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Natural Causes

First it was the Beatles, until the best musicians in that band died. Then it was the Ramones, until the Reaper wiped them out too. Now, the biggest musical reunion imaginable (at least here in South Florida) has arrived. Thirteen years after its demise, Natural Causes — the beloved roots-rock supergroup — will reunite for one show. The Causes left as legacy only a few albums' worth of recorded material, along with the sweet memories of countless live shows, witnessed by their often awestruck fan base. Musically, the Causes had nothing but a rock 'n' roll heart in common with its more famous brethren. Essentially, the Causes were a jam band, although that's a woefully inadequate description of the group, which could do anything it wanted musically. It was quite a combination. The frontman was Arlan Feiles, a profoundly gifted songwriter possessed of a technically superior but also interesting voice (the way the voices of Springsteen and Dylan are interesting) and a way of banging minor-chord, major-lift hallelujahs out of his treated electric piano. ("I removed the keys I don't use," Feiles once explained about his favorite keyboard.) At his side were five specially skilled players. Guitar god Joel Schantz met Feiles at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where they formed a band with the goofy moniker E-Z Walkers. (Schantz enticed Feiles to Miami with a promise of "lots of gigs." Back then, such a promise could be kept.) There were also guitar god Sean Edelson, whose fluidity was a perfect fit with Schantz's stinging innovations; a pounding but resonant rhythm section — bassist Matt Coogan and drummer Jim Wall — culled from the well-regarded reggae band Ragamuffin Soldier; and Karen F. (Feldner, née Friedman), who provided additional vocals and keyboards and percussion. Also important to the group's quick-flame success was devoted manager Keith Schantz, Joel's cousin. It's in honor of Keith and his wife, Ginger — who are leaving Miami for Gainesville — that members of the band are reuniting after more than a dozen years in separate orbits.
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Greg Baker

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