Tag: Ojai CA

The New Mastersounds — currently, Eddie Roberts (guitar, production), Simon Allen (drums), Pete Stand (bass) and Joe Tatton (keys) — can trace their origins back to the late 1990s: Roberts was promoting a club night in his native Leeds called The Cooker. When The Cooker moved into a new venue with a second floor in 1999, there was both the space and opportunity to put a live band together to compliment the night’s DJ sets. 

Coincidentally, Roberts and Allen had previously played together in the similarly named The Mastersounds, an act with a completely different bassist and without a keyboardist. Because of the intimate nature of the Leeds scene, Roberts and Allen met and recruited Pete Hand and Bob Birch (Hammond) to join what would become The New Mastersounds. Since the release of two limited edition boogaloo leaning 7 inch singles back in 2000, the Leeds-based outfit has released 24 more 7 inch singles, 13 studio albums, three live albums, a remix album — and three compilations released in the UK, Japan and The States. And the band has done that while going through a major lineup change with grizzled Leeds scene veteran Joe Tatton replacing Bob Birch on keys and organ.

The band and its individual members have collaborated with an eclectic and diverse array of musicians, DJs and producers throughout their history, including Lou DonaldsonCorinne Bailey RaeQuanticCarleen Anderson, Keb DargeKenny DopeMr. Scruff, LSK, Lack of AfroPage McConnell, Grace Potter,Karl DensonMelvin SparksIdris MuhammadFred WesleyPee-Wee EllisMaceo ParkerBernard PurdieGeorge Porter, Jr.Zigaboo ModelisteArt Neville and Ernest Ranglin

“A Brighter Day,” can trace its origins back to just after the 2020: Roberts had written a buoyant and uplifting composition that sonically nods to civli rights era Curtis Mayfield and classic Motown soul. Roberts then invited some of Color Red Music‘s top vocalists to contribute lyrics to the song. Earlier this year, I wrote about the first version of the song, which featured Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal‘s Josh Hoyer. Hoyer had penned some uplifting lyrics and put them in the can for whenever the right opportunity would call for them. For Hoyer, that opportunity came when Roberts called the Omaha-based artist and invited him to contribute lyrics. Hoyer’s version thematically is centered around the hope fo a fairer, more just and inclusive world for all, after a brutally difficult and uneasy few years.

The newest version of “Brighter Day” features Ojai-born, Long Beach-based vocalist Adryon de León. de Leon has managed to have a vast and varied career. She’s been a backing vocalist for the likes of Lady GagaGeorge ClintonMacy Gray and others. de León also has a seven year stint as the frontwoman of Orgōne. Currently, she’s one of the vocalists in the soul collective Matador! Soul Sounds alongside Eddie Roberts, Alan EvansKim Dawson and Nate Edgar. Additionally, de León contrrbitued vocals to a track on Trent Reznor‘s score for the Netflix biopic Mank

de Leòn’s version of “Brighter Day” has a completely different tone and feel while retaining the uplifting composition of its predecessor. While Hoyer’s version focused on the larger outside world, de León’s version, which features lyrics written during pandemic related lockdowns and restrictions of last year, focuses on the personal — a glorious reunion with friends and loved ones. Interestingly, the song is underpinned with a simple yet profound call to check in on your loved ones, including the strongest ones because shit was mad real out there. But no matter what, both versions of the song are fueled by an optimism that brighter days will come, even if we don’t know when exactly.

Ojai-born, Long Beach-based vocalist Adryon de León has had a vast and varied career. de León has been a backing artist for an eclectic and impressive array of acclaimed artists including Lady Gaga, George Clinton, Macy Gray and others. She spent seven years as the frontwoman of Orgōne — and she’s currently one of the dead vocalists in Matador! Soul Sounds alongside Eddie Roberts, Alan Evans, Kim Dawson and Nate Edgar. Recently, de Leòn contributed vocals to a a track on Trent Reznor‘s score for the Netflix biopic Mank.

de Leòn’s Max MacVeety and David Tam-produced single “Ally” is funky, Motown soul-inspired strut, centered around the Ojai-born, Long Beach-based vocalist’s soulful, powerhouse vocals. And while seemingly indebted to the likes of James Brown, Steve Wonder and others, the song was inspired by contemporary events: The song finds de Leòn reflecting on the riots incited by George Floyd’s murder happening two blocks from her Long Beach home — and the messages she received from well-meaning friends the following morning.

As, a response, the Ojai-born, Long Beach-based vocalist decided to stop being precious and cute with the subjects of race and injustice. “Ally” wound up being a vehicle to process her emotions and respond to all of them — with the song being a fiery and soulful reminder and call to the arms. The fight for equality and justice is an ongoing one, the song says. this particular iteration of uprising and struggle is a small chapter in a much longer story. And as the song — and its narrator — demands of the listener: if you’re in a position of privilege, it’s your responsibility to stand up for the disenfranchised, the vulnerable and overlooked, and to be an ally for positive change.