Special Guest - Leo Nocentelli (The Meters)
Known throughout the music industry as the “funkiest, fast-fingered” guitarist there is, a musician who can control your mind, body and soul with his experience, superior talent, musical mastery and inimitable style, he is LEO NOCENTELLI.
Leo is the lead guitarist, composer, innovator and the musical originator of the syncopated funk-style that won international acclaim for him and the band known as the “Pioneers of Funk”, The Meters, the Grammy’s 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award Winners.
In the two decades plus, Leo’s sound and styles, ranging from Funk, Blues, Jazz, Hip-hop, Rap to Rock, have added to the creation of his own unique brand of blazing musicianship. He has accompanied and collaborated with artists as varied as his style.
As the sole writer of such hits as (to name a few) of Cissy Strut, Look A Py Py, Same Ol’ Thing, Rigor Mortis, Funky Miracle, 9 to 5, Ease Back, Lonesome and unwanted People, The World Is A Little Bit Under The Weather, and Cordova (and at times generously sharing credits with a vehicle he called The Meters), Nocentelli gained early recognition amongst his peers.
Over the years, Leo has continued to write well over 200 songs individually, as well as collaboratively, adding to an already charted list of hits such as, People Say, Ain’t No Use, Fire On the Bayou, and the Mardi Gras anthem, Hey Pocky Way (the last two songs were recorded by the Grammy Award winning Neville Brothers).
In the recording studio, Leo has identifiably proven that his original innovation in mastering his sound has gained the respect and demand that has led him to become a “featured” guitarist. In addition to recording with a distinguished list of his peers, Leo has recorded with a list of Grammy Award Winners such as, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, The Winans, The Supremes, The Temptations, Paul McCartney, Dr. John, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Robert Palmer, George Duke, The Dells, Jack Bruce, Manhattan Transfer, Bobby Womack, Al McKay, (Earth, Wind & Fire), and Robbie Robertson. The list continues with Academy Award winner Robert Mitchum. Other artists Leo has recorded with include, Mavis Staple, Etta James, Maceo Parker, Professor Longhair, Willie T, James Black, Lee Dorsey, James Booker and Jesse Roden.
Five years and four albums into a career that’s found them drawing circles around the lower 48, building a burgeoning national fan base, Dangermuffin embodies a curious paradox. The themes found within their striking new collection, Olly Oxen Free, sum up that juxtaposition.
This Folly Beach, S.C.-based trio are clearly at peace with themselves and their career, while keeping up a constant pursuit of truth. The seeds they’ve planted at major festivals around the nation grow as fast as the mileage on their odometer, yet they dream and sing of home with a yearning passion. Most strikingly, the band’s musical execution remains refreshingly simple, belying a staggering lyrical and thematic depth behind each individual song.
Dangermuffin can no longer be plainly dubbed an Americana or roots-rock band. Behind the virtuosic rhythms of drummer Steven Sandifer, the group seamlessly segues from calypso to world beat to a down-home shuffle, often within the same song. When guitarist Mikie Sivilli steps in with a powerful slide-driven lead, one might even venture to call it Southern rock. But by the time songwriter Dan Lotti sings the first words of another verse with his unmistakable light rasp, the listener is undeniably back on the beach, pondering both the world’s pleasures and ills through sandy toes.
The follow-up to 2010’s Moonscapes, which produced tracks that received generous airplay on both SiriusXM’s Jam_On and Outlaw Country stations, Olly Oxen Free demonstrates heightened ambitions and a refined, road-polished outfit ready to take on even more. Opener ‘Slumber’ greets us with an enveloping sense of hope. The ska beat of ‘Battle’ gives way to a fierce guitar solo, before ‘200 Degrees’ comes in batting cleanup. The fourth track on the disc, that song’s memorable riff serves as an epic reminder that Dangermuffin has no plans to rest on their laurels.
Olly Oxen Free never turns its back on the audience for a moment. Recorded at Truphonic Studios in Charleston with producer MJ Fick, even the album’s peaceful acoustic interlude, ‘Jaula,’ feels like a breath of fresh ocean air; an unexpected, serene eye of a perfect summer storm.
From ‘Homestead’ to ‘Rattle the Cage,’ Lotti’s songwriting encourages us to be free, revel in the simple beauty of our complicated lives, and always seek out healing answers. Like the cry bellowed during a children’s game of hide-and-seek, Olly Oxen Free signals that it’s safe to come out from our hiding spots, gather together, and celebrate late into the evening. Dangermuffin is more ready than ever to provide the soundtrack.