Thursday, April 9, House of Blues, 4:30p
Saturday, April 11, Tropical Isle Stage, 12:30p
As the Honorable South works through a sound check prior to a recent performance on local variety show The Goodnight Show with John Calhoun, vocalist Charm Taylor does not hold back. She mournfully swoons and belts out soulful power over the band’s dramatic music. Crew members frantically make final set adjustments before curtain call, but they all stop to watch once the Honorable South’s genre-defying mix of rock, soul, and funk fills the air of Cafe Istanbul in the Marigny. Once the final notes decay into silence, the crew erupts into applause.
The Honorable South’s self-described “Electric Soul Rock n’ Roll” crafts a sound that combines rock, funk, hip-hop, soul, folk, and electronica. The band attributes this sound to the unique qualities of its individual members. “Everybody brought their spin to the band, and that’s what makes it have so many textures,” guitarist Matthew Rosenbeck said. “I have more of a rock background, (guitarist and producer) Daniel (Kartel) has experience with hip-hop, (drummer) Jamal (Batiste) has been playing music since before he was born, and (bassist) Charles (Lumar II) comes in with an electronica element, but also this old-school smooth bass feel. You can’t say there’s any one genre that we fit into. Charm can take advantage of all the styles we bring together,” adds Kartel. “She’s that type of artist.”
The disparate influences come together on the band’s 2014 album, Faithful, Brave, and Honest, an all-over-the-map record that the members feel could have only been made in New Orleans. “New Orleans doesn’t hide the varying identities, whether they are African or Latin American or whatever. It’s all immersed in the everyday experience,” says Taylor. “It’s in your face, it’s on your back, it’s in your blood. I think that has definitely had an influence on our music because our sound is all of those things mixed up and we don’t hide from it.”
The Honorable South will make its French Quarter Fest debut this year, and the band feels ready for the opportunity. “I feel like the music is made to be played outside and ride the wind,” says Lumar II. “You hear it while walking down the street and you want to come and see it.” With upcoming appearances at French Quarter Fest, Jazz Fest, Shorty Fest, and Jazz in the Park, the band is looking forward to hitting the local festival circuit while also thinking ahead to their next album. “We’re a group of creators: visual artists, filmmakers, drummers, producers, bassists, bass repairmen. So much of our existence is tied to our creations, both independently and together,” Taylor said. “We go explore all these worlds and then come back and create something together. You can count on us sounding like us.”