Soulgrass Rebellion is about a family of friends making music, making people dance, and making people feel good. Their high-energy blend of reggae, bluegrass, and rock n’ roll explodes with the history of the Appalachian Mountains and the spirit of the Caribbean Islands. It’s boogie music. And when you come to the show, it’s a boogie party.
Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Soulgrass Rebellion has toured both coasts and the Caribbean. Since their formation in the summer of 2009, the band has shared the stage with Galactic, the Victor Wooten Band, Larry Keel, Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones), Jeff Sipe (Keller Williams, Aquarium Rescue Unit), Bobby Lee Rodgers (the Codetalkers), Kofi Burbridge (Derek Trucks Band), Dubconscious, and more.
Soulgrass Rebellion is fronted by soulful singer/songwriter/guitarist Oso Rey, who moved to Asheville in 2006 from southern California where his bands played with giants like Sublime, Leftover Salmon, and No Doubt. The all-star group includes heavy-hitters who have played with many of the East Coast’s top bands—Silas Durocher (Laura Reed and Deep Pocket, David Earl and the Plowshares, Silas Durocher and Everybody Knows) on electric guitar, Chris Pyle (Royal Trux, Scrappy Hamilton, Woody Wood and Hollywood Red) on drum set, and Jesse Gentry (Doctor Jones, the Don Dadas, Turbidity) on bass. In the words of WNCW dj Laura Blackley, “With soulful songcraft and superb musicianship, Soulgrass isn’t just an up-and-coming band—they’re a supergroup.”
Soulgrass Rebellion is quickly building fans with their positive, blowout shows. They'll be coming to a venue near you soon to recruit you to the rebellion.
Oso Rey: Vocals, Guitar
Silas Durocher: Guitar, Vocals
Chris Pyle: Drum Set, Vocals
Jesse Gentry: Bass, Vocals
Soulgrass Rebellion EP
From the islands to the mountains
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From the islands to the mountains Soulgrass Rebellion warms up the Grey Eagle by Dane Smith in V...From the islands to the mountains
Soulgrass Rebellion warms up the Grey Eagle
by Dane Smith in Vol. 16 / Iss. 35 on 03/24/2010
Last month, local reggae, folk and soul fusion outfit Soulgrass Rebellion performed a nine-day run in the Virgin Islands, and they had a really, really good time."I was crying in my truck when we got back," jokes singer/guitarist Oso Rey. "It was freezing cold and raining."
"Now, when our booking agents ask us where we want to play, we say 'beach, beach, beach and then also book us at the beach,'" adds guitarist Silas Durocher with a half-serious grin.
And while they won't deny that hanging around the beach and playing music is not exactly working, it was more than just an excuse to vacation in the tropics. Nine consecutive shows for the same crowd in the same place is a recipe for getting stale, and the musicians knew they would have to stretch the limits of their chemistry and potential as performers to keep audiences coming back. And, somewhat to their own surprise, they did.
"There were at least three nights where we purposely didn't do a set list just to see what we could do, where we could go and how we could get ourselves out of situations," says Rey. "We took chances we'd never take before we were put in a position to have to wing it for nine days straight."
"There was one night in particular where we definitely had our biggest mistakes ever and probably the highest moments I've ever had in music," Durocher says. "Moments where I had no idea my hands could do that, where I had no idea the band could do that, like, 'What the hell are we even playing?'"
But what solidified just how well they had pulled it off, he says, was a compliment from some friends who had been there for all nine shows. "At the end of it they said, 'We never saw the same show twice.' And it's just so fun to have been through all that and then be able to bring it back to the shows here."
This weekend Soulgrass Rebellion will share the island sprit with the rest of us, taking the stage of the Grey Eagle for what promises to be a night of unadulterated feel-goodery and dancing. For them, a gig is more than just showing up to play, it's an event.
"It has to be special," says Rey matter-of-factly.
"We really construct a show," says Durocher. "We don't just write a set list before the gig. We've got big ideas with the guest musicians and the opening bands and the publicity and everything else. It's all one big creative project for us."
This time around, guests are slated to include percussionist Jonathan Scales, along with openers Bobby Lee Rodgers and local folk favorites Now You See Them. Luckily, notes Durocher, the Grey Eagle has a big stage.
"I'm sure we'll have everybody jump up and sit in with us," he says. "We love having people up. Our last night in St.Thomas we had all our friends that we met playing down there up on stage for a huge thing. There was a solid 20 people or so onstage."
Whoever ends up onstage and wherever that takes the music, Soulgrass is ready to adapt. The band has back from the Virgin Islands with more confidence than ever, eager to bring that energy to their hometown crowd. (That crowd, too, has so far been so eager for Soulgrass that the band has sold out every show it's played.)
It's just so fun to have been through all that and then be able to bring it back to the shows here," Durocher says. "We changed a lot down there, and we grew a lot. So I feel like there's a fairly big difference between our Emerald Lounge show, which was before the trip, and our Grey Eagle show, now after the trip ... in a really good way."
"It was a week-and-a-half of happy accidents," Rey adds of the trip. "Normally that only happens occasionally."
[Dane Smith can be reached at email@example.com.]
Light up your life with Soulgrass
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In a town like Asheville, often saturated with “differentness,” it can be rare to find something tru...In a town like Asheville, often saturated with “differentness,” it can be rare to find something truly unique. Soulgrass Rebellion, however, has beaten the odds by presenting a musical style that not only makes the cut for originality but by selling out shows as if it's the oldest band in town.
The band's ultimate goal is, according to guitarist Silas Durocher, “to just have a big party where everyone has fun, boogies all night and walks away thinking, ‘Damn, I live in a cool place!'” To this end, Soulgrass Rebellion fuses elements of everything from funk to two-step, uniting bluegrass and reggae as its foundation.
As frontman Oso Rey has described it, “It's where the two-step and the one-drop meet: root, reggae and soul. Soulgrass Rebellion is more than a band — it's a movement.”
Durocher adds, “We want to eliminate that division between band and audience and just let loose.”
Soulgrass Rebellion is one of Asheville's youngest bands, composed of some of the area's biggest musical heavy-hitters. The lineup includes singer/songwriter/guitarist Rey, who has played with the likes of No Doubt, Sublime and Leftover Salmon, along with Durocher (Laura Reed and Deep Pocket, David Earl and the Plowshares, Silas Durocher and Everybody Knows) on electric guitar, Brian Jones (the Afromotive, Ian Thomas) on drum set and Justin Powell (the Indigo Girls, the Donna Hopkins Band, and Geoff Achison) on upright bass.
The quartet, homegrown from jam sessions at Bobo Gallery in downtown Asheville, has packed every venue they've played in town since their first performance together just last May.
“It worked to our advantage that all the musicians are fairly established in the area. We had a booking agent before we even played our first show, and it was just a matter of pulling all our resources,” Durocher said of the band's fledgling success. “Now we're just putting all our energy into keeping up the momentum and not taking anything for granted.”
The band has toured the Southeast, but Durocher is especially excited to return for the upcoming Emerald Lounge performance.
“We're going to have a lot of new material for this show,” including a horn section supplied by Justin Ray and Jacob Rodriguez of the Michael Bublé band, Durocher said. “I guarantee it will be the event to be at in Asheville that night.”
Casey Blake writes about entertainment for take5. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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What exactly is ‘soulgrassrebellion?’ Oso Rey, songwriter/acoustic guitar slinger and front-man for ...What exactly is ‘soulgrassrebellion?’ Oso Rey, songwriter/acoustic guitar slinger and front-man for the hot new group defines it as not just a band name, but an attitude and a lifestyle as well. take5 spoke with Rey in preparation for the band’s debut show at Mo’ Daddy’s on Saturday night.
Question: What does ‘soulgrassrebellion’ mean to you?
Answer: It’s still in the process of being defined. I mean, I know what ‘soulgrassrebellion’ means to me, but I’m definitely waiting to see how the band is going to take these songs and run with them. (But ultimately) I think of soul as in inspired by soul singers, grass like the two-step thing, and rebellion is a nod to the conscious lyrics found in reggae.
Q: So it’s a stylistic thing?
A: I would say that we’re touching on a lot of styles, but not sitting on any one of them.
Q: How is it, being a bandleader after doing the solo thing for awhile?
A: It’s a new role being a bandleader. When I throw songs out there, I don’t always know how they’re gonna fall. But I really haven’t had to suggest too much with these guys. That’s why I’m glad I waited to put together the right group of musicians. In the few practices we’ve had, they’ve all come up with great ideas, I feel like they’re finding their space in the music.
Q: What are your plans for the long haul?
A: I’m hoping to fill up their schedules with a bunch of dates. There’s nothing tour-related set in stone, yet, but maybe a few short runs this summer. I’d like to find a booking agent; I think the live show is going to get us some attention. I’d like to start tracking some songs at my house in the barn, just for our own sake to send to people. But mainly, we’re just looking to have a blast. Everything has come so easily in practice. Nothing’s been work; it’s just been a bunch of fun. That’s what we want to convey to the crowds, too.
Laura Blackley writes about music for Take5. Laurablackleyband@yahoo.com
New and Noteworthy: Soulgrass Rebellion
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Soulgrass Rebellion—a befitting moniker for the new Asheville-based band whose sound might best be c...Soulgrass Rebellion—a befitting moniker for the new Asheville-based band whose sound might best be categorized as an eclectic amalgamation of acoustic and folk with shades of bluegrass and a dash of funk. The group’s front man, songwriter/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist, Oso Rey, best describes the band’s music. “It’s where the two-step and the one drop meet: roots…reggae…and soul.” He defines Soulgrass Rebellion as, “…more than a band—it’s a movement—and we want our audience to have a stake in both.”
Soulgrass Rebellion started coming together long before anyone realized what was developing. About a year ago guitarist Silas Durocher began playing with Oso Rey at the Lexington Living Room songwriter series at BoBo Gallery in downtown Asheville. The two musicians became familiar with one another’s style and found they perfectly complemented one another. “We don’t play over each other… there’s a space where our collective sound meets and parts again,” explains Oso.
In late 2008, Brian Jones jumped in on drums and found his place beside Oso and Silas. Brian brought Justin Powell, a session bass player from Atlanta. The music emanating from the jam sessions at Bobo Gallery continued to evolve. By February 2009, the new group, Soulgrass Rebellion, had gelled and began preparing to officially arrive on the scene.
The band recently debuted at MoDaddy’s in Asheville, NC. Half of the crowd appeared to be fans of one or more of the multi-talented musicians; the other half clearly had no idea what to expect when they happened upon the lively hot spot that fateful night. The packed house burgeoned to the point of maximum capacity, per a double-checked head count. The audience sensed that they were experiencing something happening. The opening song set the place ablaze as the crowd spontaneously erupted into a boisterous chorus of call-and-response. If the goal was to embrace the diverse audience and incorporate each and every person in the room in the melodious experience, then Soulgrass Rebellion’s maiden voyage was an indubitable success.
How is it possible that Soulgrass Rebellion sounds as though they have been performing together for years? What’s in the secret sauce?
“Chemistry—and a little practice,” says Oso. “These are the musicians I’ve been waiting for. Each member defines himself, their part and the band as a whole.”
The respect the band members exhibit toward one another and their fans is evident. “People react to love, sincerity and truth…we’re not trying to be anything other than ourselves,” explains Oso. The band members share the spotlight—literally—and clearly seem to play with rather than for the audience. “I would rather be part of something than be something,” says Oso.
When asked where and with whom he would most love Soulgrass Rebellion to play, Oso paused, but only for a moment.”
“The Black Crowes, Midnite, and Paul Simon… preferably in a cool ballroom or dance hall in Europe with a great feel, rich architecture—and definitely no seats!”
Oso Rey (guitarist/lyrics/vocals)- Oso has introduced his style of music everywhere, from the east coast to the west coast to the Caribbean. Performed with No Doubt, Sublime, and Leftover Salmon; founder of Soulgrass Rebellion.
Silas Durocher (guitar/vocals)- Commissioned to compose an orchestral piece for the Sarasota Orchestra. Performs with Laura Reed and Deep Pocket and Silas Durocher and Everybody Knows.
Justin Powell (upright bass/vocals)- Performed with Geoff Achison, Donna Hopkins Band, Stop Drop and Roll, and the Indigo Girls. Currently tours with the Fly Brothers.
Brian Jones (drums/vocals)- Studied percussion performance, music production, and engineering at Berklee College of Music. Performed with Supple and members of The Animals. Currently tours with Afromotive.
By Sam Ganly
Radio Host, Ashley Davis Quote
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“Soulgrass Rebellion brings a feel good boogie party, incorporating reggae, a bit of bluegrass, and ...“Soulgrass Rebellion brings a feel good boogie party, incorporating reggae, a bit of bluegrass, and the funk to support the raspy sweet vocals from Oso Rey. The dynamic is unstoppable and you can't help but dance."
- Ashley “Bad Ash” Davis, 105.9 The Mountain & 98.1 The River
WNCW Radio Host, Laura Blackley quote
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"With soulful songcraft and superb musicianship, Soulgrass isn't just an up-and-coming Asheville..."With soulful songcraft and superb
musicianship, Soulgrass isn't just an
up-and-coming Asheville band- they're
- Laura Blackley, WNCW 88.7
Smart Bets- Soulgrass Rebellion
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This brand-spankin' new band from local talent Oso Rey and Silas Durocher sold out Mo Daddy's at its...This brand-spankin' new band from local talent Oso Rey and Silas Durocher sold out Mo Daddy's at its debut show, and now brings that boogie and passion to the Rocket Club. Blending roots reggae, bluegrass and soul, the boys get the crowd to get down.
Soulgrass Rebellion plays original music with the occassional cover thrown in. Below is a sample set-list:
I Was Missing
Lightening and Thunder
The Harder Times
Heaven is on the Land
You Owe it to Yourself
Soul Shakedown Party
258 Circle Drive
258 Circle Drive
People of the Water
Be My Tree
3 Miles Away
There are no upcoming dates at this time.