Andrea Marr takes us track by track through her latest release: Natural.
[pullquote]’Natural’ is my 7th release but my very first full length soul album. I fell in love with The BB King All Star Band in Memphis TN in 2005 when I was invited to sing with them at BB Kings on Beale St and dreamed of the day I could have my own 8 piece band. Thanks to Cam Scott who was with me on that trip, the Funky Hitmen began in 2012. This album is a collection of my favourite songs and my most honest songwriting. It’s me at my most ‘Natural'[/pullquote]
- Force Of Nature – a high energy horn laden old school soul feel, the song was written about relationships that hit you like a hurricane and how good that can sometimes feel. This song was co-written by Cam Scott.
- Rock Steady – This is my favourite Aretha Franklin song, a joyful funk and soul classic that allows the band to go into overdrive with great new horn arrangements from Stuart Byrne, and Dave Reynolds shredding guitar solo outro.
- Mama Got It Wrong Sometimes Too – I wrote this track for my mum who passed away in 2012. We had a sometimes rocky relationship but the song talks about a child who has come to understand that her mother did the best she could and says ‘thank you mama for making me the strong woman I am today’ – mum heard it before she passed away and she cried hearing it. It was a breakthrough for our relationship and a really special song to me.
- Grateful – in 2015 I was diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Cancer with a tumour in my parotid gland. I had surgery and was completely healed – this song is a gospel r&b track celebrating the small things in life that I’m grateful for each day, it’s one of my best received originals and was sung in churches all over Melbourne – This song is my soul and attitude put to music and it’s my personal daily soundtrack.
- That’s Where Love Ends – a fifties style dance hall balled written for my singer/bass player Dad who passed away in 2011, this song talks about how loss can be bitter sweet and the ones we love are never truly gone from our hearts. Dad would have loved this song if he had heard it. Co-written by Cam Scott it features a great sax solo by Andy O’Connell.
- Let’s Take It To The Bedroom – big band blues! I wrote this cheeky song about how sometimes women don’t want to talk all night, sometimes they just wanna take it to the bedroom – A gig favourite, it features Dave Reynolds on guitar.
- Credit – A fun, tongue in cheek song about young guys looking to hook up with their next sugar mama. A High energy, horn laden soul track that just goes off at live gigs.
- What Do I Have To Do – The Marva Whitney classic that she recorded with the JB’s. I couldn’t sing those notes when I was first given this song, so I put my vocal coaching skills to work and trained myself to sing it, it’s a huge challenge vocally but it’s a fantastic song with a searing trumpet solo by Sean Rankin, a horn section breakdown that makes my toes curl and the rhythm section (Robert Little and Roby Corelli) just tears this song up while still being respectful of the original.
- Snakes – A song I wrote about the music industry and the snakes that speak with forked tongues. Sometimes you have to remind yourself not to make the same mistakes again.
- Real Good Man – I wrote this fun track about how we ladies appreciate a real good man as an anniversary present for my husband one year, it has a great groove and a features the fantastic Funky Hitmen horn section – Stuart Byrne, Sean Rankin and Jeff Mead.
- Sticks And Stones – mellow and melancholy, this song talks about how harsh words spoken to you may bruise your soul but they don’t have to break you. Some people carry these hurts their whole lives and it’s time to let go and be free. It features beautiful vocals by Darius Tagaloa and John Talo and smooth guitar work of Dave Reynolds.
Andrea Marr’s first full length soul album Natural is a joyous celebration of the music she has always loved – harking back to the glorious sounds of Stax and Motown-era soul, delivered with her own distinctive voice and style.
Natural, Andrea’s 7th release, is an album that gives you the best of her expressive vocals and passionate, heartfelt songwriting, with nine originals appearing on the album. Natural features Andrea’s 8 piece soul band The Funky Hitmen – who released the well-received EP Sass and Brass in 2013. This is the full album of what was started back then – and although some of the players have moved on, the sound remains the same – soulful, dynamic and uplifting.
Natural opens with the high energy soul powerhouse ‘Force Of Nature’ a song written about relationships that hit you like a hurricane – and how good that can feel. Marr’s arrangement of the Aretha Franklin classic ‘Rock Steady’ follows – one of her favourite Aretha songs and a joyride for soul fans with the band letting loose toward the end.
‘Mama Got It Wrong Sometimes Too’ was written for Andrea’s mother who passed away in 2012. The song expresses the lack of understanding between mothers and daughters and the acknowledgement that Andrea will do what her mama told her to do – even though Mama got it wrong sometimes. This track is especially dear to Andrea as she sang it to her mum not long before her death, who cried hearing her say ‘thank you mama’ in the song.
The gospel R&B ‘Grateful’ recalls a life-threatening cancer scare Andrea had a few years ago, which left her truly grateful for the simple things in life. This song has been one of Andrea’s best received originals – sung in churches all over Melbourne and covered by several young fans.
‘That’s Where Love Ends’ was written for Andrea’s father, who passed away in 2011. A dance-hall ballad feel straight out of the sixties with its soaring horns and vocals – it’s a song that her bass playing, singer father would have loved.
The cheeky blues based ‘Let’s Take It To The Bedroom’ – a crowd favourite at live shows is followed by the equally sassy ‘Credit’ – about young guys still living with their mothers – while looking for their next sugar mama.
The Marva Whitney classic ‘What Do I Have To Do’ featuring Andrea’s monster horn section (featuring a searing trumpet solo from Sean Rankin) is a reinvention of the original while still being very respectful of it. Marr says “I had no chance of hitting those notes when I first attempted this song five years ago – so I challenged my vocal coaching skills to reach those notes and was so proud of myself when the notes came out in the right key!”
‘Snakes’ is a song Andrea wrote about people with forked tongues. “Sometimes you write songs to remind yourself never to make those mistakes again” she says, while the cheeky ‘Real Good Man’ was written for her husband as an anniversary present one year.
The album finishes with the mellow and melancholy ‘Sticks and Stones,’ which talks about negative words that leave you bruised but determined not to be broken.
Check out Andrea and the band tear into the Aretha Franklin classic ‘Rock Steady’ – the 2nd track on Natural.
Andrea and her big band will be launching the album on Tuesday 31st October from 8pm at the Flemington Bowls Club (free entry), followed by a headline performance at theWangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues on Saturday November 4, from 10.30pm at the Merriwa Park Blues Marquee. Natural is out now. www.andreamarr.com/music.php
Tuesday 31st October
MBAS House Of Blues
Flemington Bowls Club
407-411 Racecourse Rd, Flemington
Free entry, from 8pm
Saturday 4th November
Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues
Merriwa Park Blues Marquee