Tomar and the FC’s are encouraging everyone to rise above all the noise with a little bit of love and a lot of soul. The Austin-based soul quintet just released their highly anticipated sophomore album Rise Above this month. They celebrated in their hometown with a sold out show at Antone’s and will mark the occasion in Houston Friday, February 21 at the Continental Club with Madeline Edwards opening the show.
“It will be the full Tomar and the FC’s revue, if you’ve never seen that I highly recommend checking out the show because it'll be horns, backup singers, the whole works,” says drummer Paul Kresowik. Tomar and his Funky Caucasians always bring the party and lift people up, it’s what has made them fan favorites in Austin and Houston. The band is signed with Houston-based Splice Records.
Their live performances leave audiences sweaty, smiling and satisfied. Lead singer Tomar Williams has had his share of practice on stage, playing music since the young age of 11 and touring the famous Chitlin’ Circuit, a safe haven for black performers during segregation.
With Rise Above, Tomar and the FC’s successfully captured the toe tapping, hip shaking sound that has built their fan base. The band managed to bottle up all of that vivacity into their latest release with a dynamic sound that though based in soul, includes elements of rock, funk and R&B.
“I feel like we went a different direction with the soul of this album," says Williams. "We still have a variety on the album, which we are known for now. We can definitely give you a little mixture of a little of this and a little of that, but this album actually stretched a little bit more,” he adds.
The band's previous release, Heart Attack helped cement their place in the Texas soul scene and Rise Above will no doubt only add flames to the fire. One change for the band was writing all the material without including the horn section but later adding horns in the studio, amplifying the band's already juicy sound with a rich layer of warmth.
“Albums are kind of like a bridge in a way where you're taking the sound from where you were, to where you’re going. There's a little bit on there from the period of Heart Attack, a little bit from the period where we were writing it and a little bit from where we are headed,” says Kresowik.
The title track “Rise Above” is a call to arms to shut out unnecessary friction and try to add positivity to life any way possible. The song has an old school vibe and the friendly warmth of your neighborhood bar.
The whole album rings with messages of love and tackles the issues surrounding the complicated feeling; whether that be romantic, friendly or just about loving each other in society and respecting man kind.
“I think that’s what’s good about the album is there's a balance of songs about the tough parts of relationships and songs about the good sides,” says Kresowik. “Innocence” narrates the beginning of a spark between friends and love gone awry. The video was filmed in Austin’s White Horse bar and features two dancers playing out the scene.
“Love makes the world go around and to be honest we've got enough of that other stuff going on already,” says Williams. “I am a strong believer and I think music has an amazing appeal on how the world is toned,” he adds.
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“We all need a little bit of that now,” says Kresowik. “It’s easy to get down with everything that’s going on in the world. Tomar talks about this at shows when we play that song, but it's nice to have a space where we can all enjoy something and have some community as opposed to all the divisiveness that’s going on.”
Tomar and the FC’s plan on bringing the love to Houston this Friday. “‘I’m excited for this show particularly because I know what Splice brings with these parties. They really have a great crowd that comes out,” says Kresowik.
“I love the Houston Continental Club, they’ve been so great to us over the years. They were our third show as a band. I would really love to have a huge crowd out there and have them make a bunch of money for all the times they booked us and probably lost a bunch of money,” he laughs. Adding, “It’s a special spot. Houston is lucky to have a club with people like that.”
Tomar and the FC's will perform with Madeline Edwards, February 21 at the Continental Club, 3700 Main, doors open at 8 p.m. $15-20