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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Stone River Boys at The Livery (Benton Harbor) Oct 17

Look out now. Gettin’ all funky, bustin' a move in your cowboy hat and Tony Lama’s. Doesn’t sound quite right does it? But for Mike Barfield, singer with the Western-appareled Stone River Boys and formerly with the Hacienda Brothers, bringing the funk is all right and out of sight.
“I come from the funky side of things like the Stax records stuff,” said Barfield from a tour lay-over in Green Bay WI. “Even before the Hacienda Brothers I put out a record called 'Living Stereo' which was whole-hog R & B soul. Then I had my own band called Barfield which was a Cracker-like funk thing with no horns; just Hammond organ, guitar, bass and drums."
"So you see I’ve been doing this all along,” proclaims Barfield.
Barfield cites the cross-over sound of Memphis Stax soul blended with Louisiana swamp soul/blues and James Brown’s early R&B years as inspiration for what he’s doing now with SRB.
“I’m a big fan of Tony Joe White and his swamp sound. I got to open up for him once in Houston. Both Dave Gonzalez (guitarist with SRB) and I really like Jerry Reed. I consider Jerry to be funky. Not in the same way that you’d say funk since James Brown however,” said Barfield, a nationally known funky dancer himself.
“But Reed had that country swampy sound in his music," he continues. "Songs like “Amos Moses” may be a novelty song on the surface to some. But Reed's songs are really well done and well played; they’re great in their own right.”
As 2010 winds down the Stone River Boys are set to record new material and decisions remain about which way to proceed.
“We’re at the point now where we need to start working on our new record. We’re debating on what we’re going to do and where we are going to record it; we’ve been really busy on the road promoting the record we have (Love on the Dial) out now," says Barfield.
"It’s kind of a different world out there now and we're trying to figure out the best way to go about this release. The record business has changed so much in the last few years. Needless to say there are many different ways to go."
For their Oct 17 appearance at the Livery in Benton Harbor Barfield is almost sure to let loose with a version of the “The Struggle” an original from Love on the Dial.
“I was inspired by the old Marlon Brando movie The Wild Ones of all things. Though you’d never know it by listening to the lyrics," Mike said with a laugh. "
"There’s a scene where they're at this restaurant bar. This guy instead of asking the girl to dance, asks her if she wants to struggle. I always thought that was a great thing. It kind of turned into my passive political statement and dance,” Barfield said with a smile.
It’s great when you can get both ideas in at once, right? To be sure, there’s bound to be some funky struggling all up on the dance floor when the Stone River Boys hit town.

The Stone River Boys MySpace page. The band appears at the Livery in Benton Harbor on Oct 17 at 6 pm. More info at The Livery website.

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