“Vince Junior Band makes music that we'd like to hear when we go out to wind down, dance, or throw a few back,” says guitarist and singer Vince Junior of Vince Junior Band. “I love that Muscle Shoals sound of bass, drums, Fender Rhodes, and a Fender guitar. Simple, soulful, and funky. We just try to make that sound our own”
Vince Junior Band has been together since 2015, playing around the Asheville area. “I think we have a unique blend of genres. You’ll hear the flavors of blues, funk, Louisiana, Reggae, and Soul, coupled with some unusual topics.”
Indeed, at a recent Vince Junior Band show, the audience heard a surf version of a Jimi Hendrix song, a Reggae Beatles number, an original song about a 69 Camaro, and another original tune that could double as a pasta recipe. And surprisingly, they all sound like they belong together. “I try to write about topics that I don’t hear people write about,” says Junior. “The hardships of parenting, getting older, working all day and pursuing the dream with little fuel left.”
Vince Junior does have some credentials under his belt. He’s shared the stage with Robert Cray and Paul Geremia, won a Parents’ Choice award for his CD of children’s music, and was a finalist in the Cape Fear Blues Competition. He’s also an elementary school teacher in Asheville City schools by day. He’s a winner of the USA Today All USA Teacher Team. And he’s also a former Peace Corps Volunteer, an original cast member of the New York Off Broadway hit, Tony ‘n Tina’s wedding, husband, and father to two high schoolers.
With a voice that some have compared to Tom Waits and Greg Brown, Vince Junior has some pretty impressive guitar skills. “I’ve always played with my fingers, and with a Stratocaster through a tube amp, that can get a pretty sweet sound,” says Junior. “And with this new band, I’m working on bringing in some of that Steve Cropper, Cornell Dupree, and James Burton styles.”
The band is rounded out by Noah Pitts on keyboards. “He can get a groove going that just makes the sound so soulful,” says Junior. “He finds these really interesting riffs that just make the song sound familiar and new at the same time. Sort of like new shoes that feel already broken in.”
With Bert Handy on bass and David Cohen on drums, the rhythm section is tight, simple but interesting. “We work hard on getting really cohesive arrangements. This is not a band that just jams to three chords. Every measure, every note, every lyric has to serve the groove and melody of the song. We all are constantly trying to make the arrangements unique and swinging so hard you’d have to get up and dance,” says Junior.