While Shiny Old Soul is relatively new, the core trio of Gregory Morris (vocals, guitar), Katherine Monnig (percussion) and Michael Sadoff (bass) has been performing together for seven years, mostly as The Gregory Morris Group. While they changed the band name after the departure of original member Jay Ensminger, GMG fans will instantly fall in love with Shiny Old Soul.
That’s because one of GMG’s strongest assets — an almost telepathic, harmonious connection between the musicians that is so evident it’s palpable — carries over to the “new” crew. Shiny Old Soul makes a magical noise on Cash Is King, with a Folk/Rock base creating the river on which the sounds flow, natural and breezy. It’s wildly organic and stream-of-conscious-esque (thanks partly to the unfussy, crisp production of Jeff Roberson), hypnotic yet consistently (at least in tone) upbeat and buoyant, with a celebratory sound that may be the result of the band’s spiritual connection to New Orleans (where they’ve had adventures in busking in the past). They lay out the good vibes on their “theme song” (my designation, not theirs) “SOS” with the line “Each of us possesses a shiny old soul.” (Oh, and the “cosmic” part of the band’s self-description becomes clear in lyrics like the ones from “Shimmer” and its trippy refrain “Rooftop, boombox, U.F.O.,” as well as scattered pot and wine references.)
Driven by Morris’ jazzy acoustic guitar wizardry, you’ll hear elements of atypical folkies like Cat Stevens, Tim Buckley and Neil Young in the grooves, while the transcendent multi-part harmonies are the icing on the Cosmic Roots cake.
The communal spirit of Shiny Old Soul’s music is so infectious, you may end up asking if you can join the band and run away with their gypsy caravan by the end of their set Friday night. Just be sure you don’t have an aversion to New Orleans.
Check out the band’s shiny new website at www.shinyoldsoul.com.
This Month In Residencies
• MOTR Pub’s every-Monday “House Band” for January is Pop Empire, the rockin’ duo that recently became a trio thanks to the addition of drummer Andy Jody. The group showcases the new-look Empire in a recently released music video for the song “Ain’t Got a Cent (In the Land of the Free).” The cool clip (done all in one continuous shot) was created by local photographer Michael Wilson (along with Beth Reed) at his Daylight Studio. (www.popempire.com)
• Superb local Indie band Sacred Spirits is holding down the every-Tuesday residency at The Comet in Northside for January. The Spirits recently announced that their stunning full-length debut, Some Stay, will be released “officially” in June on vinyl, cassette and as MP3s. The album came out last year (“unofficially,” apparently) as a free download from locally based The Recording Label. The June release will feature a different track order and additional songs. Sacred Spirits have also added a new member, guitarist/keyboardist Taylor Burns. (www.sacredspiritsband.blogspot.com)
• Stanley’s Pub in the Columbia-Tusculum area is adding a Wednesday night residency for 2012 (replacing Reggae band Super-Massive, which held the night down all last year). Playing every Wednesday in January is Terminal Union, the Roots/AltCountry band featuring Ian Mathieu and David Faul. (www.reverbnation.com/terminalunion)
This Is ‘Radius’
At last year’s MidPoint Music Festival, you may have noticed various cryptic murals, posters and superhero mannequins scattered around the fest route. Those were actually clues that were part of a scavenger hunt of sorts, leading to tasks like taking photos and rewards like free music downloads by local bands. The hunt was part of a project that will result in a “crowd-sourced” film called Radius, with assistance from RippleFX Films, Possible Worldwide, Lightborne and Sonic Arts. Local prog promo group The All Night Party is in charge of putting together a soundtrack that, like the film, will reflect the spirit — and sound — of Cincinnati.
Songs by six local bands — The Sundresses, The Seedy Seeds, Zachary Burns Band, Fists of Love, The Chocolate Horse and The Lions Rampant — were selected to provide music for different animated film sequences. But, in keeping with the “crowd-sourcing” concept, you can still be involved. The All Night Party has put out a call for remixes of the six tracks, providing individual instrument tracks (or stems) for the songs, as well as storyboard mock-ups of the scenes. (The Lions Rampant track is an unreleased instrumental without individual tracks with which to play.) If your remix (which can be uploaded to the project site upon completion) is used in the film, you’ll earn $50 for your trouble. To grab your stems and get started, visit www.whatisradius.com.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: firstname.lastname@example.org