With a sound dancing between gutbucket soul, N'awlins grit-down funk and horn fueled Motown pop, Mingo Fishtrap is an anomaly in the contemporary music scene. With each album, the group gravitates closer to the classic sounds that inspired them to learn their craft. What's old is new again; with young audiences flocking to see a live show that lays its musical roots more in 1967 than 2007. And that's just fine with bandleader Roger Blevins, Jr.
"Blues, soul and R&B is the common denominator of pop music. People around the world know that sound- Chess, Stax, Motown, Muscle Shoals - as part of the soundtrack to their lives. I grew up listening to Pops (Blevins' father and Mingo's bassist, Roger, Sr.) play those tunes to every age, race, color and creed. And from what we see, at least, people still need it."
Mingo Fishtrap traces its beginnings to the mid 90s when Blevins and another five of the group's eight members were attending the University of North Texas' Jazz Studies program. Originally derived as a loose, after-class jam, Mingo covered songs from Otis Redding, Tower of Power, the Neville Brothers and other soul and funk masters with no particular professional ambition. "Obviously, there wasn't a lot of classic soul being played around campus," says Blevins. "People around the dorms just took to it and the ball started rolling. We were good friends playing music we loved; that's a good recipe."
And it's that same delicious soul food that Mingo cooks up today. With an inspired, high-energy live show, they engage the audience - persuade them to, sometimes literally, join the band inside the music. With a new live concert DVD, Mingo Fishtrap, Live at the Granada, adding to their catalog of CD releases, Mingo captures a musical conversation, which speaks with reverence about the past and with hope about the future.
Through their time together on the road, Mingo Fishtrap has performed on bills with a wide range of artists: Sting, Blues Traveler, Ozomatli, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Little Feat and Jonny Lang among others.
Members of the band have performed or recorded with artists covering the full spectrum of soul; from legendary Ray Charles Orchestra and new soul's patron saint Erykah Badu, to pop sensation Justin Timberlake.
Mingo is currently touring and recording for a new CD release.