WELCOME TO BAGTOWN!
Come along with us to a funky soulful place called Bagtown. Fun is the orbit we're on, and fun is what's in the bag!
"The Shooz have gone back to their roots with BagTown, an unpretentious helping of straight-ahead funk with no frills. Driven by flavorful subtlety and laid back vigor, the now 12 members-strong outfit conveys a simple message of positivity and good times on nine cuts that embellish a phat bottom with light pepperings of jazz and pop. Highly Recommended." - Soul Tracks
In 2014, the beast awakened…Nu Shooz reunited for the first time since 1989 to gig around the Pacific Northwest as the large well-oiled funk machine they initially were. Those shows turned on a switch in John and Valerie and they began to mastermind music in their home studio. In fevered creativity, John created a symphonic piece. As the mad scientist worked, lunch bags strewn around the studio began to envelop him. Taking pause to realize the incongruity of his composition with Nu Shooz, something special came to the forefront.
“I realized there was something of an art installation happening. I started making cardboard buildings and bag people. I built a bag city,” John says laughing good-naturedly. “That inspired the music, I began to imagine the music that would play in this bag town. Once the bags started partying the record just came out - Blam.”
Ironically, this imaginary world liberated John and Valerie to explore the music that’s been close to their heart since the beginning—a mélange of funk, R&B, soul, and jazz.
BagTown is a thoughtfully crafted album of nine songs culled from 33 newly penned tracks. Aesthetic touchstones include the sophisticated harmonic structure of Coltrane pianist McCoy Tyner and Steely Dan, the infectious hooks of classic 1960s and 1970s soul, the stanky bass-heavy grooves of P-Funk and James Brown, and sumptuous vocal arrangements signature to Manhattan Transfer.
This is the album Nu Shooz dreamed of making in the late 1970s. BagTown exists under chordal backdrop that sets a unifying mood. Within this vibe, Nu-Shooz explores the percolating funk of “The Real Thing” and “Soul Cushion,” the Go-Go tinged “Way Outside,” the neo-soul slow burn of “Tell Me A Lie,” and the campfire balladry of “The Rail I Ride,” among other musical bags…pun intended.
And Nu Shooz would love for you to come along for the ride…
Produced by John Smith
Musicians: Valerie Day, Gary Fountaine, Tracey Harris, Sean Holmes, Haley Horsfall, Mike Horsfall, Tim Jensen, Margaret Linn, Paul Mazzio, Johnny Riley, John Smith, Dave Captein.
Recorded: 10.28.14 to 3.20.16 at EVOLUTIONLab, Portland, Oregon
Mixed by Gregg Williams at The TRENCH, Portland, Oregon
Mastered by: Gus Elg at Sky Onion Mastering
Cover Art: Malcolm Smithmalcolmsmithartist.com
All songs by John R. Smith © 2016 Nu Shooz Orchestra LLC, BMI
Thanks: Bailey Dee, Casey Phelps, Justin Huggins, Spirit Music Group