM Sirius Satellite Radio. Call Me Angel for Blues was named one of the Top 5 Contemporary Blues Albums of the Year by Blues Critic Radio & could be heard on blues, jazz & rock stations worldwide. No small feat for a new artist. Her sophomore album "You Just Might Win" (BOJA 2010) was another great success. The album featured 15 original songs and a wider example of Julie's songwriting abilities. Glowing reviews poured in, more people discovered Julie's music and the album made it into the Top 10 at B.B. Kings' Bluesville on XM Sirius.
Based in Florida, Julie Black's roots extend into Illinois & California. Her musical taste was defined early in life, when she fell in love with Solomon Burke's 45; Cry to Me. Amazingly before his passing Julie had the opportunity to connect with Burke (The King of Rock & Soul) and personally thank him for his influence on her musical journey. Burke offered up kind words of support and encouragement, remarking that he liked Julie's music very much. His influence and encouragement were invaluable and further fueled her creative intensity.
Committed to originality and the artistic process, Julie Black continues to explore many creative possibilities. Her innate songwriting abilities have started opening doors to work with other artists; including celebrated vocalist & recording artist Shaun Murphy and Finnish Blues/Rock band The Ärräpää Orchestra.
Filled with emotional truth Julie Black makes a lasting impression. Her fan base continues to grow as more people discover her music. She performs often at major music festivals, concert halls and select venues. Her passionate live performances are intensified by the superb musicianship of her world- class band; Dave Eichenberger (guitar), Michael Johnn (keys), Father Bill Spicuglia (bass) & Frankie Timpanelli (drums).
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