From The Gulf Coast To Narragansett Bay
I had the pleasure of speaking about The Suffers with Adam Castaneda, the bass player for the band, shortly after their first appearance – on the Fort Stage, no less – at the Newport Folk Festival. I saw their set and absolutely loved them!
When asked to describe their style, Adam said it is Gulf Coast soul. Explaining that Houston, Texas, where the band is based, has an extremely diverse music heritage, Adam said they draw from Louisiana, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Mississippi. Listening to their set, I heard soul, blues, Latin, zydeco, and even a bit of funk (although that may stem from having an excellent horn section) in their songs.
They have been together as a band for only four years and in the current configuration for three and a half years; Adam is the newest member. I became familiar with them only after their appearance on the much-missed David Letterman Show at the end of March of this year.
Around the time they received word they would be on the show last October, they took the plunge to become full-time musicians. Unable to speak about their upcoming appearance until a month before the air date, they quit day jobs and in some cases other bands (Adam told me he played in three other bands at that time) to concentrate on The Suffers.
Of course their careers are exploding and they deserve it. Bands that are fronted by an extremely strong female singer are quite popular now – think Alabama Shakes and Lake Street Dive. Kam Franklin does that for The Suffers. Adam and I discussed the natural comparison of Kam to Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. While the music is completely different, both women have powerful voices that compel you to listen.
The band has toured relentlessly since February; they have had only a week here and a week there to spend at home in Houston, but they are happily riding the crest of the wave. They were beyond thrilled when asked to play at the Festival, knowing this can be the catalyst that propels a band into the mainstream.
I cannot accurately judge the size of a crowd, but I would not be surprised if 3,000 people heard their set that morning. Hopefully all of them are spreading the gospel of The Suffers so they can continue to tour and thrill audiences. They deserve a broad audience and I believe they will find it.
More photos will be found in my review on this website which will be published later in the week.
Thanks to Adam for taking the time to speak with me at the Festival. I look forward to seeing you in Boston in the hopefully near future!
Posted on July 28, 2015, in interview, music, Uncategorized and tagged Adam Castaneda, Gulf Coast soul music, Houston music, interview, Kam Franklin, Newport Folk Festival, The Suffers. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.