Sat, April 21, 2018
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2018-04-21 8:00 pm
The Subdudes at The Blue Note Grill
In 1987, four musicians got together for what they envisioned would be a one-time performance at Tipitina’s in New Orleans. It was a night of mostly acoustic music – sparse instrumentation with a strong emphasis on songwriting and vocal harmonies. The show far exceeded expectations, and on that March night The Subdudes were born.
Nearly 10 years later, after five well-received albums and several years of hard touring, The Subdudes called it quits. Spinoff projects ensued, as did the occasional reunion show.
In February of 2002, three of the four original band members decided to get back together. They recruited some friends, and they hit the road for the rest of the decade before taking another break.
Fast forward to March 2014, where they're giving it another go. This time it's the original lineup for the first time in 17 years, playing a few select shows.
And after nearly 30 years, still nobody in the world sounds like them.
Led by singer/guitarist Tommy Malone and accordionist John Magnie, the Subdudes draw most of their inspiration from the sounds of their native New Orleans, blending blues, gospel, funk, and R&B with their own harmony vocals; their sound is also notable for the band's substitution of a tambourine player for a drummer.
The band came together after backing artists such as Joni Mitchell and Roseanne Cash, and released its eponymous debut "The Subdudes" in 1989. Like the group's subsequent albums (including 1991's "Lucky," 1996's "Primitive Streak," and 1997's "Live at Last"), The Subdudes featured a mix of covers and originals. After an eight-year sabbatical, the Subdudes joined Bob Dylan guitarist Freddy Koella to produce "Miracle Mule" in spring 2004. Keb' Mo'would be the producer for the band's 2006 effort, "Behind the Levee," and "Street Symphony" would follow in 2007, and "Flower Petals" in 2009.
The Subdudes new album, "4 on the Floor" released August 2016, captures the experience when the boys grab their acoustic instruments and come down from the stage and play in the crowd.
The Blue Note Grill, 4125 Durham Chapel Hill Boulevard