What a perfect night it was at Center Stage in Atlanta on March 21 with Southern Soul Assembly. This is a project for four contemporary blues and soul artists: Marc Broussard, JJ Grey, Luther Dickinson and Anders Osborne. And what a great assembly it is.
When I asked Anders Osborne in a recent interview what he felt each musician would bring to the group, he said “Lots of soul, love, great songs and fantastic energy!” And he was so right about that.
From the moment the four musicians hit the stage and sat down on their respective stools, there was instant love between them and the sold out audience. As Marc Broussard started things off with his first number, the crowd was instantly with him and during the whole night the entusiasm never wained, from the audience or the musicians. Each sang lead on their own songs and sometimes the others joined in to play a bridge or add an instrument or sing harmony and sometimes they didn’t. But they always applauded each other.
At one point Marc Broussard spoke about the first time he jammed with Anders Osborne in New Orleans. “The minute he started singing my jaw hit the floor. I was in awe then and I’m in awe now. ” At another point Luther Dickinson, who was seated at the left of the stage and thus sang after Anders Osborne and before Marc Broussard said, “I am just honored to be up here with these guys and I am especially honored not to follow Marc Broussard,” to which JJ Grey, who did follow Broussard, said, “I consider Marc Broussard to be the best singer I have ever heard period.”
None of them had anything to worry about. They are all so evenly matched as far as talent and their sounds are so complementary. And everything was so relaxed, with lots of conversation and fun between songs. At one point, for instance, when JJ Grey sang his song “Slow Hot and Sweaty” right after someone in the audience had called it out, he explained, “It’s easy for you to yell that out but try hearing it when you’re sitting in a van with your Daddy and Mama and your Grandma on the way to an outlet mall in Florida.” He said his Mama didn’t like it at all and his only defense was “It ain’t got no cuss words in it.”
They all had their tales to tell and their songs to sing and the positive energy was just overwhelming. I believe they enjoyed every minute of it and I know the audience did.
If you get a chance to see any one of these performers alone, you should go because they all put on great shows. You should also get their CDs for your personal collection. But if you have a chance to see them as Southern Soul Assembly while they are on tour, you should snatch those tickets fast. And don’t wait because they will probably sell out and you do not want to miss this experience!
Thanks to Luther Dickinson, Anders Osborne, JJ Grey, and Marc Broussard for such a sweet soulful experience!