I hear a band layin’ down some deep grooves on the side stage at the Hot August Blues Festival last night. From a far it sounds like it must be about 15 guys kicking it old school. The sound is that big and thick. When I make it over there I find 5 guys from Annapolis playing the funk so nasty I think I might need to call the authorities. The 5 guys with the big beats are Higher Hands feasturing Matt Dalton-Sax, Marty Bochard -Drums, Larry Byrne-Keys, Marty Grigsby-Congas, and Jason Crawford-Vocals. I catch up with Jason after the set to find out more about the band. “This line-up has been together for four years. “Some of us played in a band called, Written Prisms, and this started out as a side project of that band. A couple of us have been friends since school.”
You can tell that the guys enjoy playing together and this transcends into the crowd at the side stage, many of which can’t help but dance. Influences are obvious by some of the covers they play. There is a Bobby Hutcherson tune and one from their beloved Bill Withers. They play a Go-Go original that would be perfect for any Chuck Brown set.
Higher Hands has been working steadily around Maryland and have secured opening slots for Soulive, New Master Sounds, and Trombone Shorty. “We’re kinda the ‘go to band’ whenever a New Orleans act comes to town. The band has one record out that was recorded about two years ago.” Right now they are shopping new material to various producers in hopes of finding the right one to work with for the next album. They’ve been keeping very busy as well averaging at least three gigs a week. Jason says the band want’s to step back a bit from the amount of live shows to work on writing tunes and getting to the next level. They have an upcoming show at 8×10 in Baltimore and you can check their MySpace or Facebook for other live shows. Catch Higher Hands perform when you are ready for a big time funk nasty party, just don’t forget your dancing shoes.