The Southern Belles play a Frank Zappa-esque amalgamation of country, jazz, rock and funk. With an emphasis on song craft and technical proficiency, the instantly ingratiating manner by which this Richmond quartet presents its genre-bending concoctions is embedded with a vitality and vigor that Beethoven would have surely approved.
And if the two teaser tracks the group has released (the good-natured, vintage country jollity of "Shotgun" and the funky jazz rock of "Cadillac Desert") on its Bandcamp site (http://thesouthernbelles.bandcamp.com) are any indication of what the rest of its debut, "Sharp as a Knife," has in store, The Southern Belles should be headed for the big time.
By Chris Bopst, Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist and former member of GWAR
Starring Adrian Ciucci on the electric guitars - the driving compositional force behind his band mates, as well as a refreshingly unique interpreter of a tasteful blend of styles, and solos reminiscent of pure genius.
Starring Raphael Katchinoff on the acoustic drum set - the literal driving force behind his band mates; his second sense in combining dynamics, counter-rhythms, versatility in style, and just good, old-fashioned feeling allow The Southern Belles to continue to push their sound to the next limit.
Also starring Zachary Hudgins on the electric and acoustic basses - a quintessential example of why funk and bluegrass can fall in love at first sight; don't be surprised if you become mesmerized by his originality and grace whether he's locked in to the groove or perfectly executing a run up and down his fret board.
Last but not least is Tommy Booker - a fiery Wizard of the Keyboards who fills all the musical nooks and crannies to create a thick wall of sound that the Belles are known for.
The Southern Belles create a perfect union of originals and covers, vocal-driven tunes and instrumental jamming, restraint and freedom, fun and professionalism. Their ability to instinctively communicate with one another was apparent right from the start, but as they've continued to play together this cultured ability has grown exponentially.
So do yourself a favor and don't miss out on this interactive musical experience for people of all ages, shapes and sizes - go see The Southern Belles the next time they're in a city nearby.... or far.