Disaster Relief‘s new album, Back Into It, is their second full length album and continues their effort to create timeless, joyful and funky music that can serve as an escape from negative vibes surrounding us. The new album expands their eclectic, horn-driven palette to include more influences from around the globe, from old school funk to Greek wedding dances and the blasting horns of a Balkan surf-rock jam, all with a grit and groove that keeps the dance party going.
In 2018 the Michigan based music producer, songwriter, and guitarist, Darrin James decided to branch away from the blues and roots-rock sounds of his Darrin James Band albums, to form a more improvisational, instrumental, and funky project. Disaster Relief seeks to provide an outlet from the negativity and seriousness of the political and social upheaval of the last few years. Their upbeat, horn-driven music draws inspiration from New Orleans funk, Memphis soul, Motown, Afrobeat, Balkan rhythms and increasingly more flavors from around the globe.
Their 2018 eponymous debut album received praise for it’s “greasy…open yet poignant funk jams and feel good ethos” (Paul Naser, Allaboutjazz) as well as the stellar musicianship displayed by the group’s playing, which alternates between tightly composed melodies, intense solo sections, complex syncopated rhythms, and free improvisation. This combination of group interplay and extended soloing contributes to the band’s reputation for live shows that become energetic dance parties.
On Back Into It, Disaster Relief’s second full length album, they expand their sonic palette to include even more “world” music influences such as the song, Kalamatianós for Alexander, which is composed to the popular Greek wedding dance rhythm and reflects James’ own Greek family heritage. The eclecticism continues throughout, with songs like Beach Song, which points towards Afro-Carribean influences while Weekend Čoček, turns the classic Balkan dance into a psychedelic, retro surf-rock jam.
Disaster Relief also recently released a collaboration with Thornetta Davis, Detroit’s own “Queen of the Blues,” for a two song single, How I Feel, which bridges the funkier sounds of Disaster Relief with the Detroit icon’s characteristic, bluesy soul. With two new releases in 2021, Disaster Relief is definitely “Back into It” and doing their best to bring positive energy and danceable grooves to the world.