“Southern Circus” CD Review by Alamantra
Originally Published 02.2012
With fourteen tracks, this CD is nothing less than a good ol’ fashioned Southern feast of sound that spans from New Orleans blues, funk, jazz, psychedelic rock, a little hip hop and a dash of voodoo. These tracks feature the vocals of Milyn Satterfield, who has a voice eerily reminiscent of singers like Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith. She has said her vocal style is something she inherited from her Grandmother, who was a gifted professional singer from “the good ol’ days.” Though, by no means, lacking in modern influences, I like that there is a sense of nostalgia and preservation that runs throughout the recording. It has an organic type of authenticity that I find appealing.
Even though the CD is self-made and self-produced it certainly doesn’t come away as lacking in its recording quality, musicianship or sense of craft. It was recorded and mastered in Birmingham by Emanual Ellinas of Sonic Sitori. Emanual certainly understands sound and processing, having created a line of pedals used by folks like Thurston Moore and Lee Renaldo of Sonic Youth, as well as John Cummings of Mogwai. The musicianship is no less impressive and features some of Birmingham’s favorites: Raymond ‘Ol Tyma’ Hill (Headbaub Entertainment) spittin’ some chill raps, Carlos Pino (Smokin’ Newports, Ona Watson, Sharriff Simmons) on guitar; Matt Slocum (Susan Tedeschi, Jimmy Herring and Oteil Burbridge) tickling the ivories; the horn work of Chad Fisher (Gregg Allman, Jason Isbell), Gary Wheat (Meteorite, The Temptations) & Rob Allen; and vocals from Kenneth (K.d.) Robinson (George Clinton, Smokey Robinson, Jive Mob, Alamantra). The rhythm section is as solid as it gets with Ricky Little and Alex Troughton holding down the bass and drums, respectively. These two have developed their tight rhythmic chemistry since the days of “Jive Mob;” a band that quickly captured ears throughout the South East in the late 1990s.
Overall, this is a damned fine, down-home brew of music that belongs in the collection of anyone who treasures a fresh mix of innovation and preservation. …An excellent piece of work!