How could you possibly go wrong with an album that starts with a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues”? On top of great cover selections, Bill Iuso and the Restless Natives deliver some funky original material and an overall groovy live performance with Live at the Sandpiper Lounge.
Michael Burkart gets things going with some funky keys to start the original “Two Deep in the Shadows.” Iuso has a nice vocal range and definitely performs with deep, soulful conviction. The rollicking piano that kicks things off on “Crank It Off” keeps the action hot and the sound signature “N’awlins.”
Yet another great cover, The Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime,” starts off somewhat familiar, with spooky keys and a snappy drumbeat, before Iuso drops those unforgettable Byrne lyrics that completely seal the deal. This is one funky version of an iconic song, and though it feels different from the original, it still has a respectful semblance. Nearly two minutes in, Iuso begins to destroy his guitar with a massive solo. Crunchy riffs soar over top of Burkart’s funk filled keys and Thomas McDonald (Bass) and Bryan Besse’s (drums) backbone.
Track after track this album just continues to get better, a fun-filled effort showcasing great original material like “Earle” and stellar covers. If you love the Crescent City and have never heard the Restless Natives, this is a great place to start. If you have heard these cats, then you know you need this one. Either way I highly recommend picking it up.
And next time you are in “N’awlins” take a stroll away from the norm and catch these good timing local heroes.
Live at the Sandpiper Lounge is out now on Nawlins Music.