Australia is not normally associated with soul music. Though the continent has been producing big-name musical talent for decades, it isn’t known for producing soul singers or bands on the international level.
One could speculate as to why this is. Maybe there aren’t as many fruitful local scenes in Australia as in other places, or maybe the music just isn’t as popular in the land down under as it is elsewhere. In truth, it’s probably a combination of several factors, both musically and culturally.
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USA & Canada! How y'all doing? We are one week away from blast-off on this wild ride across your fine lands. We're so excited to be joined by @katiepruittmusic @sweetcrudeband @mooreamasa @thewarandtreaty @dantepope @formerlybodies Beams and @wolffsisters along the way. Head to www.theteskeybrothers.com for tickets and we'll see you very soon! 💙 5/23: @thetroubadour – LA, CA 5/24: @strawberry_music_festival – Grass Valley, CA 5/25: @thechapelsf – SF, CA 5/26: @bottlerocknapa CA 5/28: @urbanloungeslc – SLC, UT 5/30: @bellyupaspen – Aspen, CO 5/31: @bluebirdtheater – Denver, CO 6/01: @foxtheatreco – Boulder, CO 6/04: @7th.St.Entry – Minn, MN 6/05: @evanstonspace – Evanston, IL 6/07: @fridaycheersrva – Richmond, VA 6/08: @uhalldc – Washington, DC 6/09: @threeriversfestival – Pittsburgh, PA 6/13: @smithsoldebar – Atlanta, GA 6/14: @bonnaroo – Manchester, TN 6/15: @thezanzabar – Louisville, KT 6/17: @theparliamentroom_os – Detroit, MI 6/18: @horseshoetavern – Toronto, CAN 6/20: @brighton_music – Boston, MA 6/22: @summerstage at Central Park – NYC 6/23: @fireflymusicfestival – Dover, DE
On Tuesday night, one of Australia’s finest young Bands, the Teskey Brothers, showed that the Continent is as capable as any of producing first-rate Soul and Blues with an excellent performance in the 7th street entry.
Though the opening act, Nashville singer-songwriter Katie Pruitt, didn’t stylistically have much in common with the headliners, her excellent voice made her a great fit on the bill. Bringing with her only an acoustic guitar, her voice won over the audience from the moment she took the stage.
Her songs were direct, confessional, and seemingly very autobiographical. This played well at the intimate entry. The audience was respectful and responsive, giving the often-times heavy songs the attention that they deserved. Pruitt proved to be an excellent choice for an opening act, and the music would only get better from there.
The Teskey Brothers brought a different vibe entirely. Though they’re a young, modern band playing music in 2019, their sound suggests some of the best the genre had to offer in the ’60s and ’70s. Stax comparisons are inevitable with this band and are not totally off-base — they favor vintage sounds and come from a clear lineage.
This is not to say, however, they’re overly derivative. In fact, to the contrary, their music feels fresh and vintage at the same time. Much of this has to do with the songs themselves, most of which are well-written.
Singer/Guitarist Josh Teskey went out of his way to point out that everyone in the band writes songs, and it showed. The set was cohesive yet diverse, comprised of many strains of soul music. The band stuck to its roots but knew exactly when and how to step out, often doing so in subtle ways.
There was upbeat soul (“Louisa”), slightly melancholic laid-back soul (“Crying Shame”), and even a bit of extended slow bluesy soul (“Honeymoon”). Though each song would feature a different facet of the group, there were many constants.
Sam Teskey’s guitar was one of these, his blues-informed playing remaining tasteful regardless of the twists and turns in the set.
Though the set remained firmly within the band’s wheelhouse, it was an excellent one. The band’s playing and singing proved to be engaging, fun, and soulful. With a new record on the horizon, it’s clear that this band has an upward trajectory.