Tweed Funk Serenades with “Love Is”
On May 11th, Wisconsin’s R&B/Soul artist of the year, Tweed Funk, released its sophomore album, “Love Is”. The release concert was held at Shank Hall, on the lower East Side.
Older folks sat at tables, docile and waiting for the show to start. I sat at the back bar, overlooking the dimly lit floor and stage. Beside me was a graying man, wearing a blue polo and corduroys who grinned and spoke with a beer soaked breath. When he wasn’t trying to take the bartender home, he’d pat me on the back or shake my hand. He was telling me that I’ve got to get down to Kenosha and check out this car dealership.
I thought I was spending a night with my friends’ parents. I was sure it was going to get a little awkward. But what’s better than being part of something weird? Being part of something funky.
I was becoming a citizen of the Tweed Funk Nation.
To see as many highly talented people in one band is rare. You know you’re witnessing something masterful when its delivery is made to seem so effortless. Which explains why Tweed Funk has only been a band for two years and has gained international radio play, booked renowned venues like the House of Blues, won a WAMI and released a second album like “Love Is”.
Tweed Funk’s “Love Is” is a luxurious ten-track ride. It ignites on its first track, “Fine Wine,” moving with swing rhythms, JD Optekar’s rocking guitar riffs and solos, horn and sax accompaniment, and keys.
Its subsequent tracks shift into the slower tempos of the blues. These tracks showcase Smokey’s vocals. Along with the band’s rhythm, Smokey’s voice is both powerful and smooth. It’s hard for the listener to follow these sounds and not close their eyes and sway their head.
This album is spacious, holding room for all of its members’ skills, like “Smooth Taste” and “All Over You,” which highlights the addictive percussion of Marcus Gibbons, and the walking, slapping, and sliding of bassist Donnie Mac.
“Love Is” ends with the track “Sex Machine,” drawing upon the sounds of James Brown for its vocals. It shows the luxury characteristic of timelessness, or classic quality that comes with sampling one of its genre’s gods while still pulling away with the band’s sound of its own.
With this being only its second album, Tweed Funk shows no signs of losing momentum. That’s why I urge you to visit their site, check out their new album, and hear why they’re at the top of their genre in Wisconsin. It’s the next best thing to seeing them live and becoming a member of the Tweed Funk Nation yourself.