New Orleans was a hotbed for music long before Lil’ Wayne or even Master P put it on the hip-hop landscape; it’s the birthplace of jazz, has roots deep in blues and rock & roll, and the sounds of its culture permeate all through popular music. With history as its foundation, Water Seed melded together to become a collective that bends genre, but never compromises its musical integrity. When Hurricane Katrina ravished the Crescent City, it may have destroyed property, but it could not rob the people of their spirit, their culture and their music.
The culture and spirit of New Orleans is no more present than it is in the music of Water Seed, a collective of musicians born through songwriting, bred on the live scene in NOLA and cemented in the legacy of a tragedy. Lou Hill, drummer and de facto leader, has the unenviable task of harnessing the creativity of the six-member ensemble into the unified sound that is Water Seed. Having apprenticed to the sounds of the city and made his bones in some of the top bands around, Hill knew that this band had the potential for greatness and made it his full-time gig.
Water Seed is not a band that gets together and jams, but rather has a shared vision of musicianship that worked its way to Washington, D.C. and learned the ins and outs of the business before returning to New Orleans. That time in D.C. allowed the band to create their own template for how their music and, more importantly, how their brand will be presented to the public.
On the cusp of releasing their second project Two Words, their lives were changed forever as Hurricane Katrina swept through their home and the band made their way to Atlanta. Atlanta has been headquarters for the band over the last seven years, as they’ve regrouped and refocused, putting out a constant stream of music in Katrina’s wake. Their latest project, Wonder Love, is the telling of a complex love story, the celebration of the emotion and the action. The band’s influences are felt throughout the album, as there’s soul, rock, funk, hip-hop, blues, and of course jazz providing the soundtrack to their odyssey built around ardor.
Vocalist Shaleyah Grant says it’s the band’s “building on what’s classic” about their sound that makes this album special to the group. They’ve put together a suite that’s relatable, because of an approach that allowed the band to make music that was personal to each member and identifiable by listeners. Abel Johnson is among the newest members to the fold, but has an electric energy that plays into the family-like atmosphere, undoubtedly giving Hill headaches as he tries navigate the sessions.
“Flexibility, without losing integrity”
Water Seed is playing the music they believe is needed, a sound that is returning to the forefront, live musicianship and an ownership over their sound that comes from being masters. They’re taking advantage of the new industry, promoting and sharing their music via social media and tearing down live show after show ahead of the release of Wonder Love.
To stay current with Water Seed and hear music from their catalog and snippets from their upcoming release, visit www.WaterSeedMusic.com or visit Facebook.com/water-seed and follow the band on Twitter (@waterseed).
Between rhetoric and reality is where you’ll find Al-Lateef Farmer: Black man, husband, social documentarian, and slinger of Soul by the pound. His brand of social commentary rooted in independent thought can be found at http://worldaccording2teef.com, and on Twitter @wrldacrdng2teef.