Dig Baton Rouge

It’s All Gravy

By Pat Gunther

New Orleans’ funk collective Gravy will be laying it on thick this Saturday evening at Chelsea’s Café. The quartet comprised of talented Southeasterners Marcus Burrell, Stephen Kelly, Aaron Walker and Chris Dibenedetto fuses together influences like D’Angelo, Pink Floyd, Radiohead and The Meters to create a sound that has become a mainstay in the Chocolate City’s live music scene. “Playing live always teaches you to feel,” keyboardist Chis Dibenedetto told me, “How to feel the music, your instrument, the audience in front of you, and the spirit in the air. You capture little different musical ideas that would never happen without the spontaneity of it being live.”

But, with no studio album since 2011’s The Hard Way, Gravy has been hard at work providing fans in the Red Stick with even more of their signature and hands on soul-food rock. “We love Baton Rouge because the audience is just so warm and receptive,” guitarist Steve Kelly said, “They’re used to seeing a lot of good music regularly, so it raises the bar for us in terms of the quality of our live show.  Basically, if they like you in BR, you know it’s genuine, and you can feel that in the crowd.”

Using their live shows as a litmus test has proved to be very valuable to the men of Gravy, not only on stage, but also in the recording booth. In addition to Gravy’s ability to riff off of the crowd and one another, the quartet has been hard at work on their 3rd official LP. “We just wrapped up the work on our third album, which we’ll be releasing soon,” Dibenedetto said, “And we’ll tour in support of that and all that good stuff, but we’re always working on new stuff.  It’s a constant process, and that’s one thing that we all really enjoy about this group.”

In the meantime, however, Gravy will continue to bring intriguing and well-thought out set lists to the stage in hopes of having the audience ebb and flow with each and every track they play. “The whole reason you play live is to give someone a certain feeling,” Dibenedetto explained to me, “and the way that you arrange your set is important to how effective you are in eliciting that feeling. It’s the yin and yang of music.”

So, when fans fill Chelsea’s and guzzle down their beers and po’boys, Gravy will be well prepared for a night of energetic, authentic Louisiana music. “Hopefully, they come out and enjoy an awesome night of music with their friends,” Steve Kelley wished, “and leave feeling like they’ve experienced something that was worthy of their time, money and attention.”


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