Southern Soul Assembly
The Sandler Center for the Performing Arts
Virginia Beach, VA
March 15, 2017
Photographer/Writer: Mark Robbins
In 2014 Southern root greats, Luther Dickinson, JJ Grey, Marc Broussard and Anders Osborne came together to form the side project Southern Soul Assembly. The sound was a colossal joining with Broussard’s “Bayou Soul”, Grey’s Florida blue collar funk, Osborne’s rugged blues from New Orleans and Dickinson’s smooth casual Beale St storytelling.
Once in a blue moon audiences have the opportunity to see collaboration projects like that of the Southern Soul Assembly. The Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach, VA, provided such an opportunity on March 15th when the southern quartet, SSA, cascaded on to the stage. The four long time friends performed in round, each showcasing their individual talents and occasionally joining in with each other.
The artists took turns singing or telling stories as if they were sitting on someone’s front porch just passing the time. After taking their seats on stage in a slightly curved line Broussard announced that he was told by the others he was going first and mesmerized the audience with, “Home” before passing the baton to Grey whom in turn passed it to Osborne. It was Dickinson who ended the first of the round-robin before the cycle was started again.
So it went for the next two hours, the Cajun dripping southerners came to sit a spell and filled the evening with storytelling, soulful tear-your-heart out blues and dazzling guitar work, especially from Osborne and Dickinson.
To end the evening Broussard came to center stage and sang an a cappella version of 1934’s, “For All We Know” to 700 people who became hypnotized by his booming voice and delivery. To say the evening ended too soon is an understatement, but there will be new stories in to tell next time these friends stop by.