T-Bird and the Breaks

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There is good news and bad news with this post. The good news is I found an excellent new band. The bad news is the band has already broken up. With all due respect to Muddy Waters who famously sang “You Can’t Lose What You Never Had,” that is precisely the state in which I find myself, feeling the loss of something I didn’t have time to internalize fully.

T Bird and the Breaks are – I mean, were – a band from Austin, Texas formed in 2007. The band recorded three excellent records, blending all kinds of styles to create what they called “chunk” music. According to the band, “chunk” music is “a form of twenty-first century American music consisting of equal parts funk, hip-hop, and rock and roll characterized by its rough sonic quality and energetic, visceral performance. Commonly served hot with a side of girls and brass.” Fine Tuning fans familiar with St. Paul & The Broken Bones may hear something they like here, although the music is more funk than Motown. Think more James Brown and less Otis Redding. I also hear the Beastie Boys (particularly on “Rock That Skull”) and Fine Tuning favorite, Julius Popper.

I would start with “Livin’ With Love” from the band’s final record, Harmonizm (2015). See what you think.

Next, I would slide into “Paranoia For Ya” from Never Get Out of This Funk Alive (2011), the most solid of the band’s records start to finish, in my view. Be sure to stick around for the blistering guitar solo that concludes the track.

Other notable songs include “Juju Baby” from the same record and “Two Tone Cadillac” from Learn About It (2009). The latter was the track that initially caught my ear, with lead singer, Tim “T-Bird” Crane, channeling James Brown in a big way.

It’s too bad these guys called it quits. Their mashed-up funk sound was really something unique. Luckily, the music lives on even if the band doesn’t.

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