Because I live in an area where you don’t see a lot of live soul and funk, it’s become something of a treat when I do get to see an artist who knows how to bring the groove. I was fortunate enough to check out a thrilling show by Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears at the Middle East on Sunday night. Based in Austin Texas, the band’s got a solid buzz, lots of blog love and they’ve just released their second album, Scandalous, on Lost Highway Records (just came out two weeks ago!).
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Much like Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings or Tre Williams & the Revelations, Lewis and Co. bring a gritty vibe that’s missing from most of today’s soul music. Of course, smoother sounds are as authentic to the genre too, but it definitely seems like the raucousness of funk was missing from the music scene for a minute. These guys definitely bring the funk, with a sound that’s equally influenced by early rock ‘n roll and blues as it is by Sixties Motown and Stax. Lewis also gives off a little bit of a Hendrix vibe on the guitar-he’s something of a virtuoso, even playing with his teeth at one point.
If you get the chance to see these guys live, please do so. The show I went to was packed, the audience was ready to party, and Joe and company didn’t disappoint. The album’s not so bad for your at-home dance parties, either!
This video’s not great, but it gives you an idea of how tight they are. And who doesn’t want to go to Booty City?