Powerhouse soul-funk band Saskwatch are set to release their début LP, Leave It All Behind, this August 17 through Northside Records/Shock. And it’s not just local punters who are eagerly awaiting the release, with luminaries chart-topping R&B star Daniel Merriweather and soul legends Earth, Wind and Fire adding their voices to the chorus of praise for the Melbourne nine-piece.
Saskwatch were first spotted by Merriweather at the internationally renowned Cherry Bar in their home town of Melbourne. “I walked into the bar and was instantly fixated by them; singer Nkechi Anele has some monster pipes, there is some really great songwriting going on and they’re a super-tight band," says Merriweather.
The band were also hand-picked to support Earth, Wind and Fire after the hit-makers heard a CD of their tunes featuring Nkechi’s sublime vocals. Said Nkechi of the experience, “Earth, Wind & Fire were really supportive and loved our sound and stage presence. Watching them was a great example of how to be a band that lasts the test of time.” Trumpeter and songwriter Liam McGorry agreed, saying: “The guys from Earth, Wind and Fire were amazing, so enthusiastic. They told us that they thought we killed it on stage and were really, really good. We feel very honoured to have worked with them.”
BBC 6 Music DJ, Craig Charles, has also declared himself a fan. After playing tracks from their new album he said: “I’m not sure what they’re putting in the water in Australia but it is creating some excellent outfits and Saskwatch are the latest addition. This is a top-class album.”
Starting out as a group of mutual friends studying music together at university, Saskwatch honed their skills busking out the front of Flinders Street Station. Covering their favourite soul and R&B tunes, while developing songs of their own, the band gradually made the transition from playing on the street to playing in venues across town, including Cherry Bar, where they’ve just finished up a three year residency at the bar’s famed Soul Thursdays.
During this time, the band have gone from playing to a handful of people to supporting Earth, Wind & Fire, James Brown trumpeter Maceo Parker and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, as well as playing The Falls and Golden Plains festivals.
The band recently sold out their single launch at Melbourne’s Ding Dong Lounge and will be spending August overseas as guests of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where they will be playing The Famous Spiegeltent. Saskwatch return home for a national tour this September/October.
On the recorded music front, since the release of single ’Don’t Wanna Try’ in late 2011, Saskwatch’s stock on the local scene has been rising daily. Latest single ‘Your Love’ scored high rotation at Triple J on release as well as hitting the #2 spot on AIRIT’s most ordered chart. Additions to both Radar Radio and ABC stations nationwide have only further cemented Saskwatch’s reputation as a band to watch this 2012.
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‘I’d love to see more’ – Gabriel Hubert (Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
“I’m not sure what they’re putting in the water in Australia but it is creating some excellent outfits and Saskwatch are the latest addition. This is a top-class album.” – Craig Charles (BBC 6)
‘Brilliant’ – Daniel Merriweather
“Saskwatch is leading the next generation of funk in the world right now. Get on board the soul funky train. Next stop is good times!!” – Chris Gill (Northside Records/RRR)
Everyone knows, Saskwatch is destined for greatness." – James Young (Cherry Bar)
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