Article by: Curt Hennecke

Sonoma County based Soul/Blues/Funk ensemble Soul Fuse celebrated the release of their debut EP, Check This Out at the Redwood Café in Cotati on Friday night, March 24.  Soul Fuse is an eight piece collective, a Super Group, comprised of seasoned musicians hailing from several historic bands, such as, The Eagles, Loggins and Messina, Commander Cody, Nick Gravenitis, Cold Blood, Norton Buffalo, and Elvin Bishop, to name a few.  Check This Out features five original songs capped off by the local favorite, The People Will Rise Up.

The crowd at The Redwood Café did rise up, right onto the dance floor, where they remained all night long.  Soul Fuse delighted their dancing audience, featuring songs from their new recording and standard soul covers.   The crowd was clearly enjoying their smooth brand of soulful, Funky Blues and easy grooves, which are clearly influenced by Classic Soul and Blues from the ’60’s and ’70’s.

There is no doubt this band is packed with excellent musicians.  Lead by songwriter, Singer and Saxophone player, Roger Volz, his voice is reminiscent of Robert Cray, on I Can’t Stop Her.  But Volz is only part of the larger horn section, which consists of Al Garth on Tenor Saxophone and Carl Bowers on Trombone. The tight horn arrangements were definitely a focal point as the group eased their way through their set.  On another song called Maintenance Man from their new EP, Guitarist Steve Barbieri excited the crowd with a wicked slide guitar solo.  On the EP version of the song, none other than Elvin Bishop makes a guest appearance for this solo.  The rhythm section is anchored by Bassist Evan Palmerston and Drummer Terry Baker.  Soul Fuse is rounded out by Shanin Jones on Vocals and Percussion, and Nathan Prowse on the Keyboard, with each adding their own soulful flavor to the mix.  The vocals by Volz was complemented nicely by the sultry voice of Shanin Jones.  The dual vocals really shone brightly on Cryin’ Shame, another original cut.

The first set ended with The People Will Rise Up, a political song urging us to taking action against injustice and not just sitting on the side.  It’s hard not to feel energized and motivated when the message is so darn funky!  The crowd clearly felt the message and sung along with the chorus, “The people will rise up… Rise up, rise up!”  After a short break, Soul Fuse performed a second set of world class R&B, with each member getting their opportunity to strut their stuff.  With the night winding down, the crowd wanted more.  “Rise Up” was the chant.  So, Soul Fuse performed an encore version of The People Will Rise Up.  It seems that this song is becoming a local hit!

Earlier in the afternoon, members of the band were guests on KSRO, talking about their release, the night’s show, and played a few tunes from Check This Out.  We will check it out, and check out Soul Fuse more for a funky good time.  A bright future lies ahead for these seasoned musical veterans, who are obviously excited about their musical message.



On Time
Cryin’ Shame
I Can’t Stop Her
Maintenance Man
The Time of Love
Norman’s Funk
Don’t Let the Green Grass
The Thing I Need
The People Will Rise Up
Music Sample:

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