It’s going to take more than a Category 3 hurricane to break Blues Funeral’s stride. The most serious wailing winds at White Oak Music Hall are likely to be billowing out of a Hammond organ tonight when the
The timing could have been better, considering. White Oak Bayou is undoubtedly on the rise. But you don’t just cancel an album-release show at the city’s premiere music palace in case of a natural disaster. Especially when you’ve been waiting to share songs that have just about been in the can for two years already.
“The album was basically almost written in full by the time we hit the studio for The Search, so most of the material was already worked up and ready to go,” says Blues Funeral guitarist Maurice Eggenschwiler. “We really had the goal in mind to try to get back in the studio within a year of the first album to get this one out there.”
The band’s growing fan club is ready for it. Hell, they’ve been waiting for new albums like this since the ‘70s ended — or at least since the last Uriah Heep album. A few dozen hurricanes couldn’t wash away all of the throwback heavy-metal bands jamming in Houston, but Blues Funeral throws back farther than most. The group has a deep love for Deep Purple’s heavy, harmonic heyday, and with all those keys onstage, they’re hard to miss.
“There’s not a lot of folks that are experimenting with vocal harmonies, especially in a metal context or anything remotely relatable to that — especially live,” Eggenschwiler says. “There’s a lot of folks that we play with that I
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Eggenschwiler and Jan Kimmel, Blues Funeral’s keyboard- and guitar-playing lead vocalist, have found that vibe to be fertile creative grounds. They first began experimenting with
This would be a different kind of metal band.
“For a long time prior to Blues Funeral, we didn’t really have a creative outlet to experiment with the more melodic ideas that have found their way into this band,” Eggenschwiler says. “In large part, I think it’s just been the idea that there’s no restraint on what’s possible musically in the confines of Blues Funeral.
“If a song takes form and it’s got more of a metal tonality to it, that’s fine,” he continues. “If a song takes form and it feels more like ‘60s–‘70s pop in the vein of Cream or Thin Lizzy — a little
He’s not kidding. Album No. 2 drops tonight, and Eggenschwiler says No. 3 is already written, too. Awakening sounds very much like a natural continuation of the band’s debut; the Hammond organ is still out front alongside those twin guitar harmonies. It’s no retread, though. Blues Funeral took some real time to experiment in the studio with this one, and they came up with some pretty fun new ideas, introducing piano, female vocals, and touches of world music to the densely layered mix.
The song “Casimir,” inspired by the old Jewish quarter of Krakow known as Kazimierz where Kimmel spent some time growing up, even includes a whiff of klezmer music.
“We ended up blending that with some strong, exotic Latin vibes, which we tried to bring out with some Eastern scales and things like that in the song,” Eggenschwiler says. “Jan even played some finger cymbals just to really give it that exotic flair.”
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No word on whether those finger cymbals will make an appearance at White Oak tonight, but Blues Funeral will be playing Awakening in full, and probably writing a few new songs while they’re doing it, just for fun. Safe to say they’re more than ready for you to hear it.
“We’re really excited about sharing some of this material with
“Now that we’ve moved into the second record and listed the sophomore curse, it’s all flowing very naturally.”
Blues Funeral debuts Awakening tonight at White Oak Music Hall with Doomstress and Fiddle Witch and the Demons of Doom. $10. Doors open at 7 p.m.; $10.