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Huntsville Band Caldonia Carries On Soul, Rhythm And Blues Tradition With Debut Release

The six members of Caldonia grew up in small towns in Alabama, where, to quote their website, “revival tents and liquor stores both testify their own truths about the Deep South.” Their music testifies to the Southern traditions of soul, blues, rhythm and blues, and other American “roots” music. They cite James Brown, Wilson Pickett, and Ray Charles among their many influences.

Caldonia has upcoming show dates in their hometown Huntsville; Jackson, Miss., and other Southern towns and cities. Band members hope to extend that reach with their debut EP “Caldonia . . . is Hurtin’ for You,” to be released Dec. 27 on all major music streaming platforms.

Caldonia is Keyton Fike on vocals, Daniel O’Donnell on saxophone, Calvin Montgomery on trumpet, Matthew Gravitt on drums, Carl Kasper on bass, and Jason Wright on keyboards. Listeners who grew up on the sounds of Stax Records and Motown will feel an instant kinship with the four songs on this record. Fans of younger artists who carry on these soul and R&B traditions — such as The Black Keys, The Alabama Shakes, and Vintage Trouble — will also enjoy this debut EP.

With Wright’s opening keyboard flourishes, O’Donnell’s saxophone, and Montgomery’s trumpet lines, the tune “Oh Say,” a Caldonia original, offers listeners a modern take on this classic soul sound. Fike’s fine vocal delivery and a spare solo from Wright on organ really bring home this slow ballad.

“Taxi,” another band original, is a workout for the horns, while the rhythm section of Kasper on bass and Gravitt on drums makes this a rhythmically infectious funk tune.

Two other compositions on this recording pay homage to the late Eddie Hinton, the legendary songwriter and member of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section that worked with so many soul and R&B artists. The arrangement of “Brand New Man” is a rocking scorcher, with the right amount of requisite guttural delivery from Fike.

Fike’s vocals are perfect in conveying the emotions of Hinton’s ballad “Hard Luck Guy.” The horns and keyboard make the final chord ring.

Caldonia pay homage to Hinton’s legacy in yet another way. They recorded this debut release at historic FAME (Florence Alabama Music Enterprises) Studios in Muscle Shoals, where Aretha Franklin, Clarence Carter, Etta James, and other legends recorded. The history of FAME created the sound of “Caldonia . . . is Hurtin’ for You,” which band members call a “retro, raw, and reverb-soaked vibe ….”

“Caldonia . . . is Hurtin’ for You” is also available on Spotify and Soundcloud. Caldonia will also sell physical CDs at upcoming concert dates. For more details, visit http://www.caldoniamusic.com/ or http://www.facebook.com/caldoniamusic.

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