The Sim Redmond Band is one of the best bands you have never heard. With their innovative blend of roots music and touching, sincere lyrics, it is no small wonder that the Home Grown Music Network voted SRB the best new home grown band of 2001.
SRB defies conventional categorization — with their blend of Afro-Cuban melodies, African and reggae drum, bass, rhythm and folky lyrics, the band has carved out a musical niche that is uniquely theirs.
On their third and most recent record, “Life is Water,” the band begins where their second record ended, with a resonating traditional Zimbabwaen mbira — an African finger piano — tune.
“Life is Water” is a delightful blend of danceable, optimistic songs like the title track and the popular “All Is Not Lost,” African and Middle Eastern instrumentals like “D-Fumo” and “Chifte Telli,” haunting and mesmerizing tracks like “Bird Reggae” and love songs like “Hurricane” and “Rolling Back with You.”
SRB’s strength lies in pairs — Sim Redmond and Jordan Aceto on guitars, Sim and Uniit Carruyo with duet and call-and-response vocals and Asa Redmond and Dan Merwin on drums and bass. Listen carefully for each pair and hear the band come together to create a rich musical landscape.
The lyrics are the hidden treat in this music. Sim and Uniit prefer to pose questions instead of giving you answers, sometimes making you think about your own life and what is important to you. Other times it is their subtle sweetness that really touches you, as in “Hurricane” — “When the wind blows, it blows your name. / Today you were a hurricane.”
The CD is stunningly and flawlessly produced, from the floating, airy guitars to the well-balanced and crystalline vocals. Sim’s background as a sound engineer and his keen attention to detail, in addition to the band’s deep and growing talent, have once again produced a remarkable album.
As good as SRB sounds in the studio, they shine on the stage. This is a band that loves to play live with their friends and to see a bouncing dance floor. You never know what new way Jordan will play a familiar song, or how driving Asa and Dan will be on extended drum solos. Sim’s and Uniit’s crisp vocals will waft through the air while the music beckons you to dance.
SRB has opened for and played with well-respected artists and bands like Samite of Uganda, Mamadou Diabate, Habib Koite, Burning Spear, The Wailers and moe. Their addictive sound, however, has earned them sold-out headline shows from Boulder to New York City.
SRB will play tomorrow night at the Water Street Music Hall, along with Richie and Jennie Stearns, Jim Lauderdale, John Brown’s Body and Donna the Buffalo in the first night of Donna the Buffalo’s Winter Holiday Festival.
If you have never experienced a local music culture, then make sure you leave your dorm this weekend and listen to a band — several bands, actually — that could change the way you think about music.