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Smoove and Turrell Reppin’ Northern Coal at Canadian Music Week

It’s cold and raining snow outside when it should be sunny and warm by this time of year. Trump just won more states in this nutbag of a U.S. presidential primary. “Bad News” notifications keep popping up on my mobile. I need to escape. I need relief. I settle into a bar stool at a favourite haunt, whip out the laptop, and click on Smoove & Terrell’s “Beggerman” video. Oh, yeah…

The track was released in 2009, around the time of the worldwide economic crisis. The catharsis delivered by this deep groove, booty shaking, Newcastle-based modern soul outfit is undeniable and timeless. The dark cloud lifts as lead singer John Turrell croons with comforting lyrics, “Don’t let the bad times get you down / The good times will come back around!”

While the weather is still crappy out, by now the mood has shifted upwards. I have an Irish coffee, warm Udon soup, and more Smoove & Terrell tracks to eat up. “Slow Down” has Terrell, Smoove (percussion) and the boys – Lloyd Croft (Drums), Andy Champion (Bass), and Mike Porter (Keyboards) – out for a night of scratch bowling, blowing out any remnants of doom and gloom, rocketing the desire to jump up, dance and kiss strangers.

If Soul Train was still around, it’s easy to envision Don Cornelius introducing Smoove & Terrell, “And you can bet your last money, it’s all gonna be a stone gas, honey!” as the stylistic, fantabulous crowd gets down to “Be Mine Tonight.”

The elements of 90s acid jazz are deniable, but it’s the unique way in which the group twists tastes of classic soul, funk, vintage hip-hop, and modern dance beats, pouring the whiskey-spiked cream of Turrell’s vocals over top, which makes for a patent-ready recipe that has continued to catapult this band’s ballistic rise through the years.

Having received acclaim of Record of the Week by BBC Radio 2 for their debut, Antique Soul (2009), then moving into international playlists with the sophomore Eccentric Audio (2011), including MTV Europe and Virgin Media, and then entering the TV and film licensing world with the third album, Broken Toys (2014), each record and year drives the group’s momentum.

In 2016 Smoove and Turrell are working on their forth release, Crown Posada, due out in September on Jalapeño Records, the label that’s been with the group since the beginning and is home to Kraak & Smaak, Kid Crème, and Basement Freaks.

Heading to Canadian Music Week (May 2-8, 2016) for the first time, Smoove and Turrell have a series of showcases lined up:

May 4 – Mothers w/ Special Guests, Adelaide Hall 8pm        
May 6 – UKTI Music is GREAT Britain, The 300 Club, 12am
May 7 – CMW Showcase, UG3, 12am

As testament to their supportive fan base, Smoove and Turrell were able to successfully raise the £5,000 in funds needed to get the entire S&T entourage to Toronto and cover expenses during CMW. It was the band’s manager, Ema Nosurak, who approached them with the idea to go the crowdfunding route; one they’d never taken before.

Smoove was admittedly skeptical, but he had to change his tune when after only two days from the campaign’s launch, fans had already paid £2,500 into their goal. “I was massively surprised when the money started coming in and we’ve nearly hit our target and I wasn’t expecting us to reach £2,000,” he told ChronicalLive. “The support from our fans has been really phenomenal.”

There’s no doubt that North America is primed and ready for the Northern Coal invasion, with a new batch of fans to be had.


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