Tag Archive for 'Stefanie Berecz'

(Upcoming Release) Chicago R&B Powerhouse The Right Now Return With a Pop Twinkle in Starlight (out 2/24)

Never content with staying in one particular sound, Chicago R&B band The Right Now, has embraced a classic R&B sound over the years, but has also included more updated R&B elements. Even on their debut album Carry Me Home, there were stabs of synths and electronic percussion over the proceedings. Their following 7″ “If I Wanted To“/”I Am Who I Say I Am” we get a gritty and even distortion laden track maybe akin to a more soulful Black Keys. When they returned in 2012 with Gets Over You, most of the tracks had a distinct later-period Motown and Stax bent to them, but outlying track “Call Girl” was straight up late 70’s disco and even got the remix treatment from the Deep and Disco crew.

The Right Now returns in 2017 with a new album Starlight with a renewed sense of direction and passion. While the band still hangs on to the horns and brings the funk, they also are approaching the new album with an “all-killer, no-filler” album with an eye towards a modern R&B sound. CFO (Chief Funk Officer) Brendan O’Connell explains,

“Our goal was to fine-tune the songs and production to make every note count, every chorus big and memorable, and craft something really special,” says keyboardist/guitarist/bandleader Brendan O’Connell. “While I love what we achieved on the last album, I felt it was important to try to transcend the ‘retro soul’ genre and concentrate on writing the best songs I could for (lead singer Stefanie Berecz)’s voice.”

The album is available for pre-order from the band’s website, and includes a limited edition transparent blue vinyl pressing! While you’re there order the last two albums and the 7″es!

A Vote for Official Mother’s Day Anthem – “Before I Know Your Name”

Stefanie Berecz of the Right Now sings to her daughter in "Before I Know Your Name"

In my opinion some of the best songwriting produces songs that can work on multiple levels or interpretation. Today, in recognition of Mother’s Day and mothers everywhere, I propose that the “Official Mother’s Day Anthem” (if I don’t end up in some legal dispute with Hallmark Cards who may own the trademark on Mother’s Day) is “Before I Know Your Name” by Chicago R&B band The Right Now from their 2010 album Carry Me Home.
I’ve mentioned this song before when I wrote about the band. The song is typically interpreted by the casual listener as being sung by someone pining for a future love that she hasn’t met yet– the real meaning of this is still true, but that future love is Stefanie’s daughter! Lyrics like “I can feel you in me all the time” and “You’re the reason it’s so hard to sleep” take on such a clever turn of phrase, even the cynics in the crowd can’t help but smile.

Before I Know Your Name (written by Berecz/O’Connell)

Part of me pictured you this whole time
Never could believe that you could be mine
Saw a new life in your eyes
It never felt so real, it all feels different this time

You’re the truth behind what lies in me
You’re the reason it’s been so hard to sleep

I can feel you with me all the time
In the smallest ways and subtle signs
You give me feelings that I can’t deny
I feel us growing and it’s only time
Before I know your name

Child I must be glowing from head to toe
But if they only knew you’re the star of my show
I can’t wait ’til I can see you again
I’m counting down the days, so much inside my head

You’re the truth behind what lies in me
You’re the reason it’s been so hard to sleep

I can feel you with me all the time
In the smallest ways and subtle signs
You give me feelings that I can’t deny
I feel us growing and it’s only time
Before I know your name

So, Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and future mothers. We’re all here because of them. Play this song in tribute!

The Right Now – Carry Me Home (Review) & Upcoming Shows

I’m always concerned when an established band decides to change their name.

Chicago band The Right Now started life back in 2005 as R&B/Funk band Eli Jones and the Bare Bones by Brendan O’Connell. A live EP was recorded by this band in 2006. A few lineup changes and the addition of Stefanie Berecz as lead vocals prompted the truncating of the name to just Eli Jones. The album Make It Right was released in 2007 under this moniker while still continuing to hold true to the band’s R&B and Funk influences.

History shows that bands with names that seem like they would belong to one person tend to be confusing– just look at Jethro Tull, for example. Add in the fact that Eli Jones didn’t have the domain name for the band and the name was becoming somewhat cumbersome. So, it was the switch in name to The Right Now in 2009 that allowed the band to kind of re-invent itself. All of the fans of Eli Jones who had seen the high-energy shows in the small bars across Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa were going to follow the band even after the name change.

When I saw the band in December of 2008  at Mahoney’s in Cedar Rapids, they were still called Eli Jones, but had already incorporated a lot of the songs that would make up their new album which they had planned to release in 2009 into their live setsCarry Me Home is the first release by the band under it’s new name, and listening to the CD, I was taken back to that show with its memorable performances of “Ain’t Going Back,” “I Could Really Hold On,” “Doing Nothing,” “Carry Me Home,” “Nobody,” and “Before I Know Your Name.”

Getting ready for this review, I pulled out my copy of the Eli Jones album Make It Right for comparison. It’s an album I listened to quite a bit back when the band was rolling through the area. I thought it was really good– certainly the work of a band accomplished in R&B and Jazz, but felt ultimately  it didn’t capture the energy of their live set. Make It Right really seems to be the sound of a band in a transition– some of the tracks have the familiar throwback R&B strut, while other tracks evoke a more jazzy step.

Carry Me Home is the result of a very focused effort in the studio, apparently. The whole CD sounds like it was recorded in one marathon session– a balanced, almost live-to-tape sound. It has a polished production for certain, but not at the risk of the continuity. I find myself listening to the whole album when I put it on– I anticipate the next track at each song.

In some respects Carry Me Home is an album out-of-time– at once holding true to a retro R&B sound with its horns, stomps and claps and sneaking in a more current R&B edge in the form of lead singer Stefanie Berecz powerful lead vocals.

The album runs the gamut of emotion and energy from bright, sunny Tower-of-Powerish horn-driven songs like “You Will Know,” to the Motown harmony-mixed with clean funk picking “Before I Know Your Name” to the distinctly Southern R&B swing of “Doing Nothing” to the slow burner “Carry Me Home.” “Before I Know Your Name” was co-written by Stefanie and Brendan O’Connell (the conductor of this Soul Train) to her then-unborn child– the idea of which makes me smile when I listen to the lyrics.

The Right Now - 7 to 10 7"

It’s also worth noting that The Right Now also has a 7″ out of a non-album track “7 to 10”  which they recorded in Memphis in September 2009 at Scott Bomar’s Electraphoic Recording Studio live to 2″ 8-track tape! The flip is “The One You Love” from the album. On the return trip they took the master to Larry Nix at the legendary Ardent Studios who cut the plates. They hand-delivered the plates to United Record Pressing in Nashville and got a tour. Here is Brendan’s MySpace blog article about the experience (with video!).

It seems there are a lot of notable acts delivering the Stax/Motown-influenced sound today– Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings seems to be leading this front, certainly the last Amy Winehouse album (which uses members of the Dap-Kings), Joss Stone— so it takes a strong but distinguishable effort for a band to not get lost in the comparisons. It’s clear that The Right Now shows respect for the legacy of R&B, Soul and Funk that came before it, but in my opinion the band is building from that tradition.

One can consider the new band name as the answer to the question of what period of popular music they might draw from– no specific period, but obviously writing and performing in The Right Now.

The band just kicked off a run of shows which will bring them back to Eastern Iowa in April. On Friday, 4/16 they will be taping a second Java Blend show (the first as The Right Now), doing an on-air on IPR and hitting The Blue Moose Tap House. On Saturday, they’ll be performing at The Redstone Room in Davenport opening for Daphne Willis and hitting their favorite Iowa stop, Mahoney’s in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, 4/18.

Visit The Right Now Store to order Carry Me Home or the “7 to 10″ 7”

Click Here to visit The Right Now collection at archive.org for some streaming and downloadable live shows.

Click Here to visit The Right Now website.

Click Here to visit The Right Now Facebook Page

Here is where they Twitter.

Click Here for The Right Now on Bandcamp

Click Here for their last.fm page.

Click Here to visit The Right Now iLike page with videos and mp3’s.

Upcoming Shows (from MySpace):

Mar 8 2010    Bullfrog Brewery – CD Release Show!     Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Mar 10 2010     Puck Live – CD Release Show!     Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Mar 11 2010     Groove – CD Release Show!     New York, New York
Mar 12 2010     The Saint     Asbury Park, New Jersey
Mar 13 2010     Shadow Lounge – CD RELEASE SHOW!     Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Mar 18 2010     Vocalo 89.5FM – In-studio     Chicago, Illinois
Mar 18 2010     Fearless Radio – Live In-Studio     Chicago, Illinois
Mar 18 2010     WLUW – Radio Free Chicago (Interview)     Chicago, Illinois
Mar 19 2010     WGN Television     Chicago, Illinois
Mar 19 2010     Lincoln Hall – CD RELEASE SHOW!     Chicago, Illinois
Mar 26 2010     This Must Be The Place     Lemont, Illinois
Apr 9 2010     KSDK – Show Me St. Louis     Saint Louis, Missouri
Apr 9 2010     The Gramophone – CD Release Show!     St. Louis, Missouri
Apr 15 2010     The Frequency w/ Unicycle Loves You     Madison, Wisconsin
Apr 16 2010     Java Blend     Iowa City, Iowa
Apr 16 2010     KRUI 89.7 FM – In-studio     Iowa City, Iowa
Apr 16 2010     The Blue Moose Taphouse – CD Release Show!     Iowa City, Iowa
Apr 17 2010     Redstone Room     Davenport, Iowa
Apr 18 2010     Mahoney’s Pub     Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Apr 24 2010     Downtown Holland Groovewalk     Holland, Michigan
Apr 30 2010     Marly’s Pub – CD Release Show!     Springfield, Illinois
Apr 30 2010     Alice at 97.7 – Studio A Sessions     Springfield, Illinois
May 17 2010     Cosmic Charlies     lexington, Kentucky
May 20 2010     Rogue Tavern w/ Deep Fried 5     Birmingham, Alabama
Jun 4 2010     Upfront & Company     Marquette, Michigan
Jun 5 2010     Upfront & Company     Marquette, Michigan
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