We straight-up loved Always Home from local MC K.Dutch (aka KC Dutcher) when it dropped last year; it was raw but, like, in a good way. So when Dutcher reached out to let us know his new band The Fat Sweet has really come together well, we were intrigued. Merging hip-hop with other styles can be disastrous (see basically all rap-metal if you don't believe me), but Dutcher has a certain consciousness and style that helps him avoid releasing garbage. Cut to the sharing of new tracks from the soul-meets-hip-hop-meets-R&B group, one of which we're debuting here in this column, and it's a bit of a relief to say that The Fat Sweet is a damn fine project.

Dutcher, whose previous work took home a 2017 New Mexico Music Award for Best Hip-Hop Album, remains an MC, but he's spreading out a bit more with The Fat Sweet for Michael Jackson-esque vocals and melodies. Further, the collaborative elements of the new band steer the backing music into an area adjacent to titans like Jimmy McGriff and Stevie Wonder—not so bad for a group of hippie-like white guys.

Debut single "Hold On," which you can stream below, is full of head-bobbing Rhodes organ action from Bryan Bakevich and sexy bass from Neal Denton. Drummer Joe Hecker, on loan from local country songsmith Greg Butera, goes sort of nuts here; not unfocused by any means, but definitely jazzy and funky in a more complex way than we're used to from him. That's a compliment. The Fat Sweet is rounded out by guitarist Kevin Sennott (who also goes by Anteloop), a relative newcomer to Santa Fe but the kind of outdoorsy, mountain-climbing, guitar-shredding beard owner everyone knows who made the pilgrimage here and never left.

"We're trying to diversify," Dutcher says. "I feel like we've moved into a new phase, so while we're just beginning to home in on a sound, we're still experimenting and I don't feel like we've arrived at any point—we're still developing our sound and our band, trying to tap into as many dope artists as we can."

Sennott agrees about collaboration, and says The Fat Sweet won't be pinned down to any particular style and has the ability to morph and evolve based on whoever comes into the fold to lend a hand.

"Santa Fe has all these really strong and very defined music scenes," he says. "I feel like I'm standing in the middle of this circle and I want to interact with as many [musicians] as possible."

But it's not all good news. The Fat Sweet has reportedly had trouble in getting booked at numerous venues around town. "I feel like we've gotten no's just because I've said we play funk, soul, hip-hop," Dutcher says. "I hope embracing everything this town is will bring something back to us." The Fat Sweet has played at venues like Second Street's Rufina Taproom, but it would be cool to see them break out into some of the others. The Kaverns—that sorta-kinda-new venue brought to you by the Santa Fe Oxygen and Healing Bar—heeded the call. It's where The Fat Sweet officially unveils "Hold On," as well as the other material they've been working on the last six months. And that six-month marker is notable, considering the speed at which these guys have gotten it together. Production from Kabby Sound and mastering from Hills Audio's Will Dyar on the new material sure didn't hurt, but there's a level of musical connection required to get something so complicated down that quickly.

Regional tours and a full-length album are probably on the horizon as well but, for now, The Fat Sweet is all about building that local following and meeting as many like-minded musicians as they can.

"I foresee getting into the studio and coming out with two, three, four songs each time," Sennott says. "It would be really nice to be a part of that."

K.Dutch and The Fat Sweet: 
8 pm Friday Aug. 24. $5.
Santa Fe Oxygen and Healing Bar (Kaverns),
133 W San Francisco St.,