Mindi Abair & the Boneshakers - 8/16/19Friday, August 16 2019 6:00 PM Doors / 8:00 PM Start / Ends 10:00 PM (ESTIMATED ENDING TIME)
- Front Premier
Mindi Abair & the Boneshakers - 8/16/19
at City Winery Chicago
- 6:00 PM
- 8:00 PM
- 10:00 PM (ESTIMATED ENDING TIME)
Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers live, eat and breathe music as a collective — it’s their oxygen. Add to that a balanced mix of diverse musical backgrounds, big personalities and the bond of mutual respect coupled with friendship, and what transpires in the recording studio is sonic magic. It’s that kind of chemistry that the Los Angeles-based band has righteously captured and parlayed into their third studio album, No Good Deed, which is set for release on June 28 on Abair’s Pretty Good For A Girl Records.
Featuring an enthralling array of original material along with some cleverly reworked covers of songs from the Rascals, Etta James and others, No Good Deed is the band’s most multidimensional album to date and reflects the longtime camaraderie between the Boneshakers’ Randy Jacobs (guitar and vocals), Rodney Lee (keys), Ben White (bass, vocals) and Third Richardson (drums, vocals) and lead vocalist and award-winning saxophonist Mindi Abair. Not only does the album showcase the band members’ diverse talents and knack for creating music that is undeniably evocative and irrepressibly energetic; this time they’ve peeled back the layers to reveal more of their respective influences, unleashing unbridled infusions of punk, jazz and blues.
It took only five days to record the album, which was done at the legendary EastWest Studios in Hollywood. Acclaimed producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Joe Bonamassa), who had worked with the band on their first studio record, The EastWest Sessions, returned once again. Going into the studio, the band already knew what they wanted to do, didn’t overthink things, and let creative inspiration and adrenaline lead them — a methodology that’s not new to them.
“It’s really the way that we love to make records,” says Abair. “We’re all in the studio at the same time and we’re really cognizant of how we want to capture and keep that spirit, that energy, that chemistry — because sometimes you can lose it after playing through a song too many times — it's just not the same, because you're thinking about it too much.”
The original material featured on No Good Deed takes a journey along the mood and energy spectrum — defiance and decisiveness meet remorse and reflection for a seductive, energizing and intoxicating romp, all propelled by the work of phenomenal musicians: Jacobs’ amped up and versatile lead guitar, White’s pumping baselines, Lee’s jazz-inspired keyboard virtuosity, Richardson’s expansive command of the drums and cymbals and Abair’s gripping vocals and untouchable mastery of the saxophone.
“No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” is the second track on the record and was penned by Abair, Jacobs and Dave Yaden. With the explosive amped-up energy it radiates, it is sure to induce stadium-style foot stomping and hand clapping. The bluesy, richly textured “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul” was written by Abair and Tyrone Stevens and is a haunting dig through the wreckage of love lost and the attempt to reclaim inner strength. Abair’s imploring lament “I’ve got more life to live but I’m lost and alone, I’ll find my strength to get by, make it on my own” adds a stirring, soul- searching dimension to the song. On “Bad News” Richardson plays a cut crystal glass instead of a triangle to produce an alluring tingle. Coupled with Abair’s gritty sax riffs, it further enforces the song’s smoky, sultry vibe which transports the listener to a dark bar where it’s easy to hide until “the bad news has arrived, it’s closing time.” “Movin’ On” showcases the band’s affinity for quintessential, in-your-face rock as they deliver a headbanging, no-holds-barred anthem that gets a thunderous boost from Jacobs’ meaty guitar playing and Abair’s ‘hell yeah’ attitude as she declares she’s “movin’ on like a gypsy vagabond, let the past be the past — it’s dead, I’m gone.”
When choosing covers for the album, Abair says they opted for material from some of their favorite iconic R&B and rock artists. The album’s opening song is the old school sizzler “Seven Day Fool,” written by Billy Davis and made famous by Etta James. Richardson joins Abair on Ike and Tina Turner’s scorching hot rock duet “Baby Get It On” which closes out the album while the deceptively upbeat “Good Day for the Blues” dances in the middle.
Shirley threw his hat in the ring by sending Abair the original 1964 recording of the Young Rascals’ “You Better Run” (later made into a mega hit by Pat Benatar). “It’s an amazing song,” says Abair. “You can’t help but bob your head up and down and rock out! Kevin thought that with the power and muscle in this band — Randy on guitar — it could be just in your face fun to record.”
Before she and the Boneshakers were a band, Mindi Abair had already made her mark as an award-winning sax player, with two Grammy nominations and eight records to her credit. Her edgy, contemporary style of playing was widely sought after by bands like Aerosmith and Duran Duran — both of whom she toured with extensively.
Abair first met Jacobs at a gig where she witnessed him do a back flip off the stage and into the audiences without missing a chord change. Jacobs, who played in Bonnie Raitt’s band and Was Not Was, became a regular player on her solo records, but it was later, when Abair sat in with the Boneshakers at the Newport Beach Jazz Festival in 2014, that the two musical forces became one.
“We’ve got a lot of years together as a band,” says Abair. “And what you hear on No Good Deeddrips of me and the Boneshakers but also unveils variations of where the band can go. We pushed into other spaces that we’re really comfortable in — we just hadn’t showed them to the world yet.”
The band tapped renowned visual artist Nick Egan to design the album’s cover art (which they’re keeping under wraps until the album drops). Egan’s portfolio features a who’s who of talent, from the Sex Pistols to Oasis to INXS. “Great art just amplifies great music and it was incredible to work with my friend Nick,” says Abair. “He captured our spirit so completely with this album cover and art — It’s amazing.”