9th Floor Music

9th Floor Music's Journal

Funk Rock for the Nation's Capital, Sol Gets DC Up and Dancing

Funk Rock for the Nation's Capital, Sol Gets DC Up and Dancing

Jan 10, 2011
– He’s toured the world with some of the biggest names in roots, blues, and funk, had his music featured in an American Express commercial with Tiger Woods, and recorded several well-reviewed albums. He’s the fiery guitarist known as Sol, and his influences span the country, and the globe.

Sol was born in North Carolina and grew up there, as well as in Virginia, Ohio and Arizona. He went to college in Tennessee, and he has family scattered across the US, as well as in Brazil and Costa Rica. The music and cultures of all these places make Sol the musician that he is. He also happens to have a musician dad who has played with some of the greats in blues, folk and rock.

“I grew up surrounded by music,” Sol said, “hearing rock, blues, soul, folk and jazz. I appreciate music from all over: samba, bossa nova, jazz etc.”

Some of Sol’s most formative experiences came from his involvement with the Music Maker Relief Foundation. The MMRF is a North Carolina-based non-profit organization that helps pioneers of blues and roots music make ends meet and put out their music on CD. Sol tells the story of his involvement:

“Before Music Maker had officially been established, my father was touring with his friend Tim Duffy (President of Music Maker) and Piedmont blues legend Guitar Gabriel. During my summer breaks from school I would travel around the deep south helping to do field recordings with Tim Duffy. I started working with Music Maker first as a recording engineer, then a mastering engineer, and also as a session musician. After they began to hear my musicianship, they pulled me in for quite a lot of shows. Working with them has been a great experience; I’ve been able to travel around the world, and to work with many deep, spiritually-rewarding artists. Music Maker is a great organization that I’m proud to work with.”

Through Music Maker, Sol had the chance to travel around the world, backing up musicians like Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Taj Mahal. He also put out one of his albums, “Volume: Blue,” on the Music Maker label.

“’Volume: Blue’ has been described as an underground blues/hip-hop mash-up,” Sol said, “and is a tribute to some of my musical mentors. It is my attempt to share the philosophy, life lessons and soul of artists like Guitar Gabriel and Cootie Starks with the youth of today. I have a deep respect for all of the artists that are a part the album. All of them have had a great impact on me, not just musically, but also personally.”

These days, Sol calls DC home, and he’s recording and touring around the east coast with his band Funk Root. They’ve put out one CD, “Freedom,” with another on the way sometime this year. Funk Root includes musicians who have worked with many local legends, including Jah Works, Corey Harris, Hobex, Mary Ann Redmond and Deanna Bogart.

Deciding he wanted to settle down just a bit after all the relentless touring, Sol has made the L.A. Bar in Arlington, VA a kind of home base. Besides the open jam showcase he hosts many Thursdays—a popular event that covers blues, funk, folk and every genre in between—Sol also plays gigs at the bar a few times a year, and helps manager (and avid live music supporter) book bands for the bar’s Friday Night Music Series.

“The manager and I work together on a vision of bringing in quality music while keeping a laid-back atmosphere,” Sol said. “Every Friday, this relaxed venue is transformed into a lively party spot for music lovers of all kinds.”

Sol does not plan on stopping the music anytime soon. He is dedicated to spreading the gospel of blues, rock, and roots music, and making people get up and dance while he’s at it. He’s grateful for the chance.

“I try to be thankful,” he said, “for every day, every show, every musician I work with, and every venue and promoter I work with that is focused on quality and integrity.”

Written by Jon Kaplan
0 Comments :: Permalink :: Sun 3/6/2011 8:20 PM
Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival Spring 2010
Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance 04.22.10-04.25.10 :: Shakori Hills :: Pittsboro, NC

Words by S.Taylor

Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance is a wonderful celebration of music, arts, and dance set in the beautiful North Carolina countryside. This vibrant festival offers four days of incredible music featuring some of the best international, national, regional, and local bands. The diversity and quality of the musical groups at Shakori Hills is impressive, and Shakori Hills is known for being a very relaxed, family friendly and earth-conscious festival.

The big name acts at this April's Shakori Hills included banjo master Béla Fleck, the Malian musician and bandleader Bassekou Kouyate, world psychedelic jammers Rusted Root, Americana musician Abigail Washburn, and the festival founders Donna The Buffalo. On the last day even Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones stopped by with his bass and mandolin for a few powerful guest appearances!

Among the many other spectacular groups who performed were Sim Redmond Band, Sol Driven Train, Hobex, Asylum Street Spankers, Hackensaw Boys, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Sol & Funk Root, and Great American Taxi.

Here's a healthy sampling of photos from Shakori Hills. If you missed this spring festival, the 2010 fall festival is right around the corner!

Photos by Kevin M James and Gabriel Nelson

http://www.jambase.com/Articles/22587/Shakori-Hills-GrassRoots-Fest-04.22-04.25-NC" target='blank'>http://www.jambase.com/Articles/22587/Shakori-Hills-GrassRoots-Fest-04.22-04.25-NC

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Tue 5/4/2010 6:48 AM

The Wood Brothers and Sol perform in Richmond VA
On Friday March 12 two extremely high quality bands perform at the Capital Ale House a premier venue in Richmond Virginia: The Wood Brothers and Sol & Funk Root. The Wood Brothers, an established group in the jam band scene, features bassist Chris Wood from Medeski Martin and Wood along with his brother Oliver Wood on guitar. Sol & Funk Root features the guitarist and vocalist Sol, a rising star who has toured around the world with roots and blues legends and is now concentrating on touring with his own groups.

The Wood Brothers music has a down home feel that blends blues, folk, and rock music in a guitar and bass duo. Oliver has soaked up the roots of blues, the soul of the south, and found he had a talent for writing and singing songs. His Atlanta bases blues band, King Johnson toured mostly in the southern states. Chris has lived in New York and played everything from free jazz to rock and roll. New York is where Chris met his band mates to form Medeski Martin & Wood.

Now The Wood Brothers have begun a collaboration that combines their shared childhood influences with everything they've learned since leaving home. Their folk and acoustic blues tunes, tinged with gospel hopefulness and country melancholy, were welcomed like old friends by both fans and pundits. National Public Radio named their debut disc “Ways Not To Lose” one of their top ten discoveries that year. The brothers’ new album, "Loaded" produced by John Medeski, was released on Blue Note Records, April 2008.

Sol & Funk Root have been creating a buzz on the east coast with their blend of rock, funk, soul, and blues. Sol’s guitar playing can stretch from fiery rock to laid-back jazz, and from funky innovative grooves to soulful ballads, always drawing on a deep background in blues. For the Richmond show, Sol & Funk Root perform a stripped down acoustic set of their original songs to compliment the Wood Brothers.

Sol began his musical experiences performing with Carolina blues luminaries such as Guitar Gabriel, John Dee Holeman, and Cool John Ferguson. Branching out from the blues, Sol found underground success with his independent CD release “Freedom” which features musicians who have worked with Corey Harris, Jah Works, Hobex, Ana Popovic, and the Squirrel Nut Zippers. With these special guests, the album moves from greasy delta grooves to deep reggae, and from stanky funk to soulful R&B.

Sol has shared the stage with music heavyweights such as Taj Mahal, BB King, Robert Randolph, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Soulive, Derek Trucks, and others. Sol has also performed with members of jam band favorites such as Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Dynamite Brothers, and Carolina Chocolate Drops. Sol has frequently toured a part of Music Maker Revue. Music Maker is a non profit organization that helps support the pioneers of roots, blues, and r&b music.

The Capital Ale House features the best in national and regional musical talent. The Capital Ale House is located at 623 E Main St Richmond VA 23219 phone: 804-780-2537.

capital ale house,sol,soul,roots,creech,wood brothers,chris wood,oliver wood,medeski,martin,wood,richmond,va,virginia,nightlife,music,concerts,bottom,quality,mike tony echols,scott rabino 0 Comments :: Permalink :: Sun 2/28/2010 1:44 AM

New Album by Sol- "Freedom"

Sol "Freedom"

its a smooth mix of reggae, funk, soul, rock...

The new release, entitled Freedom, features the core musical unit of Sol on guitar and vocals, “King George” Penn on drums, and Jake Dempsey on bass. Also guest appearances by Tim Smith (who can also be found on recordings with Squirrel Nut Zippers, Hobex, and the Countdown Quartet), as well as members of Virginia’s up-and-coming reggae groups, the Seed, and the Alliens. With these special guests, the new album moves from greasy delta grooves to deep reggae, and from stanky funk to soulful R&B.

Here's what some reviewers are saying about the new CD Freedom:

“Sol is excellent at morphing rock, blues, soul, and reggae, taking it all to a different level and contributing to the evolution of the styles into- quoting Sly Stone- 'a whole new thing'. Freedom is a great example of this band’s music and a truly enjoyable listening experience”- Len Comaratta- WUVT Music Director

"Sol pulls together funk, soul, blues and reggae elements...

Sol uses his right hand fingers, not a pick, to get his bluesy, dirty-sweet solo lines, and he delivers the raw and tasteful in even helpings....

You have to admire a blues/soul singer who is trying to sound like himself, instead of some old blues guy... Good Party Music... " - Tad Dickens- Press Review

"...songs that take us on an adventure- from uplifting spiritual and prophetic warnings, to gut wrenching blues; and from the light and dark of human emotion- told by exceptional musicians, reminding us that great music is still being made....

....on your second listen, you notice all the little things- sounds, taps, beautiful background vocals, awesome sax, flute, and keyboards- and begin to realize two master engineers put this CD together.

They have woven a tapestry of music that will uplift and warm your soul. " - Advance Tribune

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Tue 7/15/2008 4:01 PM