As a native of Evansville, five years ago I found the music scene here more than a disappointment, it was frustrating. But it was just a way of life that we accepted and didn’t fuss over. If you wanted to hear good local bands you were probably going to have to make the drive to Nashville. So I was both surprised and delighted upon my return home to find some new bands struggling to change that reality. Though few, they are mighty in what changes they have made to the local music scene in just a few short years. Count among that number The Funk, a band that holds the tagline, “The Funkiest thing to come out of Evansville since Pigeon Creek!!” For about a year this band has been bringing Evansville music that is not often heard around these parts. And that, says Corey Christy (bass player and founding memebr), is the point. These guys don’t want people showing up and knowing all the words to the songs they play. It’s ok if you do, better if you don’t. While they perform almost all covers of funky jam-band pieces, they dig deep and get creative with what they bring to the musical table. But complete originality is not out of the question, as they do have an original piece. And, says Corey, they are working on more.
The band came together in September 2009 when some live music was needed for a First Friday in downtown Evansville. They simply “got a bunch of guys together” and, Voila! a new jam band was formed. While it’s been a bit of a rotating line-up from the start, two members have remained constant: Corey Christy and Wade Holmes. The band today is made up of Corey Christy, bass and vocals, Wade Holmes, guitar and vocals, and John Kern on drums, who joined the band in April 2010. Logan Dyer, saxophone, and Winston “Wink” Chaney, vocals, are the newest members to join. (The band is currently looking for a keyboard player.)
The addition of Winston “Wink” Chaney on vocals brings a new element to the band that may be unfamiliar to many local people. Wink, originally from Henderson, KY, moved to Washington D.C. where he worked in a recording studio for two years before going on to Atlanta. It was there that he learned freestyle rap. Wink brings to the band a mix of singing, freestyle and charisma that will make them stand out against other Evansville groups.
The band was gracious enough to allow me to sit in on a rehearsal at the home of Corey while they worked on a new song to add to the setlist. Corey, who is originally from Blioxi, Miss. says the band hopes to branch out more regionally and they will be doing a “mini tour” to Biloxi and Ocean Springs, Mississippi and Troy, Alabama in November. Add to this a regular line-up of gigs around town and an appearance at the up-coming music fest at Engelbrecht Orchard, plus a demo CD soon to be ready and this band may be very busy very soon.
So, what do they sound like? Mix together a healthy amount of George Clinton, Stevie Wonder, and James Brown, then sprinkle on some 2Pac and other hip hop influence. Top it off with Wink’s freestyle, Wade’s smooth tenor and Corey’s rough southern influence, and you’ve got a start. But this is just a vague description. The only way to really know how these guys sound is to go out hear them for yourself. Upcoming shows include Friday September 24th at the Deerhead at 9 pm, and at the Englebrecht’s Homegrown Music Festival on October 9th.