By Al Kaufman
T Bird and the Breaks bring the funk. They bring the soul. The bring the horns, the soul, the swagger, the sweat and everything else that comes with being a 10-piece soul/funk ensemble.
While critics have been drooling over themselves trying to come up with comparisons for Black Joe Lewis to James Brown, Austin bands have been performing the horn-drenched soul/funk thing for years, and T Bird and company are just the latest incarnation. However, after just a year in existence, they have already garnered wide attention in the Live Music Capital of the World, including during their riveting SXSW showcase.
Tim "T Bird" Crane is the consummate showman. His whiskey-rich, soulful voice bursts with energy. His songs don't have an original rhythm in them, but, as a student of James Brown, Ray Charles and the like, he recycles only the best riffs and rhythms. He sings of women, Cadillacs, drinking, and, in the true spirit of Sly and the Family Stone, doing what's right for yourself ("Take Time").
This is feel-good, shake your booty on the dance floor music. The horns and female back-up singers are crisp and fresh. The guitars and pianos keep things moving. There are no masturbatory solos here. It's all about keeping the groove and keeping the party moving. Even the bluesy numbers, "All the Blame" and "Sunday on My Own," will keep people dancing, just a lot slower and a lot closer.
"I know I should be looking for a job/But it seems like too much work for me," T Bird sings on "Blackberry Brandy." That pretty much sums up the spirit of this band. Why work when there's all this great music to play?