When you think of soul music, you probably think about places like Detroit and Philadelphia, not Lincoln, Nebraska. However, Lincoln is home to Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal, a band that plays ultra-groovy soul music that is influenced by the sounds of Motown and Stax.
The new album Natural Born Hustler was produced by Eddie Roberts of The New Mastersounds. Of the new album, Hoyer (who was a contestant on The Voice in 2017) said, “I look for cohesiveness and something that can be listened to on a road trip.” It’s fair to say that he accomplished that particular mission as this album would be a great soundtrack for a road trip to anywhere.
The band gets you grooving right away with “Hustler”. The horns on this song might remind you of some of the great Stax releases. It also features a rhythm that you can feel in your gut as well as your feet. Hoyer ties it all together with his powerful vocals that are reminiscent of John Bell of Widespread Panic.
Throughout the album, the band goes back and forth between high-energy songs and slower tempo songs like “Whisper”. But even when the tune has a slower tempo, you can’t help but groove to the solid rhythms and the soulful melodies.
Like a lot of soul singers, Hoyer is not afraid to put some social commentary into his lyrics. “Sunday Lies” is all about the dishonesty of those in power. “It enrages me. Why can’t everybody see you like I see?” He goes on to say that the liar’s smiles are weapons and compares words to apples so rotten even maggots won’t feed on them. The message is a powerful one while the melody makes you want to dance.
While this is a soul album, it does include some other components. “The Night” provides a good example. Not that the band wanders far from soul in this song, however, it does feature a psychedelic guitar part that brings Eddie Hazel to mind.
If you were to play this album for people, they might guess that it was made in the 70s. It certainly holds true to that vibe and will probably remind you of a lot of your favorite old-time soul artists. At the same time, it has a modern feel similar to bands like St. Paul and The Broken Bones. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing along. Also don’t be surprised if you get a little sweaty from all the dancing this album is sure to inspire.
Photo credit: James Dean