Alex City Jazz Fest – The AMP
August 8 | 6:00 pm - 10:30 pm
On to night two! Saturday at The AMP the fun and talent continues! He was a River Boat Captain, but after getting caught in a storm in the Gulf of Mexico while piloting a paddle wheeler he was delivering to Montgomery he gave up the wheelhouse for a harp and has been playing his brand of blues since. A member of the Alabama Blues Hall of Fame John Bull is used to entertaining and has put together a talented band of blues musicians that will have you tapping a toe! The John Bull Band kicks things off at 6pm!
John Bull Band Snippet
Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics formed 2006, in Gainesville, Florida. They soon left behind the Florida college town, and headed for Atlanta, where they found a vibrant and eclectic music scene that embraced them with open arms. What is their genre? Good question! SOUL! Or how about deep, raw funk. Stax-style Southern soul. Uplifting Motown-channeling anthems. Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics are much more than just a group of soul revivalists trying to create a period piece. Powerhouse singer Velle and her band will settle for nothing less than bringing these classic sounds glimmering into the now with a fresh new modern sheen.
They have made a name for themselves captivating audiences with their stirring live performances, and are a world-class modern soul revue topped off by Velle’s sultry voice, as she smoothly goes between R&B tunes and expertly belted barn-burning get-downs that can instantly change a roomful of wallflowers into a wild dance party.
As the band continues to evolve their goal is to try and “separate ourselves from the soul-revivalist set,” Velle says. “We’re bringing new things to the table while still being soulful and authentic. You might not expect it, but a lot of my affinity for singing comes from Paul Simon. I want to be a storyteller. I’m not afraid to bring a folk mentality into the soul genre. We set ourselves apart with our lyrics and our unerring stance for positivity. We want to be a pillar of the soul genre, not just a representation of what it once was.”
Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics will take the stage at 7:30
Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics Snippet
And closing the night is Heather Gillis!
Gillis, a Nashville-based blues rocker from Florida, is the complete package as a guitar player, lap steel player, songwriter, singer and arranger. She and her band have the stage presence and confidence to appeal to a variety of musical tastes be it rock, soul, jazz, roots or gospel. At 23 years old, Heather has not only formed a following at a local level, but has played alongside and befriended members of The Allman Brothers Band, Col Bruce Hampton, The Lee Boys, North Mississippi All-Stars, Matt Schofield, and many more.
In 2015, Gillis was recruited by legendary Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks to be a member of his touring outfit, Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band. During this time people saw that Trucks had a secret weapon in his band and a buzz started about Gillis’ talents. In early 2017, The Freight Train Band had a full touring schedule and Gillis had planned to spend most of her time on the road touring with them throughout the year. That’s when she received the shocking news of Trucks’ untimely death.
Without warning, Gillis had to switch gears and come up with a game plan. She relocated from the Tampa area to Atlanta and put together an all-new band. Now, she has settled in with the music community in Nashville.
“My songs come to me in different ways. Sometimes, I’ll be walking around the house and I start singing. Then, I’ll add a melody later. Other songs might start with just a riff.
“My live show is mostly originals. I do play two covers – songs by Willie (Nelson) and Waylon (Jennings). I’m touring now with a four-piece band – bass, drums, a second guitar player and me. It’s a really good band.”
Heather’s set begins at 9pm on Saturday night!
Heather Gillis Snippet