A new music collective stemming from Portland, Oregon, has given rise to a revival. The collection was recorded while in quarantine during the global pandemic of COVID-19. The band just released this debut album in July 2021.
The collection of tunes is a self-released full album created by jazz trumpeter Farnell Newton, keyboardist Michael Elson, guitarist Gus Berry, and drummer Tyrone Hendrix. It brings us some of the smoothest soul music, guaranteed to bring you back.
The album features an array of guest vocalists, including Ural Thomas, LaRhonda Steele, Arietta Ward, Vursatyl & Saeeda Wright, Redray Frazier, and Ronnie Wright.
Marmoset Licensing Agency hosted the recording at their headquarters alongside Infinite Companion Records during the summer of 2020. The album was put together to bring artist friends together during a challenging time, demonstrating the power that music still instills across a creative community across Portland.
It is clear that the sounds that come from this album were inspired by some of the most prominent masters in soulful music, such as Otis Redding, Lee Fields, The Isley Brothers, and Sharon Jones.
These artists bring new life to the genre, with standout bass lines, feel-good drums, rhythmic guitar, and keyboards. They pull together the past sounds of the soul with the new sounds, bridging that gap to create a fresh, unique sound that will easily have you bobbing your head and ready to get your groove on.
Some of the breakthrough or “must-listen” songs that come from this album are as follows:
- “Lucky Me” featuring Arietta Ward – this easy, soulful groove gives you that feeling of the timeless soul music that you know from earlier times. Ward’s powerful voice tells a story about finding a special someone, complete with soulful guitar riffs in musical combo with horns and rhythm. It has an uplifting way about it, with powerful lyrics delivered in such a way there is no question that it is meant to fill you with soul.
- “Good Love” featuring Ronnie Wright – the instruments in this tune inspire feelings of nostalgia from those days of puppy love, early in a relationship when you can throw away your cares and just enjoy one another. The lyrics speak to this with Let it all go / Baby just flow / Nice and easy. It is nice and easy, indeed.
- “Take Me Away” featuring LaRhonda Steele – Another easy-feeling love song, this highlights the use of horns to give you a dream-like feel, and lyrics that start with Last night I had the dream again / Of a place that feels just like home – the sounds bring forward the longing to be taken away together.
- “Together” featuring Vursatyl & Saeeda Wright – This brings soul with a modern feel, with Vursatyl’s profound lyricism and pieces within the song addressing one of the most significant issues with the pandemic that everyone is facing. Lyrics about being taken back to when things were simpler, fun, we played together, and then ever so hope We can make it better.
These songs and the rest within the album are available for music licensing through Marmoset, with and without the vocals.
The Portland Music Scene
The songwriters, musicians, and vocalists who put together these songs give us some great insight into the music of Portland and how they keep soul music alive.
The members across this entire collection have been making music in the area for years. They drive a hard soul that sticks with you; original music to inspire the spirit of the 1960s.
Bringing people together with music is no new feat, but with the recent pandemic keeping musicians from performing live, it has become something that most have realized they have taken for granted. Never again from this point should we take for granted the feeling of getting together with people in the shared love for music and musicians.
Hopefully, soon enough, we will be enjoying the freedom to sing along and enjoy the benefits of relieving stress and anxiety and lifting our moods while evoking emotions inspiring creativity in all of us.
Introducing Bridge City Revival has demonstrated the power that music has to keep musicians creating music together, despite not being able to be together physically.
So, put on your dancing shoes when you listen to this album and be ready to be transported to a simpler time and be reminded of happier moments with loved ones together when a global pandemic wasn’t on everyone’s mind.
Article: Melissa Waltz