Soul City
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Soul City

Chelmsford, MA | Established. Jan 01, 1988

Chelmsford, MA
Established on Jan, 1988
Band R&B Soul



The best kept secret in music


"Soul City’s classic tunes from a ten-piece band"

Thousands of people all over New England, who probably haven’t been in a nightclub or concert hall in years, have heard and grooved to Soul City. That’s because the ten-piece Boston soul band plays a busy schedule of all kinds of gigs, of which clubs are just a small part. Soul City is playing Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge tonight. And they’ll be coming to Plymouth on July 2 to perform what has become an annual show as part of Plymouth’s ProjectArts, when they do a free concert at Waterfront Park. If Soul City won’t be found in the trendy downtown music clubs, or the suburban dance clubs, or even the urban jazz bistros, they stay plenty busy. The band’s reputation and the classic sounds they bring keep them working a variety of corporate shows, and many of those private events that make some original musicians blanch--weddings. But maintaining a ten-piece outfit of topnotch pros requires a certain financial commitment, and the truth is that weddings are a very lucrative corner of the music business. Pat “Trick” Wallace has been managing Soul City since its inception in the late 1980s. He started out playing guitar with them, stepped back into a purely managerial role for a few years, and then about four years ago when they needed a bassist, he returned to the stage. The current Soul City lineup includes vocalists Natalie Mariel and Terrell James, Jim Clark on trumpet, Tucker Antell on tenor sax, Ian Travers on trombone, Jason Travers on baritone sax, Corey Sanchez on guitar, Dan Snape on keyboards, Vancil Cooper on drums, and Wallace on bass. ‘We all teach music in some way or form,” said Wallace from his Boston home. “I think this lineup has four people from Berklee College of Music, two more from the New England Conservatory, and four more from various places. Our keyboard guy (Snape) was the musical director for the British version of the Blues Brothers touring band. The trombonist (Ian Travers) was in the British Army Jazz Band for 13 years. Our drummer was raised in the church, so he has a unique, gosepl stylke of drumming that really gives us a different feel.” “There must be about eight bands playing around Boston with the word ‘soul’ in their name,” Wallace pointed out. “What sets us apart is probably our songlist, and there are certainly songs that every band will do, but we do certain rhythmic things nobody else does. We are probably a little more mainstream, old school soul than many others, although not as predictably mainstream as some others. We will do all the requests we can, and then do a wide range of other stuff. Having the male and female singers gives us a real edge, and the four-piece horn section really sets us apart.” The obvious question is, why would such accomplished musicians devote their time to playing basically covers? Turns out, they just love soul music and have fun playing it. “The band chemistry we have is as good as I’ve ever seen,” said Wallace. “All ten of us throw ideas around and decide what songs we’re going to do. We’re also committed to playing with the full band. It’s not that we haven’t sometimes gone smaller in our earlier days, but we’re after the sound the whole band can give us, and don’t want to dilute it with just six pieces, for example.” “People stay in this band for a long time, because we have a lot of fun playing together,” Wallace noted. “Even when something opens up, a band member usually recommends someone who would like to join us. But this lineup is very secure--when people see us play, and want to hire us, they often ask if this will be the actual group that plays their gig, and the answer is yes. There are lots of bands where one or two key guys just go out and book horn players for a particular gig, and you get a different lineup every night, but that’s not our style. Our lineup stays together, which is one reason we sound so good, and I must say our horn section is incredible.” Mariel is one of the more recent Soul City additions, joining two years ago after the previous female singer moved to California after a six-year stint in the band. Most of the musicians also play in assorted other projects, many of them original bands. There has always been talk of Soul City recording some original soul tunes, especially given the recent resurgence of soul music with new artists like Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Vintage Trouble and others. “Do you know when she first came to America, Amy Winehouse hired the Dap-Kings as her backing band?” Wallace asked. “That band is terrific, and Sharon Jones is a force of nature. Yes we are always talking about original music of our own, but so many of us are already involved in original stuff, it never seems like a priority. We all agree we’d like to have an album of our own out there, but other things seem to divert us. For instance, I play with Robin Lane & the Chartbusters.” So how does Soul City get all those business gigs, or those wedding parties? Word of mouth is a huge selling point, but occasional club dates are also a prime factor. “This band is so big, we are kind of a high-end, expensive proposition,” Wallace admitted. “The guys would rather not play places where we’re going to be making peanuts. Ryles is not a huge place, but it works for us, and is the only club we play regularly--mainly because we always have a ball there. But it features jazz and blues, and so we fit right in, and it’s also a fine showcase for potential clients to come and hear us. We’d also love to have a regular room on the South Shore, and maybe one on the North Shore, but many would not consider it fiscally prudent--they wouldn’t be able to afford us.” In their off-season, winter through about May, Soul City performs about once a week. During their busy times of year, like peak wedding season, they might be playing three or four gigs a week. “Weddings used to be a real summer thing,” said Wallace, “but lately we’re not seeing nearly as many June weddings. More and more folks are pushing it back to the fall, and we see a lot of September-October weddings now.” So music purists can scoff at wedding gigs or corporate shows, or the whole idea of being a cover band playing classic tunes from soul’s yesteryear. Soul City is having fun, and making a decent living performing music they all love. Nobody is having second thoughts. “One time someone in the band suggested we might want to go back to doing the song ‘Y-M-C-A’ and some of us hated the idea,” Wallace noted. “We put it back in our setlist anyway. The next time we played it, with just the opening notes people in the crowd were reacting, and by the middle of it, they were climbing up on their chairs and singing and motioning out the letters and having the greatest time. You never see a crowd that animated at local rock clubs.” “We have a simple motto,” Wallace added. “People dance--we win.” - Enterprise News

"Meet Natalie Antell of Soul City Band"

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie Antell.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I joined Soul City about 5 years ago, but the band has been in existence since 1988. Our current manager, guitarist Trick Wallace, has been handling things since the mid-90’s. Unlike everyone else in the group, I am completely self-taught. This is a group of very talented and experienced individuals, mostly from Berklee and surrounding music schools. My start in the wedding industry was very organic. I was singing in a local big band show and the sound man handed me a business card and told me I should be doing something bigger- it was that simple. Obviously, with little experience, it was a huge chance to take on a singer, but I harassed Trick until he gave me the job. I like to think that’s what really got me the position- I just knew I had to be in this band and I wouldn’t take no for an answer. Luckily, it worked out for everyone!

Has it been a smooth road?
I think my lack of experience when I first started was, to put it mildly, very evident. I was scared to be on stage and there was so much to learn. But you won’t find a more accepting and supportive group than this band. I’m not the first one he did that for- Trick has a tendency to hire singers who are newer to the business, which I think is really unique, but also brilliant- he gives us a chance to grow into the kind of singers we want to be.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Soul City Band – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
What Soul City does is quite simple- we pack dance floors with classic and contemporary Soul music. We do plenty of weddings, but we also perform at a lot of charity events, municipal events, and private parties. One thing that sets us apart from other bands is our chemistry- we are 10 people that love to hang out every weekend with each other. It’s so evident when you watch us. There’s a lot of laughter and smiles and interest in what we do, and the fun is contagious.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
The thing I really appreciate about Boston is the large art scene which is fed by so much diversity. You can find something for everyone here. The thing I like least about Boston is that unfortunately, the music scene is beginning to shrink. There are a number area hot-spots that provided live music that have had to close in the past year or two, which is fascinating to me because we live in the music college capital of the world! There is so much talent here, and we’re running out of places to host it. - Boston Voyager


Still working on that hot first release.



Soul City is a New England-based, 11-piece band, that successfully captures the rich history of American Soul music, which originated in the United States in the early 50's and 60's.  Hugely influential during the Civil Rights Movement, and an important part of our nation's history, the music of Motown, Atlantic, and Stax records is timeless and a part of our American identity.  The band, comprised of 3 vocalists, 4 horns, and a driving rhythm section, covers artists such as Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, and James Brown, to name a few.  Soul City, which is now in its 31st year, has continually strived to pay homage to these great artists and compositions of that era, while also writing and producing much of their own R&B and Funk to carry the sound into the 21st century.  Performing a mix of covers and originals, Soul City can be found performing throughout New England as part of the Boston Mayor's concert series, as well as several other area concerts and festivals.  Soul City has one motto: You will dance. Resistance is futile.