Luella and the Sun @ Off Broadway, St. Louis, MO

Words and pictures by Duane Clawson
In this time of copycat and rip off bands, it’s always nice to find an unearthed diamond.  On outward appearances, Luella and the Sun would seem to be following the path made by the current crop of female-fronted bands such as Florence and the Machine or Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.  But Luella is on a path that goes in a slightly different direction, a path leads to your musical soul. Luella lends a unique voice to songs that are hard to label.  Some songs are blues-based while others sound like they could have been written in an Egyptian caravan crossing the Sahara Desert.  Luella, aka Melissa Mathes, along with guitarist Joe McMahan, drummer Jon Radford, and bassist Adam Bednarik, have received accolades this year from NPR stemming from their performances at SXSW.

Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, Off Broadway scheduled Luella and the Sun as the middle band, which somehow didn’t fit as a local cover band was the headliner.  Luella’s voice appears to be powerful by its self but while onstage, she resorts to a two microphone setup that produces somewhat of a megaphone effect that only enhances the raw talent that is already there.  McMahan is another element of this band that could be considered an unearthed diamond, playing one of the dirtiest sounding guitars I’ve heard in a long time.  This versatile group can show its spiritual side with songs such as “Fly So Free”, which showcases an acapella breakdown by Luella and Joe’s aforementioned dirty guitar.  The band has needed some recent spiritual guidance as a fire destroyed McMahan’s home studio in June of this year.  A recent benefit was held in Nashville to aid in the rebuilding of this respected guitarist and producer’s studio.  Only good things are on the horizon for this fast rising band.  They will be playing for the first time in New York later this month and gaining exposure through a series of music festivals.  Thanks to Luella and the Sun, Matt Bury, Thirty Tigers, and Off Broadway for allowing us coverage of this show.  Pictures of the show are below:

Contributed by Duane Clawson
Luella and the Sun @ Off Broadway, St. Louis, MO Luella and the Sun @ Off Broadway, St. Louis, MO Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on August 03, 2013 Rating: 5
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