Groove Meter: Greyhounds

Greyhounds bring us their groove-oriented soul-funk-R&B like nobody else

It's never bothered the Greyhounds for a minute that nobody—from fans to their label to music writers and DJs—knows quite how to describe the band.

Guitarist Andrew Trube and keyboardist Anthony Farrell, who met in Los Angeles but now reside in Texas, funnel classic soul and R&B through the lens of country and even contemporary psych-rock.

The term that's hung around longest came from the band members themselves, when Trube said, without putting too much emphasis on it, Greyhounds sound like "Hall and Oates meet ZZ Top."

"That's the classic one I threw out years ago, because somebody said we had to," he says. "We got a little bit of that blue-eyed soul and we also have some blues and some country. People come up to me all the time, asking how to describe what we sound like. I just say 'Why don't you tell me what you think,' because it's always different. That's fun because it tells us that what we do is special. There's nobody else like me and Anthony out there."

Traces of funk icons The Meters and R&B labels from north (Motown) to south (Stax) can be found on Greyhounds' third album for legendary Memphis label Ardent Records. Released in April, Change of Pace is "a bit of a roller coaster," the band says.

"I feel like this record for us in particular is a little bit all over the place," Farrell says. "That's indicative of how we are. We don't try to emulate any one kind of genre or anything like that. We basically play what comes into our mind and it's a matter of whether we like it and we feel like it clicks."

That's been the mode for Greyhounds since the start. The band's roots trace back to 1999 in Los Angeles, when Trube and Farrell met through a newspaper ad and found chemistry right off the bat. At their first meeting, it was the funk of The Meters that put Trube and Farrell on the same page.

"I'd just got turned onto The Meters that summer," Trube says. "We got together and started playing and among the first things he played me was some Meters stuff and it just went from there. We knew we wanted to play funk and soul and groove-oriented stuff, so that was definitely a really good neutral ground to start at."

Change of Pace has drawn praise from musicians like Derek Trucks and Gary Clark Jr. and has Greyhounds on a big national tour, including the band's first Tucson stop since they played at the long-since-defunct 7 Black Cats. And whether the reference points are ZZ Top and Hall and Oates, or Curtis Mayfield and Buck Owens, or simply Ween, Greyhounds are just going to keep playing their music.

"We don't put up any barriers. We're not afraid," Trube says. "If a song's cool and we dig it, let's put it out. So then we end up with this compilation of tunes that all fit because we wrote them, but they may have stylistic changes and go different places. That's the way we've always been."

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