Tuesday, July 2, 2013

“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” Gets a New Orleans Makeover by The Soul Rebels

The Soul Rebels add some New Orleans flavor to Eurythmics’ 1983 smash “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” The band does a superb job with their urgent, brass-driven overhaul of the synth-pop classic and make it their own—which is no mean feat with such an iconic, highly recognized song. It’s just an amazing cover, with the band infusing new life and energy into the track.   

The Soul Rebels are a brass ensemble that incorporates elements of funk, rock, hip hop, jazz and pop music with a traditional New Orleans brass band sound. The band was formed in 1991 by bass drummer Derrick Moss and Lumar DeBlanc (snare drums). The two musicians met while members of Harold Dejan’s Olympia Brass Band.  They shared a mutual desire to play contemporary music that they heard on the radio but within the framework of the traditional New Orleans brass sound that they had grown up on.  With this aim in mind, they formed the Soul Rebels, which consisted of eight highly talented players. In addition to DeBlanc and Moss, the other members of the ensemble are Julian Gosin (trumpet), Corey Peyton (trombone), Erion Williams (saxophone), Paul Robertson (trombone), Edward Lee, Jr. (sousaphone) and Marcus Hubbard (trumpet).
The Soul Rebels first made a name for themselves as the house band for New Orleans bar Le Bon Temps Roule, where they played every Thursday night. The band still plays there when they’re not on tour. The New Orleans octet now have a dedicated international following. They have toured extensively across the U.S. as well as Europe, Canada, South Africa and Brazil. Also, the band has played at a number of well-known festivals and prestigious venues worldwide, including The Fillmore, Hollywood Bowl, Playboy Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, the Highline Ballroom, and the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) Festival.
The band is known for their rousing live performances in which they create a festive and funky party-like atmosphere.
And the band has played with a plethora of celebrated artists and bands from a wide cross section of musical genres. Some of the notable musical acts that the band has shared the stage with include Counting Crows, Snoop Dogg, Suzanne Vega, Allen Toussaint, the Gap Band, Seal, George Clinton, Better than Ezra, Marco Benevento, Metallica, Kanye West, Green Day, Robert Plant & Jimmy Page, Arcade Fire, Maceo Parker and the Neville Brothers. It was Neville Brother, Cyril Neville, who dubbed the band the Soul Rebels. When the two acts performed together in ’93, Cyril said, “Hey, you're a brass band, but y'all got funk and soul. Y'all are like soul rebels." The name stuck and the band has been calling themselves the Soul Rebels ever since.
The band has been getting a lot of television exposure of late. In 2010, they appeared on the HBO series Treme where they performed Grayson Capps' song "Drink a Little Poison (4 U Die)" for the finale episode of season one. They were also the official house band for the Annual NFL Honors Awards show, which aired on CBS prime time on February 22, 2013 and was hosted by Alec Baldwin.  And in December of 2011, the octet performed “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” on Later... with Jools Holland, a British late-night music television show. Metallica and Lou Reed appeared on the same episode. The members of Metallica were so impressed with the Soul Rebels that they invited them to open and share the stage with them for all four of their 30th anniversary-week concerts at The Fillmore in San Francisco. And last year, the Soul Rebels appeared and performed on the Conan show on TBS
The Soul Rebels released several albums on various independent labels before signing with Rounder Records (Concord) in 2011. Under the Rounder label, the band released their first nationally distributed album, Unlock Your Mind, on January 31, 2012. The album was produced by Scott Billington, who’s a Grammy-winning producer, songwriter and blues musician. The band’s cover of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” is included on the album. Their cover of Stevie Wonder’s epic classic “Living for the City” is also on the album.
The Soul Rebels have garnered a lot of critical acclaim for their music and performances over the years. They won the New Orleans’ Big Easy award in 2010, 2008 and in 1999, as well as nominations in 2012, 2011 and in 2009. And they have been nominated for Best Of The Beat: Off Beat Awards in 2011, 2010, 2009 and in 2008. They were also nominated for four 2012 Best Of The Beat Awards: Best Artist Of The Year, Best Album Of The Year, Best Brass Band Of The Year and Best Brass Band Album Of The Year. They won Best Brass Band Album Of The Year for Unlock Your Mind.
The band is set to embark on a European tour, which will kick off tomorrow at La Défense Festival in Paris, France. The tour will also include stops in London and Copenhagen, Denmark.

Download Sweet Dreams at Amazon

Related blog entry: Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This): New Wave Soul