The Mosswoods, Stymie and The Pimp Jones Luv Orchestra, Cabbage Head at Ivy Room
The Mosswoods Country soul comes from the highways and the railways that run between Memphis, New Orleans, Nashville, and Muscle Shoals. Country soul means songs about midnight trains and broken hearts; living, loving, and drinking hard; and about leaving town--or just leaving--without a goodbye. Equipped with record collections from the country soul South and roots in Oakland funk, the Mosswoods are a 6-piece country soul ensemble: horns, rhythm, and Nancy Lake's vocals. They bring together classic and original country songs in the style of the great soul, rhythm and blues that came from the Mississippi Delta in the 1960s. Find them in the Bay, wherever real dance parties are going down. Stymie and The Pimp Jones Luv Orchestra It ain't easy being stankalicious. This is especially true if you are an independent entity. But the funk is proving to be more relevant in the 21st century than ever before. Case in point: the recent revival and revitalization of Stymie and the Pimp Jones Love Orchestra, a San Francisco-based, multi-piece outfit lead by singer/songwriter Sean "Stymie" Sharp. Stymie is an animated individual. When he speaks about anything, from music to comics to movies, he speaks with an intense and jovial vigor that is as learned as it is inspired. His tiny apartment is littered with ol' school accoutrements, from VHS tapes to boomboxes, but the beauty of modern media trends does not elude him whatsoever. "With file sharing and Youtube," says Stymie, "you are in more control of what you listen to." Thus, you can seek out what you like instead of being nudged into it or spoon-fed something more formulaic. On this point, Stymie argues, "It is true that not all things are for all people. But this does not mean that you shouldn't give people - the fans - the benefit of the doubt." The man is speaking about categories and genres, abstract concoctions that lead people to "wearing uniforms. Like I got my punk rocker uniform and he's got his gangster uniform and so on." And sure, if you're gonna call Stymie and the PJLO anything, the man doesn't completely object to being tagged as a leader of a funk band, as he explains: "Funk is the least limited genre. 'Funk gets stronger' - to quote George Clinton - but we don't want to limit things at all." In other words, Stymie does not want to "categorize the fan base," as he is also inclined to dip his creative pen into avenues such as ska, R&B, rock, reggae, and even go-go. This musical diversity was a bit harder to realize way back in the 20th century, when massive corporations still dictated listening trends and indies had less resources for getting heard. But now? The game is on. The band has come a long way and has accomplished a lot of things to get to the pinnacle that it is at today. The current incarnation, a combo of veteran soldiers and funky-fresh blood, has Stymie tickled stink. "This version of the band is carving out its own identity with these new songs." Indeed, he has been writing new ditties at an astonishing rate, "inspired by the blessing of these talented people." The current, exuberant and extra-tight line-up includes drummer Rob Hooper, Paul Sloan on guitar, Vince Mellone on guitar, bassist Kaz Sasaki, John Gibson on trumpet, Simon Rochester on keyboard, Chris Jordan on saxophone, Aaron Saul also on Saxophone, as well as, vocalists Joseph "Mojo" Powell, and Noelle Glory. The new material, with such titles as "Breathing Underwater", "Fight" , "The Wreckage","and "Star Brigade in the Slipstream," debuted in late 2012. And in an effort to whet the appetites of longtime and potential fans alike,the band has uploaded high-quality performance footage of classic Stymie and the PJLO material on Youtube, tunes that can be heard on previous releases such as Dem Sum Goodies and The Secret Hits of the Black and Blue Parade. Stymie, who grew up in Hollywood off of Sunset, started the band in San Francisco in 1996. The first lineup featured Joe "Mojo" Powell, a soulful harmonizer who still sings with the band today. As for the band name, Stymie thought it up while walking down Haight Street, and the name, like his songs, are meant to remind the audience that there ain't nothin' but overflowin' imagination around here. The band soon proved itself to be incredible live, and while it has enjoyed the honor of opening gigs for the likes of Earth, Wind, & Fire, Fred Wesley, and Billy Preston over the years, Stymie and thePJLO has been packing 'em in with its own sold-out headlining shows for over a decade now. This is why it is imperative for YOU to come see the man and his crew in a theatre near you. Cabbage Head We're a group of six musicians from across the SF-Oakland bay area who get together to play original and improvised music. As a band, we've developed a unique approach to writing and arranging where all of our individual voices and influences come together to create something larger than any of us. Every rehearsal is a collective brainstorm; no new material brought in to the band ever gets out alive without intense, verbal, and communal re-arrangement. A little swing here... a sprinkle of ska there... some metal breakdowns... nothing is off-limits, and everything is fair game. That is the Cabbage way. In January of 2016 we released an EP that was quickly outdated as our sound and approach evolved. In February of 2017 we released an album of both original and arranged cover material in our debut full-length release - 'AGE'. We collaborated with some great engineers to try to bottle our sound and energy as authentically as possible. We are still searching, still exploring, and we hope that never changes. Join us on the journey!