South Florida up-and-comers Soulnar are more than just an awesome name and a funky groove. This jam band complements its big talent with stellar improvisational skills and the members are looking to dominate the local festival scene.
The band formed around lead guitarist and singer Chance Barnett and his wife, Heather, who tears it up on the keys and possesses scene-stealing vocals. The two had always played together at home. But after one failed band and two years of nothing after that, Chance decided it was time to kick their musical passion into high gear.
In 2010, he found bassist Bill Moore and drummer "Tennessee" Jesse Williams, with Heather again joining the lineup for a dollop of mainstream appeal. After a quick brainstorm session on Chance's favorite word, "soul," they dubbed the band Soulnar and the groove began.
On a recent chilled-out Saturday night, the funky foursome took the stage at Lake Worth venue Havana Hideout. In the spirit of jam music, they left the stage open for visitors. Jean Paul, a mysterious fellow they met that day, added some keyboard funk to the show. Mike, a Soulnar mega-fan, showed up with his hand drums and joined them on the bongos all night. The band even invited its sound guy, DJ Agent Gravity, to throw a few scratches into the jam and spin reggae and funk during the set breaks.
The three-hour show took the audience on a tour of Soulnar's strengths, especially extended jams and solos on original tunes. There was a little something for everyone as they also played covers, ranging from Trey Songz's "Say Ahh" to Jimi Hendrix classics, and even a funky, bassline-centric rendition of the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back."
But the groovy group's also got a number of bigger gigs on the horizon. Look for them at a festival near you. The foursome recently rocked the stage at local fest Orange Blossom Jamboree in May, and hope to remain a fixture on that scene. Later this month, they'll also play the B.E. Easy Festival in Fort Lauderdale along with local heavyweights Crazy Fingers, Aquaphonics, and plenty more.
Listen to two of their songs below.
Soulnar. At the B.E. Easy Festival, starting 12 p.m. Saturday, July 28 at The Bubble, 810 NE 4th Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $15, and all proceeds go to charity. Click here.