Big things are happening at Evangelo’s: a new sound system, new lights and an upgraded stage, for example. Also upcoming will be big-time musicians like the son of John Lee Hooker and (hopefully) Charlie Musselwhite. It’s pretty fun to see national acts that can easily attract gigantic crowds play in a small venue and in stripped-down fashion.
It seems as if the reason for the renovation and larger caliber shows is local band Soulman Sam and the Soul Explosion. Sam Evans and company have only been playing together for about eight months but, given the their warm reception in Santa Fe, you’d think they’ve been here for years.
Evans grew up in Memphis, Tenn. and came up singing in his church. Hanging around with the likes of Al Green and BB King makes it only natural that he would find himself a singer as well. Evans was approached by Stax Records on more than one occasion, but the timing was never right.
Evans found himself in Santa Fe when he and his wife tired of their lives in Farmington, where they lived for his wife’s job. The couple came to check out Santa Fe and happened by Evangelo’s where they met proprietor Nick Klonis. After some discussion and several successful shows, it was agreed by all that Evangelo’s would become “The Home of Soulman Sam.” Weekly jams and performances are ongoing, and Soulman Sam’s band is top-notch, including the likes of drummer Tom Briggs, who once backed Muddy Waters.
The new era the band is ushering in will be a welcome addition to the local blues scene.
Color Me Bad
By the time this issue goes to print, Pigment will have released its self-titled debut. The album, recorded at Frogville Records last year, heralds great news—if you ever feel like being really bored, just pop this baby into your CD player.
Formulaic is the name of the game, as the jam band predictably moves in and out of rock, blues, soul and funk. At approximately the two-minute mark of each song, a wanky blues-rock guitar solo is hastily inserted. These solos appear to have no function other than needlessly lengthening the album; perhaps for an official “Jam Band” title or perhaps because the band wasn’t sure what else to do.
The songs go nowhere, and I can provide no better example than the never-ending track “The Lorenzini Suite.” It’s a good minute before the band does anything on this song besides noodle pointlessly and, when something finally does happen, it is anything but interesting.
Thankfully, the vocals throughout the album are hard to hear. The few times I could discern what was being said, the lyrics were sophomoric and tired. I kept having this vision of the 16-year-old we all knew in high school who had just discovered Pink Floyd or Phish or Jimi Hendrix and then started a band in the same vein, never quite doing justice to the musicians he loved.
John Lee Hooker Jr with Soulman Sam and the Soul Explosion
7 pm Friday and Saturday, July 3 and 4
200 W. San Francisco St.