Fresh out of London comes one of the hottest soul sensations you’ll hear all year. Meet Ephemerals, whose debut LP “Nothin Is Easy” will be released via Jalapeno Records on September 1st.
On vocal duties is Franglo-American singer Wolf, originally from New York but who has been living in Paris since the age of 14, Ephemerals deliver a debut album that is fresh and soulful and will command some serious attention.
Hillman Mondegreen, formerly writer-producer and a founder member for Hannah Williams and The Tastemakers, was on a quest to find the singer for his next project when the Tastemakers tour passed through France. Wolfgang Valbrun was singing for the group that was supporting them and Hillman felt instantly that the New Yorker was the perfect voice.
The songs on the album are classic in style but current in content with many listeners surprised to discover that both Wolf and Hillman are only in their mid-twenties.
The album opens with “Things (Part 1)” a melancholy but uplifting song about growing up and having kids in the world we live in today before the doleful brass of “You Made Us Change” introduces us to the fact that something special is going down here. No tired homage to glory days past just straight up soul played by talented young men and women who feel every note.
“Easy Ain’t Nothin” is due to be the first full single from the album and lyrically reinforces the soulful truth that life is to be lived 100% or not at all.
Loving Guaranteed is destined to be a classic and was written by Mondegreen on a canal boat a few days before his wedding. Inspiration for the lyrics came from the marriage vows he was contemplating and the fact he wanted to write a song for people to have as their first dance that captured all the emotion of the moment without the hackneyed sentiment. Guess what ? He succeeded.
The rest of the album deals with finding love, loving life, cheating, losing and all the other topics that soul men and women have got together to jam about since time began.
Hillman assembled the band from a crack team of players and taught them song by song, and within three scorching days — thanks to a broken air conditioning unit during the July heatwave — the seven-piece had recorded the album live to analogue tape at The Cowshed in North London, and Wolf was on his way back to France. The strings and backing vocals were added in Winchester and “Nothin Is Easy” was complete.
Members of the band include Damian, who also plays trumpet for Kalakuta Millionaires and is also in Hillman’s afrobeat supergroup Keke Mokoro; Char, who plays baritone sax for Dakhla, a band with a unique afrobeat/gypsy styling; James, who plays organ for Hannah Williams, as does Jimi Needles, who has been Hillman’s drummer of choice since they met at university in 2008.
Rob Jones was the final piece of the puzzle, recommended to Hillman by WahWah45’s boss Dom Servini. He played every instrument on the epic Gene Dudley Group album and was brought in to play bass with his trademark tone and casual style.
Also at this session, Hillman gained the backing vocal services of Hannah Curtain (lead singer of HWTastemakers), whom he had traded the favour in return for him writing a song for her next album. “Nothin Is Easy” features heavy grooves and slick production, with Wolf’s distinctive howl on top, emoting as only he can about love, social justice, environmental damage and self-determination.
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