2018 so far has been a vintage year for proper soul music. A genre that many have written off , has found a new lease of life, energy, passion and, yes, soul via albums from new (ish) artists like Rai, The Suffers, Jon Allen, K.Avett, the Devonns, Spur of the Moment and Mamas Gun while veterans Tower Of Power keep doing it the right way! Now to add to all that excellent new soul, we hugely recommend the long player that is ‘We Are The Nightowls’ from Texan band, THE NIGHTOWLS.
The 10 piece band were formed back in 2011 by lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Harkrider and they debuted in 2014 with the album ‘Good As Gold’. The following year the Nightowls decamped to Muscle Shoals to record their second LP at the famed FAME Studios. With input from people like David Hood and Spooner Oldham, it continued the musical strategy of the first album – a music rooted in solid, old school soul traditions but prepared to move in new directions.
Between sell out shows, the band continued to record (there was an EP cut at Royal in Memphis) and now they are mighty busy promoting their latest album – the aforementioned ‘We Are The Nightowls’ from which the first single ‘Lift Me Up’ was a perfect summation of the Nightowls sound – tough, blues-based funk with a rocky yet soulful undertow. There’s plenty more of the same on the album – try ‘Laybackwitit’ or the self-explanatory ‘Get Funked Up’.
There is, though, much more to the Nightowls. ‘All The Good Things That You Are’ and ‘Don’t It Feel Weird’ are gorgeous soul grooves while the album boasts two quite beautiful ballads – ‘Together Alone’ and the seven minute ensemble piece that is ‘Nice And Slow’ which allows the three vocalists (Sara Stein, Kamilla Lamar and Harkrider) to really shine. This cut also features beautiful, gentle piano from Vince Wiley… an input that a certain Van Morrison would relish. The set’s quirkiest cut is a lovely ‘selfiequeen’ – an old school take on a new school phenomenon. And you know, that’s a good summation of where the Nightowls are coming from – truly old school meets the new! Hugely recommended!