2020 is feeling like the longest year ever, but that doesn’t mean that the summer will go without a feel good jam courtesy of Houston's soulful sweethearts, The Suffers. Their latest single “Take Me To The Good Times” will be out on June 24. It is the first single from their third album due out next year titled, It Starts With Love, It Ends With Love.
“Aside from it being upbeat, we picked it because it felt the most like a familiarity to what folks are used to hearing from us, but also sort of a departure from that sound. I think our next record is going to be a very different version of The Suffers, a very grown up version of us,” says lead singer Kam Franklin.
Fans obviously have not heard the new direction that the band is taking but Franklin sees “Take Me To The Good Times” as not only a reflection of their initial sound as a band, but also a sneak peek into the direction they are heading describing it as “a tribute to what we used to do as we get ready to show the world what we sound like now.”
The band recently celebrated their ninth year together and though they've experienced some changes from within, their original message of love and joy has not changed. The Suffers recently welcomed their new bassist, Juliet Terrill who plays on this track and the upcoming album.
The song eases listeners in with a quiet and warm piano joined by a soft drum intro that quickly turns into an upbeat and sunny dance track dripping with soul. Franklin’s booming voice sings the praises of cities around the world and of course, includes her hometown in the mix.
“Take Me To The Good Times” describes the joy Franklin gets in walking around before sound check, getting some time to herself while learning about local culture and looking for good food, no matter which city she is in.
The Suffers wrote the song with the help of some friends from the road, Steve Watkins and Moorea Masa. Watkins plays keyboards with Allen Stone and Masa previously sang backup with K.D. Lang and now fronts her own solo project.
“The idea was to have a song that shouted out to all of the cities that we love so much. We live in Houston and we’re from Houston however, when you don't spend most of your time in Houston, it's easy to develop a new life on the road.”
Franklin knows that she and her band have had the good fortune of being able to travel the world, seeing new cities and getting to know others from coast to coast and does not take these experiences for granted. "Take Me To The Good Times" plays out like a beautiful thank you card to all that have welcomed them along the way.
“All these places that have had such a tremendous impact not only on our career, but on us as people. It was really important to spend time not only reminiscing on all of these cities, but allow us as musicians to really just get this almost musical stress out of our bodies that we'd been holding onto for a while,” says Franklin.
Franklin admits that traveling the world as a multicultural band led by a black woman can come with its share of negative experiences ranging from people staring at truck stops to openly racist and sexist statements from concert organizers or promoters.
“We have to do the work to not only combat that, but to call it out and instill change within our own foundation and make up as a band. We are so grateful to be surrounded by a team that supports us but also isn't willing to put up with any bullshit or any intolerance from the folks that might try to bring that our way,” says Franklin.
“When we started writing this record the band was going through a lot of trauma, not only as people but as a business." The Suffers had their van with over $30,000 worth of equipment stolen while on the road last year.
"Anybody that has ever owned their own business will tell you about the trials and tribulations that you have to go through and so writing this song was almost like a reclaiming of our own joy. We’re going to find our own way to happiness because expecting someone to bring it to us, we would be waiting forever.”
The notion of going back in time to a better moment for everyone is a heavier topic now than when the band first wrote this song. Despite the added weight to their message due to the state of the world, Franklin remains optimistic that a positive message will always do good.
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“This song, while it’s super up, I think that's what we need. In my vision, a good time right now is the potential vision of seeing Breonna Taylor’s murderers being captured. That's my version of a good time right now however, I know that might come in the form of release, a walk or that first opportunity to dance with somebody again.”
Franklin adds, “I want to make sure that we are leaning towards the positive because that's what this song is about and I really do believe that good times are ahead. I think that we are going to have to work together as a society to achieve that overall happiness as a unit, but I don't think it's impossible.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Franklin has been holding steady with her weekly Saturday night live streams on their Facebook and Instagram accounts. She has been putting on amazing performances for twelve consecutive weeks but recently announced that her final solo performance for the time being will be Saturday, June 27.
"It's just a really special time to be in The Suffers. I hope that this song has as big of an impact on the public as it has had on us so far. We are really proud of it and it makes us want to dance, so we're hoping that it has that effect on other people.”