Butcher Brown’s brand of warm, fuzzy, funky and raw jazz has been bringing friends and fans joy all year. First they played backing band to Braxton Cook for an EP, then they sang the praises of their fellow Richmond native D’Angelo by giving us a jam session cover of “Brown Sugar” and now they’re rounding out the year by releasing their new album GrownFolk. Following up their 2014 All Purpose Music debut, DJ Harrison, Corey Fonville, Andrew Randazzo and Keith Askey brought their A-game and have presented us with their most raw body of work yet. And believe it or not, they’re just getting started.
First and foremost, GrownFolk is the perfect title for this 20-track effort. The only thing more perfect than the title is the introduction on the opening track, done by Marcus Tenney (also known as Tennishu). His voice is the only one heard throughout the entirety of this album and it appropriately sets the scene for the ride that the boys of Butcher Brown are preparing to take you on. “Grown Intro” sounds like the beginning of your Auntie’s favorite late night slow jam radio show. That broadcast that plays the perfect sequence of so many of your favorite grooves that you sit in the car for a few extra minutes just so you can keep listening. GrownFolk is a funked up, jazzed up interpretation of that very show.
Straight out the gate, records like “Strollin’,” “Bailar,” “Studio 69,” “Pimp Cane” and “Tambourine Gypsy” will lead you to dancing right out of your clothes. Whether it’s a head nod here, a body roll there or even a full out two-step, you’re guaranteed to get your dance on like you’re wearing a white linen suit with a glass of your favorite brown drink in hand. There is something about the way that these talented musicians blend that evokes an undeniable groove in your spirit. Whether it’s Keith’s GRAMMY Award-winning guitar playing matched with Corey’s perfectly in-the-pocket drumming or Andrew’s blaring bass underneath DJ’s charming piano chords, every intricate piece of instrumentation is molded into one big serving of sound that will inevitably get you to move your feet.
If there were any possible downside to this album, which Thrash Flow is cleverly offering in cassette tape form, it would be that many of the tracks end way before you would like them to. Where the funky “JheriCurlJuice” and “Stop Fighting, Start Loving” tracks seem like full thoughts, “Stroke” and “Bank Robbery” come off as sketches that end quite abruptly. But by the time “Morning After” hits you, you’re left feeling like you didn’t miss a beat.
While their debut album All Purpose Music offered a genre-bending journey that exposed the different layers of Butcher Brown, GrownFolk finds the band zooming in on a specific sound and perfecting the moment. This album is equal parts intricate and romantic. If this is what these Virginian musicians can muster up for their sophomore album, Lord only knows what they’ll do next.