It’s that time of year again. SXSW is fast approaching and if you live in Austin, you can feel the energy everywhere you go.
One of the bands contributing to the high is Austin’s own Mama K & the Shades. The 11-piece ensemble released their debut album Honey Made last year, and are featured in a few showcases during the festival.
Mama K & the Shades draw their influences from all types of genres: rock n’ roll, jazz, R&B, funk and soul. With their unique blend of sounds, their main goal is to make feel-good, toe-tapping music. You can hear the references to George Clinton and Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings throughout the album. The song “Love Machine” in particular, sounds straight off of a James Brown record. Other songs like “Midnight Train” infuse more elements of jazz with a saxophone solo booming in the latter half. “Baby Got Away” finds roots in R&B music. No matter what the genre, Mama K & the Shades have found a way to make each track their own and incorporate every member of the band to bring something different.
One of my favorite songs off of Honey Made is “Main Squeeze.” It is the shortest song on the album, running just under two minutes, but is so upbeat that you can’t help but dance. The energy heard on songs such as this is matched in their live performances. They describe their shows as a “one of a kind party experience.” Needless to say, they are not something to be missed. During SXSW, Mama K & the Shades will be playing two shows (listed below). If you can’t make it out to see them in person, you can party it up by listening to Honey Made on their Bandcamp page.