“This ain’t no boy band” declared one member of the Southern Soul Assembly, prompting a hearty round of laughter. Fans of these singer-songwriter-instrumentalists, each acclaimed in his own right, might instead call them a super-group.
The Southern Soul Assembly is: Marc Broussard, a golden-voiced Cajun, JJ Grey, frontman for Florida soul/funk/rock band Mofro, Luther Dickenson, fret-phenom and founding member of the North Mississippi Allstars, and Anders Osborne, a blues-infused New Orleans transplant from Sweden.
A tour de force for the first time, the group performed a pair of sold-out XRT shows Tuesday night at S.P.A.C.E. in Evanston. But they may as well have been playing on the front porch back home with a yard full of friends, given their easy-going, but ever-surprising blend of acoustic songs, styles, stories and smiles.
Each man dipped into his own impressive song bag, allowing his talents to shine, while the others contributed complimentary improvisations. The interplay clicked, whether on Broussard’s gorgeous “Lonely Night in Georgia,” Osborne’s contemplative “Peace,” Dickerson’s just-released “Blood ‘n Guts” or Grey’s “Hurricane.”
As busy as they are with their own bands and projects, who knows if the four will tour again or record as the Southern Soul Assembly. But for now they are living it to the hilt and sharing the good time with all who are lucky enough to see them.