Under-the-radar alert: Here are eight recent album releases, all deserving of greater attention and all featuring American music -- meaning blues, soul, rock 'n' roll, jazz, swing and everything in between.
There's nothing quite like the spice of Latin-funk music, rich in vitality, infectious in beat. All Good Funk Alliance manages to capture all of those musical pleasures in a remix of Samba Soul's classic song, "Mambo #5."
If the size and enthusiasm of the crowd at the first Summer Gras festival at Old Rock House was any indication, this will become a popular annual event. Billed as a "celebration of the music and food of New Orleans," Summer Gras lived up to its name with a variety of New Orleans-based and NOLA-inspired local bands split between the indoor venue and a large outdoor stage.
Though West Africa's melodic drumming and drive gave birth to rhythm and blues, jazz and funk, Muyei Power's Afrobeat album "Sierra Leone in 1970s USA" proves that James Brown and his funky drummer's music did not groove down a one-way street. Can you dig it?
Here are eight recent albums from the blues, soul and Americana side of the street that I think you'll find worthwhile.
The early bird gets the worm, but it was the early crowd that filled the tables at the Old Rock House long before the first strum of guitar on Thursday. On stage, the congestion of the floor was matched by the clutter of the eight-piece Mingo Fishtrap, set to open the show. The Austin-based band broke the ice with comforting instrumental introduction, but by the time they dropped the first groove, the floor space had already disappeared from sight.
On Wednesday, June 4, 2014, Twangfest 18 kicks off at Plush in St. Louis with a night of soul and funk featuring Cody ChesnuTT, DeRobert & the Half-Truths and St. Louis' own Theresa Payne. Considered one of the most powerful singers on the St. Louis neo-soul scene, Payne recently released the single "Bye Fear," her boldest, most confident recording to date.