Gravy celebrates the release of Get Busy Living at Gasa Gasa tonight, 12/9

New Orleans band Gravy will be throwing down uptown at Gasa Gasa tonight while celebrating the release of their latest recording. Produced by Ben Ellman and Robert Mercurio of Galactic, Get Busy Living is the strongest effort to date from a band that preaches the gospel of New Orleans funk.

The group, which came together as a band of experienced and working musicians hailing from different parts of the country, is the latest descendent in a long line of bands influenced by the original stream of New Orleans funk going back to the 1960s. According to Mercurio, Gravy, “created their own very original sound with…a bit of neo soul mixed with some indie rock smothered in a whole bunch of New Orleans funk.”

I concur. The lead cut, “Uptown Getdown” percolates with a classic funk groove and tells a Carnival tale familiar to any young reveler in the Crescent City, …”though I haven’t seen the sun in days, I know it’s still shining.”

Clearly steeped in the good time vibe of New Orleans, the songs on Get Busy Living aren’t all late nights and sleepless sunrises. The album title comes from a line in the last song on the album. “Fifty Cent Ways” hints at the reckless lifestyle that often comes with living in the carefree city. “You better get busy living or get busy dying,” is the refrain that accompanies the tale of a protagonist who “uses ten dollar words to hide her fifty cent ways.”

The production bears the distinct imprint of Ellman, who has built a cottage industry as a producer for bands as varied at Trombone Shorty and Orleans Ave and the Revivalists, and Mercurio. The beats are crisp, with wide-open spaces creating the elusive “missing notes” that define New Orleans funk. The guitar soars and the organ bubbles beneath the mix. The vocals are clear and soulful except when they are busy creating a more modern indie sound familiar to millennial fans.

I have seen Gravy several times over the past few years and watched the band develop their sound. These new songs have been road tested and represent another step in their growth as the newest members of the noveau funk generation inaugurated by Galactic back in the day.

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