To bring their debut CD release, Evolution Of A Soul, to completion and fruition, The Deacons employed elements of each of these styles of music. The collective charm of the individual musicians’ personal and musical experiences came together in perfect balance to create this music. The sound is fresh but familiar, new but relaxed and comfortable.
The music of The Deacons begins it’s journey with the funky punch and rhythms of a sophisticated bass. The path the music takes is then well-illuminated by golden riffs of inspired guitar. Smooth jazz boards join together with rock solid and articulate drums and percussion to complete a rhythm section ready to roll.
These pieces then dance together to escort the sweet and thoughtful vocals that narrate the stsories needing to be told. Hip and polished horns add sparkle and sheen to the music that is then missing only one key component, YOU!
The Deacons’ spiderman spins a web of soulful music
By Charles Cassady
Published Feb. 22, 2006
Comic books and big-budget movies have brought us the story of the former school kid bitten a spider who becomes the amazing Spider-Man.
Akronite Jim Yarnell’s story is superficially similar. Bitten by a spider, this former school athletics coach turned into an incredible soul man. It happened five years ago.
“I was bitten by a brown recluse spider, and they looked at my arm [at the hospital]. They said I didn’t look too good...My white count was like 40. They said I shouldn’t even be walking around. I should be either in a coma or dead,” he said.
The spider venom turned out to be incidental; the doctors had discovered that Yarnell was already stricken with leukemia.
After extensive treatments to save his arm and his life, Yarnell was able to leave the hospital, and resume a sideline of drumming for such local musical groups as Blue Lunch and Robert Lockwood Jr.’s band. But his brush with mortality made him have an epiphany.
“I believe God does things for a reason,” he said. “It brings everything into perspective when your life is in danger,” Yarnell said.
So he made a few phone calls two and a half years ago to some musician friends and realized a longstanding dream - founding his own soul-music ensemble, The Deacons.
As The Deacons, Yarnell and his band mates evangelize for the Gospel of Stax Records. Everyone’s heard of the Motown sound out of Detroit. But no less vital in music history is the legacy of Memphis-based Stax, and their stable of stars that included: Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, Al Green, Wilson Pickett, Albert King, Sam & Dave and others. The Deacons, with a seven and occasionally eight-man lineup, play around Summit, Cuyahoga and Lorain Counties.
Not many other area bands make soul a specialty, and Yarnell’s philosophy is spelled out on the band’s Web site www.thedeacons.us.
“We, The Deacons, have been brought together by a higher power to teach and preach the word of Soul. We invite you to share with us in our celebration of this forgotten American art form,” he said.
Naturally, the group does a lot of fundraisers – especially for cancer and medical-related causes. This week the Deacons’ latest gig finds them at the Savannah Bar & Grille in Westlake, at 30676 Detroit Road on Saturday night at 9 p.m.
Another north-shore venue very close to The Deacons’ hearts is Tequila Blues at the Landings in Avon Lake. They were among the first bands to play there when Tequila Blues opened last fall, and The Deacons will be back in that pulpit for St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.
“We play pretty much anywhere,” Yarnell said. “We play with more energy than some of these younger guys.”
He admits to being 52 and cites the `kid’ of the group as being 48.
With decades of musicianship behind them, he said they bring audiences to their feet with great R&B dance numbers.
“And we play blues too. We mix it up and throw some serious blues in there,”
In addition, The Deacons have been spending early 2006 in the recording studio working on the group’s first CD and hope to release it sometime this summer, Yarnell said.
In the meantime, watch their website for further Deacons concert updates. And remember when you get into trouble in those other kinds of web sites, treat a brown-recluse bite with washing (cool water and soap), ice or a cold pack and an anti-inflammatory for pain relief. Consult your physician and avoid unnecessary motion that could circulate the poison – even if The Deacons are playing.
Jim Yarnell: Drums
Bill Moriarty: Keyboards
Willie J. Griggs: Lead Vocals
Derek "Doc" Johnson: Bass Guitar, Piccolo Bass
Charles "Buster" Franklin: Guitar
Evolution of A Soul (2007)