I was driving to work this morning. It was cold, windy. This week, this is not breaking news. On sports radio the hosts were talking less about sports and more about one of the host’s posterior and on on the FM news station- Obama’s immigration speech and on the AM news station- the curious case of Bill Cosby.
I turned the dial to music.
Although first, was struck by this thought, if President Obama was really acting like the tyrannical and heartless monarch some news outlets would encourage you to believe then it’s safe to say he wouldn’t have wasted time making an address to the country, outlining his plan. Homeboy would have just done it. But hey, the devil’s in the details I guess.
Upon turning the dial to music, I once again headed towards 90.5 the Night, the local community station in my neck of the woods. The station is great at offering a break from the noise of morning talk radio, as well as introducing our seaside community to new music. This morning was no exception as they were playing something that immediately peaked my interest. Something soulful and with horns- syrupy vocals and a tight groove. It sounded like a cross between St. Paul & the Broken Bones, JJ Grey and the Wood Brothers. I wondered out loud- who is this?
Not magic, the app.
This wonderful jam was by someone called Karl W. Davis & the Sweetpeas. The song is called “Shiny Trust.” It’s dope.
Let’s get into this.
Karl W. Davis is an older southern gentlemen, from Georgia, where he grew up singing soul, blues and gospel. His press kit has awards won or nearly won lined up- stuff like Georgia Gospel Competition Young Male Vocalist of the Year (1981,) USO Performer of the Year (1991,) and winner of the Florida Blues Challenge (1998.) It’s an interesting collection. In 1984, Davis left the church life, entered that blues life- touring and making the rounds with people like Dr. John, Son Seals and more. Then he ended up in Europe and based on his website, doesn’t seem like he’s come back since…which is understandable. Like “Shiny Trust,” Europe is dope.
Davis and his assembled backing band, the Sweetpeas, released an EP in October- It’s High Time. “Shiny Trust” is the opening track and sets a tone and vibe followed up and adhered to by the rest of the album’s numbers. It’s restrained, tight & polished soul music. There’s some blues in there, but mostly it’s straight forward R & B. It lacks the bluster and energy of St. Paul & the Broken Bones, thus the comparison to the Wood Brothers. There’s similarities in the sound, like literally, the instruments have a comparable tone. Davis though, that dude does have a voice. It’s powerful and delicate- sometimes even at the same time. His voice oozes emotion, pain and even more emotion. It’s clenched fist vocals, really tight and existing above simmering and boiling under currents.
It’s not Obama. It’s not Bill Cosby. It’s not Ferguson. It’s not Congressional Gridlock and it’s not the sudden onslaught and appearance of winter.
It’s soul music.
It’s good soul music.
It’s this dude Karl W. Davis and his band, the Sweetpeas.
Learn more about Karl W. Davis & the Sweatpeas HERE.
Photos: Band Facebook Page