Make Like A Shovel | The Revivalists

  • December 5, 2014
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Words by: Donovan Farley

We’ve been working with JamBase contributor Donovan Farley for about six months now and noticed he has a great eye/ear for up-and-coming acts. As such, we’ve enlisted Donovan to pen a column for the site dubbed "Make Like A Shovel” in which he’ll profile act(s) we think you’ll dig.

For the first installment of my monthly column where I share some of my favorite up and coming bands on the scene, I thought I’d pick two very different acts. The first are The Revivalists, a joy-filled New Orleans explosion of a band who you’ve no doubt at least heard of if you attended a summer festival this year. 

The Revivalists are a band that is not easily satisfied. Appreciative? Of course. Enjoying the hell out of the ride? Sure. But despite having concurred countless festival stages (Hangout, Wanee, Jazzfest, Governor's Ball, Bonnaroo, High Sierra, Snowmass, All Good, Gathering of the Vibes, Jam Cruise, Mountain Jam, Lockn’, Allman Brothers’ Peach Festival, Jazz Aspen, the list never stops), winning praise from none other than Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke and selling out venues in every corner of the country, this is a band that knows there is still more. And it’s that impressive drive that makes up the core of The Revivalists.

One only needs to take a look at the band’s relentless touring schedule to see they remain as hungry as they were when they formed by chance in New Orleans in 2007. That anecdote, like much of The Revivalist story, is the kind of gumbo of music and magic that only a place like New Orleans can produce. The band began completely by chance one afternoon when guitarist Zach Feinberg happened to take a different bike route home than usual. Feinberg had been looking for a vocalist when he chanced upon vocalist/guitarist David Shaw singing and strumming a guitar on his porch. Impressed, he introduced himself to Shaw, and the rest, as they say, is history. Once the lineup was rounded out with Ed Williams (Pedal Steel Guitar), Rob Ingraham (Saxophone), George Gekas (Bass), Andrew Campanelli (Drums), and Michael Girardot (Keys/Trumpet), The Revivalists were born.

"It’s everything man”, bassist George Gekas told me of what New Orleans has meant to the band when I spoke with him on the phone yesterday, "we love this place, people live and breathe the music here.” The Revivalists’ adept fusion of sounds certainly reflects their home city’s wide-ranging taste, as well as its "laissez bon temps roule” attitude.

A Revivalists show is many things; but above all it is a celebration of life and music. It’s a place where the sexiest girl you swear you’ve ever seen shoots her best "come hither” stare at you from across a sweaty, humid dance floor. It’s the kind of place where you hug a stranger at 2 a.m. in the morning and swear that you’ll stay in touch forever, knowing full well that this night’s joyous occasion is all you’ll ever share, and that that’s enough. It’s an experience. A happening. The septet’s ability to convey this night after night, city after city is the reason for much of their impressively DIY success.

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