Soulive

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Soulive pays homage to The Beatles with the release of Rubber Soulive

:: Soulive ::
:: Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom ::
::  December 17 and 18 ::

By Lisa Oshlo

Long-time purveyors of solid funk music, Soulive has shifted the formula and upped the ante this time around, dropping an album of Beatles covers and touring extensively in support of the new record.

With Rubber Soulive, which went to number one on the iTunes jazz chart, the band successfully takes the most popular band of all time and makes it super funky, in the way that only this band can.

Originally formed in Buffalo, N.Y., but now hailing from Brooklyn, Soulive maintained a rotating lineup for years, but the band has finally solidified with Eric Krasno on guitar, Neal Evans on organ, and his brother Al Evans on the drums.

Beatles fans from the beginning, the band infuses the original material with their own brand of hip-shaking sounds, while covering Beatles classics. However, the Rubber Soulive title is a bit misleading, in that only two tracks on it actually appear on The Beatles’ Rubber Soul — “Drive My Car” and “In My Life.” The band, in fact, tackles material from a  wealth of Beatles albums, including “Taxman” and “Eleanor Rigby” from Revolver, “I Want You,” “Something,” and “Come Together” from Abbey Road, “Revolution” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from The White Album, “Help!” from the album of the same name, and “Day Tripper,” which, though recorded during the Rubber Soul sessions was actually released on Yesterday & Today.

The Marquee spoke recently with Al Evans about paying homage to the Fab Four on a record of their very own. “I guess the idea came up after Eric recorded “Get Back” for his solo album,” said Evans. “Soon after that, we started discussing the idea of doing a ‘British Invasion’ album but then decided on a Beatles cover album.”

The band cut the album at their recording facility, Playonbrother Studios, and released the effort through their own label, Royal Family Records. Released from the pressure of actually writing the music, the band was free to explore and recreate the existing material. “We’ve always prided ourselves on doing something different every time we go into the studio,” said Evans. While the songs remain true to their original versions, there is that unmistakable Soulive groove.

Never a band content to merely stick with what works, Soulive added soul singer Nigel Hall into the mix for Rubber Soulive. Having worked with Krasno on his solo album as well as Soulive off-shoot Lettuce, Hall was the natural choice on vocals. In addition, Hall is working on his own album, to be released soon on Royal Family. “We thought it would be smart to take him out on the road with us and get him in front of our audience so people know about him when his album drops,” said Evans.

Currently out on the road, the band has booked two nights in each city, devoting the first night to the Beatles and the second to the music of James Brown.

While the band has taken its traditional sets and kind of thrown them out the window for this tour, Evans said that it all makes perfect sense to them. “I never really thought it being unconventional,” he said. “I think that if you’re going to play multiple nights in a city, you should really flip those nights up. It makes it interesting for us and for the audience. It’s all just music in the end.”

:: Soulive ::

:: Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom ::

:: December 17 and 18 ::

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