If you haven’t seen the live event known as Royal Southern Brotherhood in a club near you – seriously, you are truly missing out. Sure most live bands can fire it up on the stage, but putting those songs on record and making the recordings sound as poignant and timeless? Royal Southern Brotherhood triumphantly pulls it off on their fourth full length LP – The Royal Gospel (due out 6/24/16)
The five members of Royal Southern Brotherhood convened in February 2016 at Dockside Studios, Louisiana, there was magic in the air. Just seven days later, the acclaimed U.S. soul-blues collective emerged with their new album, 12 songs that stay relentless and vibrant from start to finish. Like all the best groups, Royal Southern Brotherhood has evolved. Having bonded on 2015’s Don’t Look Back, the MkII lineup of Cyril Neville (percussion/vocals), Bart Walker (guitar/vocals), Tyrone Vaughan (guitar/vocals) and Yonrico Scott (drums) have bolstered their sound with new recruit Darrell Philips (bass/vocals),and guest B3 from Norman Caesar.
Glide Magazine is premiering the jazzy gospel flavors of “I’ve Seen Enough to Know” off The Royal Gospel- a track reminiscent of boisterous guitar rock and touches of Marvin Gaye’s meditative classic tune “What’s Going On.”
This is one of two songs that were introduced to us by our producer David Z, who we’ve worked with on three recordings now and who knows the band’s capabilities and has picked songs for us that fit us perfectly, ” remarks Neville about the track. “The song was written by Jeff Silbar and Billy Valentine. Jeff is also co-writer of “Face Of Love”. And yes, in the sense that it speaks about social issues that other artist avoid addressing and has a solid danceable groove, it can be compared to “What’s Going On”, but it also feels and sounds like something the Doobie Brothers would’ve done. “
Glide had the chance to touch base with Neville on a number of other subjects and the jubilant new LP..
There seems to be mixture of New Orleans and Nashville in this project. Would you agree? What cities or regions give Royal Southern Brotherhood its punch?
LOL!! I laugh because I’m impressed that you recognized that NOLA/Nashville connection! Very perceptive on your part. Through the years, I’ve had the honor of collaborating with some truly accomplished artists with very Kool results. But in the last two years I’ve written songs with my band mate Bart Walker for our last two CDs, and for me, it’s been some of the most fruitful collaborations I’ve ever been Blessed to be a part of. And he’s from Nashville and I’m from New Orleans, and yes, there’s something very Spiritual about how our ideas meet in the middle like they do. Even before we physically met, through the song ideas I got from him. I recognized a kindred Spirit, someone who felt, in many ways, the same about music and life as I did. The band was going through its first transition and I was suffering the growing pains when I got two song ideas from Bart that spoke directly to my condition. The first was titled “Don’t Look Back” and the other, “I Wanna Be Free”. Well, “Don’t Look Back” became the title song for our last CD and we haven’t looked back since! I’ve never felt more musically liberated or so cosmically connected to anyone like I feel when collaborating with Bart. Outside of the Neville Family, that is!
You mentioned the LP covers themes of what you’ve seen in your travels over the year – can you offer our readers of some of the more creatively inspiring sights and sounds?
Well while traveling you get to see the art and hear the music, and feel the culture of the cities you get to visit and see how other people live and get a glimpse of how they think about life and other people, and how you fit into the scheme of things on the global level, and experience the effect our music has on audiences in different parts of world. And you also come to the realization that people, in general, have far more in common than otherwise; we’re all human first and foremost! Seems division comes whenever religion, race or politics are discussed. One, Johan F. Blumenback was the first to divide people based on skin color. His concept of race is false, based on the premise that one race is superior over another, when in reality, there’s only one race on this planet, THE HUMAN RACE!
Most wars are being fought in the name of one religion or another! Children are robbed of their innocence and dignity by clergy and the culprits are protected instead of prosecuted. And governments all seem to be more concerned with power and control rather than Equal Rights and Justice for their People. So we felt obligated to offer some mood mellowing, healing relief; to express in song,how we feel we’re ALL affected by what’s going on around us, but wrapped in Bluesy, Soulful, danceable Funkaliscious grooves; music to dance and to THINK to at the same time. That’s the Gospel of Royal Southern Brotherhood!
You recorded this new album The Royal Gospel in seven days – did you anticipate it to be that quick or were you ready to go longer? What do you credit the fast recording process to?
Actually we’re constantly sending each other song ideas and at every soundcheck, we come up with new grooves that are later worked on, fleshed out and become whole songs! That’s why when we walked into the studio; we had an outline of the final product before we even started! Add to that the fact that the only person who knew and had met Darrell was Tyrone!! They have known each other for years and hand jammed together on many occasions! Tyrone called me about two days into the new transition and very excitedly told me “I got the perfect guy for the bass slot, Darrell Phillips!” Man, I could feel it through the phone that he was sure about what he was saying so I told him “Hook us up Brother”! I talked to Darrell a couple of days later, after listening to his work and offered him the gig, because I was just as convinced as Tyrone was that he was ” the guy” for the job, so we sent him all the ideas we had worked on up to then. And the minute I heard him live in the studio I was further convinced that it was just meant to be. He and Yonrico locked from the first note to the last! Like they had been playing together for years yet had never met. Darrell added a smoothness that seems to inspire Yonrico into deep pocket mode! As a matter of fact, ‘Smooth’ is his nickname now!
We had been using everything from cell phones to garage band to put our ideas together for months before we went in to record. I was also being sent songs to choose from by our producer, David Z, so we were fired up and ready to go when we walked in. Yonrico had driven in from Atlanta the night before and set his rig up and David Z had already gotten the studio prepared! We chose the first song to be recorded and went to work structuring it! We recorded three songs the first day, four the second day, and three the third day, along with the few overdubs that were done. And then a beautiful discovery was made! While working on “Everybody Pays Some Dues”, while listening to the track, I started singing a background idea and about the third time I sang it, to my surprise and utter delight, Bart, Tyrone and Darrell started singing with me! FOUR PART HARMONY!! David Z stopped the tape and set about putting the vocal mics in the right position for the right vocal blend. We then recorded harmony on five other songs! The session went fast and smooth because everybody brought their A game and positive attitudes but left the egos outside the door, and had a great time making a joyful noise together. A true Brotherhood in every sense of the word!
We were recording everything live, real old school, everybody eyeball to eyeball! The way I saw it done at Cosimo’s studio. I figure that if your work sounds and feels like what came out of that room, then you must have done it right, ya’ know? I’m proud to say I feel we accomplished that!
Funk and blues seem to be your obvious strong points but you guys deliver a lot more genres and seem to be inspired by other artists most people might be surprised by – who else turns you on?
Man I love MUSIC! Period!! And so does every member of the band. We all have eclectic tastes and listen to all kinds of music. Bart is a child prodigy who, besides guitar, plays banjo and mandolin as well. He was also classically trained vocally and can sing Opera. His musical tastes are vast! When Yonrico is playing his music in the van, you’ll hear everything from Roy Ayers to Earth, Wind and Fire! Like I said, we all listen to all kinds of music.
For me it’s everything from Satchmo and Allen Toussaint to Miles Davis and Hugh Masakela, Manu Dibango to Ani DeFranco, Gil Scott Heron to Miss Jill Scott, and everything in between! Now having said that, I must add that I see Spirituals and Blues as the basis for any and every other so called genre! It’s a fact that so called Jazz music, through the Horn and Voice of Louis Armstrong, is the only cultural contribution America has EVER added to World Culture. The Blues is the basis of Jazz! It’s the Root of everything this band does, but we reserve the right to bend in any direction we choose! So, in my humble opinion, the Blues is the Roux of America’s musical/cultural Gumbo! The Blues is a Spirit, or better yet, Spirits! It takes many forms. It’s in everything from Doo Wop to Hip Hop! It’s a Feeling that’ll never die! It don’t care how old or young you are or how rich or poor you are, ANYBODY can get, feel, have the Blues! So, we bend it, twist it, shape and reshape it to fit whatever musical mood we’re in and serve it up Hot! And that’s REALLY the Royal Gospel!!
Catch Royal Brotherhood this Summer! Tour Dates Below
06/15/16 Wichita, KS Barleycorn’s
06/16/16 Tulsa, OK Shrine
06/17/16 Topeka, KS Uncle Bo’s
06/18/16 Kansas City, MO Crossroads KC
06/24/16 Norfolk, VA Bayou Boogaloo
07/08/16 Auburn Hills, MI Callahan’s
07/09/16 Kalamazoo, MI Kalamazoo Valley Blues Festival
07/10/16 Evanston, IL SPACE
07/14/16 Madison, WI La Fete de Marquette
07/15/16 South Bend, IN Vegetable Buddies
07/16/16 Milwaukee, WI Bastille Day Festival
07/29/16 Carmel, IN The Warehouse
07/30/16 Pomeroy, OH Big Bend Blues Bash
08/06/16 Burnaby, BC Burnaby Blues Festival Canada
08/12/16 Calabogie Calabogie Blues & Ribfest
08/13/16 Québec Donnacona Blues Festival
08/20/16 Calabogie, OH Calabogie Blues – Blues & Ribfest
09/09/16 Phoenix, AZ The Rhythm Room
09/10/16 Las Vegas, NV Big Blues Bender
09/11/16 Las Vegas, NV Big Blues Bender