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Capital City Soul: Numero Uno

Though it would take 30 years – an entire generation – before the legacy of Columbus soul was re-discovered and celebrated in 2003 with Numero Group’s survey of Bill Moss and Capsoul Records. In the decade since that release, the grooves laid on tape in Columbus during the late ’60s and throughout the ’70s, have [...]
Kevin J. Elliott

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Though it would take 30 years – an entire generation – before the legacy of Columbus soul was re-discovered and celebrated in 2003 with Numero Group’s survey of Bill Moss and Capsoul Records. In the decade since that release, the grooves laid on tape in Columbus during the late ’60s and throughout the ’70s, have become the gold standard for “eccentric” soul fans. Further excavations of Prix Records (the masters of which were found at an estate sale), Wee’s brilliant You Can Fly on My Aeroplane album, and now the nook and crannies of that scene found on Capitol City Soul proved our city held a much wider scope than that of Moss and his short-lived empire. Numero has made it their mission to tell as much of the Columbus story as they possibly can.

“Capsoul was its own vision,” said Rob Sevier, the soul archeologist, who along with his team of crate-diggers at the Chicago archival label Numero were responsible for the resurrection. “If anything stands out, it was quaint in comparison to what was happening in music at the time. Bill Moss’s heart was into mid-’60s Motown, into midwestern soul music. So what particularly stands out with this stuff is that he wasn’t changing with the times.”

With the first Capsoul re-issue, Sevier admitted that Numero was “pretty green” when it came to the practice of tracking down the artists and records, something that they’ve now made a fruitful business of doing. Capsoul was a learning experience, one that certainly helped in crafting future Eccentric Soul collections. These days artists like Kanye West are sampling the stuff, Ryan Gosling is putting it in his films, Blackberry is sound-tracking commercials with it, and given Numero’s cache, it’s become much easier to find what’s left. Forgotten classics are being salvaged from closets and studio vaults are scoured to find elusive pieces in the puzzle. This month will see Numero’s 51st release with Eccentric Soul: Capitol City Soul. It’s a compilation of odds and sods that provide that wider perspective of Columbus’ once-thriving soul scene. The set showcases other visionaries and smaller labels that were orbiting Moss and Capsoul at the time. Most prescient was Dean Francis, Capsoul’s in-house songwriter, who is showcased here in a solo capacity with his first roaring hit, “Funky Disposition,” and with his post-Capsoul output in Jupiter’s Release. Entire reels of Chandlers effusive doo-wop recordings were found just as they were left on the shelf at Musicol Recording, and unreleased cuts from Capsoul’s flagship groups, the Four Mints and Kool Blues, were unearthed among radio station air-checks. Relatively unknown sides from the Soul Partners and La’Fez get a proper debut here – all adding to the rich and labyrithine heritage of Columbus soul. “This time there were a lot more people in the fold. A big part of this new project is embellishing the Capsoul story, broadening it,” explained Sevier. “This is something that came about over the years. These records were in the middle of a large family tree of related material.” Through those years many of these local legends have passed, including Moss in 2005 and Francis in 2012, but their legend keeps growing. If anything, Capitol City Soul should serve as a testament that Moss’ initial dream sparked a vibrant and spartan sound in the streets and nightclubs of Columbus and the tenet of Numero that there’s so much more yet to dig.

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Local rocker Angela Perley shines on solo debut

Mike Thomas

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This article was originally published in the September 2019 issue of (614) Magazine.

Folk, alt-country, or indie rock—however you choose to categorize her sound, Angela Perley remains a pillar of the Columbus music community—and highly in-demand as a national touring act, to boot.

(614) caught up with Perley to discuss her new album, life on the road, and what it takes to make it as a musician in the Capital City.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

(614): YOUR NEW RELEASE, 4:30, IS YOUR FIRST AS A SOLO ACT. WHAT LED TO THIS CHANGE?

AP: Since 2009 until last year, I had the Howlin’ Moons. It’s always been myself, Chris Connor on lead guitar, and then we had bassist Billy Zehnal in the band up until last year. We’ve had a rotating extended family of drummers. Billy’s not in the band anymore, and we were also on Vital Companies, which is a studio/label in Columbus that did our previous albums.

https://open.spotify.com/album/04pKByd2ygDHXdvl1TcdWP?si=6njCmRpfR5GRWe5kLNghVw

So this one—it’s a solo one, it’s my first independent release. There’s no label involved, I own the masters to the songs. It’s hard to keep a band together, so Chris, who’s been in the band since the beginning, and I, we’re kind of the only members, and we have an extended family of really great and talented people who have other projects they’re in. It just works a lot better with what I want to do.

YOU USED KICKSTARTER TO HELP FUND THE ALBUM. WHAT WAS THE CROWDFUNDING EXPERIENCE LIKE?

Before, with Vital, they had a studio and video production, and they took care of all of our recording in-house. We didn’t realize how expensive everything was. We had paid for studio time [for 4:30] through show money, but to look at all of the other expenses of making a record happen and trying to get it out there, it’s pretty intense! There have been a lot of independent artists that we know that will do Kickstarters, and I’ve never done anything like it before, so I was really nervous doing it. But it was a success, and I actually just finished sending out all of the preorder vinyl that people ordered.

YOUR SOUND IS OFTEN DESCRIBED AS ANYTHING FROM AMERICANA, TO ALT-COUNTRY, TO PSYCHEDELIC ROCK. WHAT’S IT LIKE WORKING WITHIN THOSE TRADITIONS IN 2019?

You kind of have to make your own path, because although there is a resurgence of rock ‘n’ roll, everything’s been done before. It has those roots, but we’re not breaking the mold or anything. You just have to be true to yourself and to the music, and just go from there. Everyone’s voice is important as an artist, so that’s important to remember.

YOU’RE ON THE ROAD TOURING QUITE A BIT. DO YOU STILL KEEP TRACK OF WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE COLUMBUS MUSIC SCENE?

Columbus is definitely growing, and moving toward doing things independently. I’ve seen a lot of bands touring, which is good. It’s an affordable place to tour out of, and there’s a community here for sure. Whenever I have a chance, we go out to the shows. We love The Cordial Sins, and we’re having them as our special guests for our album release. The High Definitions, Souther—there are just so many good bands.

When I go to other cities and I realize that there’s not really much of a scene going on, it is kind of cool to see that in Columbus, people are very aware and supportive of musicians. Even the businesses around here, everyone’s trying to work with musicians in some way. There are so many gigs, be it at breweries, at restaurants, or little festivals that pop up. There’s work for musicians here. And some other cities, there’s really not.

IN THE PAST, YOU’VE PLAYED SOMETHING LIKE 150 SHOWS A YEAR. ARE YOU KEEPING UP THE SAME PACE THESE DAYS?

I’m glad that we played that many shows at that time. We were playing anywhere and everywhere, and a lot of that was pressure financially. If that’s the way you’re making a living, you’ve got to take every gig. We’ve spread out the shows since, especially since we have been doing it for this long. We’re kind of gearing more towards quality shows. I will say, playing that many shows—I needed that. We needed the experience, and just the repetition. Every venue is different, every environment, every crowd. You cut your teeth and it makes you stronger.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO LOCAL ARTISTS HOPING TO MAKE A CAREER IN MUSIC?

It’s tough, because for each person it’s so different. Getting out there and working hard, playing as many shows as possible—that's all really great experience. But also focus on the music itself. If you’re going to make a music video or a recording, take your time—don’t half-ass it. Wait until you know what you’re doing. Although, you kind of have to learn from your mistakes, too.

Catch Angela Perley with special guests The Cordial Sins on September 6 at Skully’s Music-Diner for the release show of her new album, titled 4:30.

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(614) Sessions

614 Sessions: Doc Robinson

Mike Thomas

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4QdxpbrZgg&feature=youtu.be

Doc Robinson, the collaboration of Columbus music stalwarts Jon Elliott and Nick D’Andrea, joined us for this session in the 614 offices to share their unique brand of "Backyard BBQ Breakup music."

While here, the duo played stripped-down acoustic versions of their songs "Wilderness" and "Wild Beauty."

To hear more from Doc Robinson, follow them on your streaming platform of choice, or visit https://www.docrobinsonofficial.com/

Be sure to catch the group at Woodlands Tavern on Saturday, September 21, when they'll be joined by Hebdo, Parker Louis, Honey and Blue and many more for their Family Jamboree.

Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/artist/5O0efDEpkqEmWbXD2zpkjz

Apple Music:
https://music.apple.com/us/artist/doc-robinson/1116027164
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Producer: Mike Thomas
Videographers: Adam Fakult, Mitch Hooper, Mike Thomas
Audio Mixing/Mastering: Jared Huntley
Video Editing: Mike Thomas
Contact: [email protected]
Website: 614now.com

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(614) Sessions

(614) Sessions: The Turbos

Mike Thomas

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ThYK1D0000

The Turbos’ high-octane heroics have earned the group a fierce following in the Columbus rock scene and beyond. Combining shredding guitar virtuosity with soaring, anthemic vocals, co-frontmen Alex D. and Lucas Esterline lead the group in a sound that combines the best of the old and the new. Rounded out by the multi-talented Cameron Reck on bass and mononymous local music veteran Jahrie behind the kit, the Turbos are leading the charge for a new generation of rockers.

For the first of what we hope will be many in a new music series we're calling The (614) Sessions, The Turbos joined us in our offices for a stripped-down acoustic set. Despite leaving the electrics at home, the power of their performance was still enough to garner multiple noise complaints (sorry, neighbors).

For show dates and more, be sure to follow The Turbos on Facebook. Big thanks to the group for sharing their music as our first-ever guests in this new endeavor!

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Producer: Mike Thomas
Videographers: Mike Thomas, Adam Fakult, Mitch Hooper
Audio Mixing/Mastering: Jared Huntley Video
Editing: Mitch Hooper
Contact: [email protected]

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