Big Sam’s Funky Nation with Special Guest Alanna Royale - 1/11/19

Big Sam’s Funky Nation with Special Guest Alanna Royale - 1/11/19

Friday, January 11 2019 6:00pm Doors / 8:00pm Start / Ends 10:30pm (Estimated End Time)

Tickets

General Admission
$15.00
Fri Jan 11 2019

Big Sam’s Funky Nation with Special Guest Alanna Royale - 1/11/19

at City Winery Nashville

Doors:
6:00pm
Starts:
8:00pm
Ends:
10:30pm (Estimated End Time)

Tickets

General Admission
$15.00

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ARTIST VIDEO

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TICKETS ARE $15 IN ADVANCE, & $20 AT THE DOOR


When you think of New Orleans, the city’s foremost flambeaux-lit traditions of Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, voodoo, Po’ boys, beads, gumbo, and second line undoubtedly come to mind. You can also count Big Sam’s Funky Nation amongst those NOLA treasures.

Known for a boisterous blend of funk, jazz, rock, and hip-hop, nothing short of seismic live “experiences, and a whole lot of Southern charm, Big Sam’s Funky Nation might very well be The Big Easy’s best kept secret.

No other place could birth such an undeniable, unpredictable, and downright unique collective.

“By playing on these streets, you learn how to work your craft and entertain an audience,” exclaims Sam. “You can go to Julliard and Berklee all you want, but they won’t teach you how to rock a stage. It comes naturally in New Orleans. I’ve been here my whole life and rocking these streets. Even during Hurricane Katrina, I drove nine hours from San Antonio every weekend for two years just to play live. The sound out here is unlike anything else in the world. It’s not just a figure of speech—there’s music going all night, literally.”

Against the backdrop of Crescent City, the group released five fan favorite albums and quietly developed a devout following. Powered by jaw-dropping technical talent and uncontainable energy on stage, their performances have become the stuff of legend. Big Sam ensures you’re not just a part of the crowd, but “a part of the show dancing and singing along.” Beyond standout sets at the likes of Voodoo Music + Experience and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the boys have performed at Bonnaroo, SXSW, and Austin City Limits, to name a few.

The frontman personally draws on over two decades in the game, spanning everything from 300 shows per year during his days in Dirty Dozen Brass Band and gigs backing up Widespread Panic and Dave Matthews Band to recording and touring with Allen Toussaint and Elvis Costello. Additionally, he would be sought out for a recurring role on the critically acclaimed HBO series Treme.

Following the release of 2014’s rock-leaning Evolution (and yet another marathon of gigs), Big Sam wanted to “bring the funk like never before. So, he decided to “write originals that show how cats like Morris Day & The Time, The Gap Band, P-Funk, inspired [him]—while not just repeating the past.”

The group accomplish this mission on their aptly titled 2018 sixth full-length Songs in the Key of Funk, Volume 1. Spending just five days at The Parlor Recording Studio in New Orleans, Big Sam’s Funky Nation emerged from the studio with an album tailormade for singing, dancing, and, of course, partying.

“We’re going to keep the funk alive,” he affirms. “This is just Volume 1. It’s just the beginning.

Stevie Wonder made one of my favorites: Songs in the Key of Life. I thought it would be hip to build on the title. Funk is life for me. Funk is everything. We all need some of it in our lives, so guess who’s here to give it to you?”

Funk is served up piping hot on the first single “Poke Chop.” On the track, a simmering beat punctuated by seventies-style synths gives way to lively horns, handclaps, and howls. Merging bounce energy and jazz virtuosity, the call-and-response culminates on Big Sam chanting a hometown phrase, “Show me what you got for a poke chop.

Elsewhere, “Buzzin” shimmies from talkbox into swaggering clean guitars. Painting a vivid picture of hot and heavy love at first sight on the dance floor, the frontman croons, “Girl, you got me buzzin.”

As much as Big Sam’s Funky Nation represents the beating heart of New Orleans, they ultimately do so for funk music as well.

“When you see us live or listen to our records, we’re all going to have a good time,” he leaves off. “That’s what funk is all about. That’s what New Orleans is all about. That’s what Big Sam’s Funky Nation is all about. If you come to a show, you’re going to party. That’s what we’re here for.”

BIG SAM’S FUNKY NATION

“Big Sam” Williams - trombone, lead vocals

Drew “Da Phessah” Baham - trumpet, vocals

Jerry “JBlakk” Henderson – bass

Keenan “Butta Cream” McRae – guitar

Alfred “Sgt Gutta” Jordan – drums

Kendrick Marshall – keys


Alanna Royale makes classic-minded R&B and soul music for the modern age. It's a sound rooted in big melodies, blasts of brass, percussive punch, and old-school grooves, with songs that shine a light not only on frontwoman Alanna Quinn-Broadus' larger-than-life voice, but her songwriting chops, too.

The band formed in Nashville, where Alanna and guitarist Jared Colby relocated after cutting their teeth as working-class musicians in Boston. Once in Tennessee, they teamed up with drummer Matt Snow, and bassist Gabriel Golden, forming a core lineup that often swells to as many as ten members -- including backup vocalists and a two-piece horn section -- in concert. Together, the band looked beyond Nashville's country-filled past and, instead, took inspiration from Motown's soul, Stax's funky strut, and rock & roll's rebellion. Tattooed, brash, and unapologetically unique, they stood out in a town dominated by Americana music, charting a unique course whose highlights have since included an appearance at Bonnaroo, a string of cross-country shows supporting acts like Lee Fields and St. Paul and the Broken Bones, and an audience that celebrates the band's diversity.

On their fourth release, 2018's So Bad You Can Taste It, Alanna matches the brassy spirit of the band's previous records — including their full-length debut, Achilles — with rare vulnerability. There's still plenty of soulful stomp here, from the upbeat sweep of the record's lead single, "I Know," to the funky fire of "Giving It All Away." There's also a more mature, sober look at the demands thrust upon independent artists — or anyone's who's willing to chase down an uncertain horizon, no matter how rough the journey may be. With songs that examine the midpoint between desperation and drive, So Bad You Can Taste It is the band's most genuine work to date.

"There are mountains and valleys to any journey, and this record is about being in the valley," explains Alanna Quinn-Broadus. "It's about the low moments. It's basically the opposite of someone's Instagram feed, because it's not a highlights reel. It's just real."

Low moments notwithstanding, So Bad You Can Taste It marks a creative high for Alanna Royale, whose members recorded the record's six songs with producer Kelly Finnegan and engineer Mindy Watts across multiple studios. Joining them were guests like trombonist Nadav Nirenberg -- known for his work alongside artists like Wyclef Jean, Breakdown Brass, and Wu Tang -- as well as Kirk Donovan, Meggan Utech, and Alexis Saski. Working with this expanded crew, Alanna Royale carved out a song-based sound that targeted not only their audience's dancing shoes, but their heads and hearts, too. Songs like the powerful, poignant ballad "I Used to Dream" were reworked multiple times, resulting in a record that's nuanced, heartfelt, and unafraid to show off its own scars.

"The title, So Bad You Can Taste It, says it all," Alanna explains. "This record is all about the idea of something that's in front of you, and you can see it and feel it, but it's just out of reach. That thing can be your sanity or your sobriety or your success. I sometimes think it's harder to see the light at the end of the tunnel, rather than not seeing any light at all. Once you know the possibility of light is there, you have no option but to go after it. That can be really hard and really dangerous…which makes it really worthwhile to sing about."