March 12, 2015

Greg Hester and Friends: Soul Brother Where Art Thou? A Tribute to James Brown

The release of Soul Brother Where Art Thou? A Tribute to James Brown is a dream come true for Augusta GA based singer Greg Hester, who kept the project afloat for seven years. His to do list was short, but proved to be extremely time consuming:

  1. Get as many players as possible from Mr. Brown’s last touring band;
  2. Get ace singers to join him handling the vocals;
  3. Money to fund it all.

Conflicting time schedules, endless paperwork hassles with managers and record companies ensued. Music took a back seat, but it was worth it. He got his super tight band and impressive roster of vocalists.

It's quite a challenge to follow the footsteps of the Godfather of Soul, whose legendary energy, good ear and impeccable timing resulted in a string of classic singles that influenced thousands of musicians. Sticking close to the original arrangements was the way to go - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Soul Power is sexy like it's supposed to be thanks to Caroline Aiken, Open Up The Door thrives thanks to the NOLA Vibe of Ivan Neville and Jimmy Hall tackles I’ll Go Crazy with defiance.

Soul Brother Where Art Thou? is the work of a true fan. No wonder he used a photo of himself with James Brown into the cover art. Never mind the red eyes - it's one of his most prized possessions. And he comes full circle getting it right on an album filled with the music of his hero so many years after this picture was taken.

Greg Hester and Friends:
Keith Jenkins: Guitar
Fred Wesley: Trombone
Hollie Farris: Trumpet
Waldo Weathers: Saxophone
Jeff Watkins: Saxophone
Fred Thomas: Bass
Ron Laster: Guitar
Erik Hargrove: Drums
Robert ‘Mousey’ Thompson: Drums
George ’Spike’ Nealy: Percussion
Danny Ray: Rap & Backing Vocals
Amy Christian: Backing Vocals
Kelly Jarrell Gordon: Backing Vocals
John Popper: Harmonica (6,10)
Shannon Pengelly: Piano (1), Backing Vocals (7)
Ivan Neville: Hammond B3, Wurlitzer Electric Piano (4,8)
Dean Swannigan: Drums (1)

Soul Brother Where Art Thou? A Tribute to James Brown is released thru Ropeadope. Buy it from their website. Release date: March 17th.

  1. Try Me feat. Jimmy Hall
  2. Think feat. Shana Morrison
  3. There Was A Time feat. Col. Bruce Hampton
  4. It’s A Man’s World feat. Raul Malo
  5. Soul Power feat. Caroline Aiken
  6. Get Up Offa That Thing feat. John Popper
  7. Lickin Stick feat. Kevn Kinney
  8. Open Up The Door feat. Ivan Neville
  9. I Don’t Mind feat. Chris Unck
  10. I’ll Go Crazy feat. Jimmy Hall


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