Artist of the day: Green Sunshine
Green Sunshine is a self-described down and dirty, energetic hip hop band with a positive vibe and a positive message. For the last four years they’ve been spreading their genre-hopping blend of music to venues across Florida.
Their sound could be described as a hybrid of early-’90s hip hop, jam and a sprinkling of jazz. The septet draws inspiration from a cornucopia of influences: Parliament-Funkadelic, Ivan Neville, the Black Keys, Ella Fitzgerald, John Mayer, Tower of Power, Soulive, Jack McDuff, Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton, Karl Denson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Erykah Badu, the Bird and the Bee, Jack Johnson, Earth Wind and Fire and Stanton Moore, to name a few.
Their beginnings lay in Brick, N.J. Initially a hip hop duo known as Reason and Rhyme, founding members Emcee Reason and Emcee Rhyme were active in their local scene. Both attended the Recording Workshop, a school for audio engineering, which eventually led them to Florida. Here, they decided to put together an ensemble fueled by their eclectic influences.
One by one, members were culled from responses to ads posted on Craiglsist. The first was guitarist Justin Boza, with whom they began playing shows as a trio, with pre-recorded backing beats. The next addition was Johnny Nichols on trumpet, followed by Rodg Deep on bass and Jason Stander on Drums.
The lineup was complete when singer Motown Tea expressed an interest in collaborating with the group after a performance at the Pegasus Lounge in Tampa. After sitting in with them for a few gigs, she became a full-time member, rounding out their sound by adding a melodic element with her acid jazz-esque vocals.
With their ensemble fully formed and their arsenal fully loaded, Green Sunshine went into to work on a full-length album. The sessions have been taking place for the last six months at Red Room Recorders in Seminole Heights. Beyond that, they plan on playing and touring as much as possible.
“We’re very driven.” said Reason. “When you look at our calendar, we’re all business. We’re lookin’ to do it sooner than later. We’re touring the country, lookin’ to take everything by storm. We won’t be stopping, or slowing down.”
Asked to describe themselves in a few sentences, Stander summed it up thusly: “It’s feel-good music. That’s a term that a lot of cats in New Orleans use to describe it. Louis Armstrong said there’s only two kinds of music: good music and bad music. If you pat your foot and shake your ass to it, it’s good music. We’re trying to be that good music.”
Green Sunshine performs Saturday at the Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; Wednesday at the Blueberry Patch, 4923 20th Ave. S, St. Petersburg (admission is $5); and Thursday at Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin.
-- Aaron Lepley, tbt*