Long ago, a cape-less hero thought it would be a great idea to record a live concert so that it could be enjoyed later. Thanks to that person’s incredible ingenuity, we have been blessed with the ability to relive live music moments that otherwise would have been lost to history.
Taking full advantage of this marvel of modern musical recording ability is North Carolina’s own Marvelous Funkshun with their recently released live set from 2019’s Floydfest. Relatively unknown outside of the Southeast United States, this set very well may prove why they deserve to expand that reach to the rest of the continent and beyond.
Pedal steel guitar will always draw comparisons to Robert Randolph, but these guys draw inspiration from everywhere. With hints of early Tea Leaf Green, Widespread Panic, and The Allman Brothers Band, Marvelous Funkshun has a sound that is deeply rooted in southern rock but is in no way confined by any genre restraints real or imaginary.
This set in was a great look into what the band is capable of particularly with their ballsy covers of songs that a lot of bands are afraid to touch. Their unique Southern sound added new dimensions to songs like “Hey Joe” made famous by the Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Staple Singers “I’ll Take You There”. It is beyond refreshing to hear these standards not only live but performed in a way that sets them apart from the hundreds of other covers that came before them.
My favorite part of the set was a cover of The Grateful Dead’s “Shakedown Street”. I’ve always thought that if Jerry were still alive today, he wouldn’t want to hear his songs done the same way he and the boys did them but would instead prefer to hear distinctive versions as often possible. Marvelous Funkshun dropped a funky, driving interpretation that highlighted not only the pedal steel, but the soaring organ and guitar solos that would have made Captain Trips proud.