Though the quirky name hasn't changed, local soul outfit Ketchy Shuby's appearance Thursday at Bardot will be the debut of an almost entirely new lineup. "Me and the bass player [Matt Pyatt] are the only original members," Ketchy Shuby's outspoken singer/guitarist Jason Hernandez-Rodriguez says. The band has added a new drummer, guitarist, trumpeter, and sax player to its ranks. "The other guys were getting older, and the touring lifestyle isn't for everyone. To drive four hours to Orlando to open up for a national band when the money's not great takes ambition."
Hernandez-Rodriguez was floored when his longtime bandmates — with whom he'd started the group in 2008 — left, but after taking a month to regroup, he's finding the bright side to Ketchy Shuby's re-formation. "The other guys were big Phish fans. They'd take pride in being a band that if we felt a vibe, we'd take a ten-minute solo. It was a constant battle to get songs under four minutes."
With his new roster, Hernandez-Rodriguez says brevity isn't a problem: "It's now three- to four-minute heart-stopping soul music." Among the group's influences are the Bar-Kays, Otis Redding, and late-'70s Temptations. "We're into blaxploitation films. We love Ethiopian music and that Stax sound."
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But being a soul band in South Florida can make its members feel like outsiders. "There are no bands down here like us that can open for us," Hernandez-Rodriguez says. "We don't have a conga drum." Instead, Ketchy Shuby must look to other cities to find its soul colleagues, which the band has been lucky enough to do after years of touring. "Lee Fields & the Expressions out of Brooklyn have a 70-year-old singer they call Little JB 'cause he sings like a little James Brown," Hernandez-Rodriguez says. "The Monophonics are also phenomenal."
As he prepares for the band's upcoming show, Hernandez-Rodriguez is putting the finishing touches on the last Ketchy Shuby album with the old lineup. "It's called Women & Water. We had been recording it for a year and a half, but I'm going to keep taking my time on it. I want to make sure it's correct."
But aren't the new members itching to get into the studio and make some music of their own? "Oh, yeah, we might start recording after the Bardot show. We want to compile some
Ketchy Shuby with Generous D. 10 p.m. Thursday, August 6, at Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-576-5570; bardotmiami.com. Admission is free.