If you’re looking for some R&B/soul jams, look no further because straight out of the Bay Area comes State of Health, the third album of five-piece group Idiot Grins, featuring the glorious backing vocals and harmonies of The Byrd Sisters. Fans of Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley will really go for the funk and class of the album, which dropped just last month.
Signed under Snug Harbor, Idiot Grins is comprised of Michael Conner (organ, piano, clarinet, harmonica, synths), Evan Eustis (bass, background vocals, mandolins, lead vocal), John Hansen (lead vocals, background vocals, electric piano, accordion), Michael Melgoza (drums, background vocals), and Randy Strauss (guitar, lap steel). The quintet released their first album Quarry back in 2010, followed by the critically acclaimed Big Man a few years later.
State of Health adds a bit more to their sound: more of a rock vibe; a wider range of instrumentation with a vibrant horn/winds section lead by Johnny Bamont, pedal steel by Joe Goldmark, and additional percussion; and the addition of The Byrd Sisters, Lena Byrd-Miles, Lisa Byrd, and Lauren Byrd. A little background on The Byrd Sisters: having music in their blood from both sides of their family, the trio started singing at their local church in 1992 and worked their way up—training with their mother Debra Starks-Byrd—to their first project “Christmas with the Byrd Sisters” in 2007. Over the years, they have attracted the ears of many with their gorgeous, traditional sound.
Speaking of attracting eager listeners, Idiot Grins has garnered quite the list of positive reviews from sources like The Huffington Post, Tattoo.com, Spill Magazine, Music-News, Contemporary Fusion, VinylMag, MoxiPop, Skope Mag, and Libro Musica, boasting of the fun energy and soul of the band’s albums. Do yourself a favor and join in on the fun by following the links below to learn more about and keep an eye out for the future of Idiot Grins.