Billy Iuso | Restless Natives

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Rock: Funk Rock Rock: Jam-band Moods: Featuring Drums
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Restless Natives

by Billy Iuso

Funky Jam Rock from New Orleans
Genre: Rock: Funk Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Keep on Smiling
4:19 $0.99
2. Two Deep in the shallows
4:49 $0.99
3. come c new orleans
2:50 $0.99
4. Spanish moon
4:38 $0.99
5. your just amemory
5:18 $0.99
6. the heavy
3:11 $0.99
7. the other one
4:22 $0.99
8. da minor jam
3:34 $0.99
9. candle
8:09 $0.99
10. runnin high
3:57 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
After leading the critically claimed Brides of Jesus for over a decade, frontman and songwriter Billy Iuso (guitar, vocals) shortly after releasing the third Brides album "Saints & Sinners" in the fall of 2002. With the Brides, Iuso had toured and played with some of the biggest names in the forefront of the Jam-Band movement in the 90's. His high energy mix of funk, roots rock with an occasional strange cover that left deep impressions on those who saw them. On one occasion Iuso was told bluntly by Dave Matthews that, "You guys are one of the few opening acts I've ever remembered."

Using different Musicians from both the funk and jazz scene, the Natives' sound continues to evolve into a new hybrid of Truly improvised music. A typical show brings a sonic environment that remains accessible while pushing the line towards the abstract. Original songs subtly change to one of many eclectic covers, the seamless flow pushed by dynamic funky drum beats.

Recent highlights of the Natives include a stellar show at Tipitina's that featured Papa Grows Funk's Marc Pero on bass with Russell Batiste or Mean Willie Green on a drum set, late night jams in the French Quarter with the likes of the Grateful Deads own Bobby Weir in the audience and bringing the patio bar at House of Blues to a second-line sing-a-long on Mardi Gras Day.



to write a review

Jeffrey Dupuis / Jambase / January 2005

On his latest CD Restless Natives New Orleans transplant Billy Iuso seems to have matured greatly. Focusing on songwriting and structure rather than lengthy jams that go nowhere, Iuso has crafted a nice collection of songs ­ a wonderful accomplishment from a member of the New Orleans jam-oriented community. He recently told me, "I'm not trying to be a 'rock star' anymore." This new, laid back, attitude shines through the music, combining an impressive breadth of original compositions with interesting covers.

For this latest project, Iuso's Restless Natives consist of some of New Orleans' top (if not nationally known) musicians. The core band consists of Iuso on guitar and vocals, "Mean" Willie Green (Neville Brothers) on drums, Mark Pero (Papa Grows Funk) on bass, Sam Hotchkiss (juice) on guitar, and Chris Marsceill on keys, and a large array of New Orleans musicians make appearances throughout.

Iuso is cut from the "Peace through Music" cloth, an ideal which shines through in the opener, a cover of Wet Willie's "Keep on Smiling." The opening tune adds vocalist Shannon McNally and has a definite Southern tone like to original, reminding me of smoky juke joints as well as sunny day outdoor festivals. In a word, it is "happy." What can I say? I like happy.

The next tune, an original named "Two Deep in the Shallows" is a swamp-a-delic rendezvous that glides down smooth and mellow. Iuso's maturing songwriting skills allow the song to feel funky but not forced. Chris Marsceill takes center stage on "Come C New Orleans," a Professor Longhair inspired instrumental which would be a hit at any Carnival party. The Natives take on Little Feat's "Spanish Moon" is simply wonderful. The horn section consisting of Kirk Joseph (Dirty Dozen) on sousaphone, Mark Mullins (Bonerama) on trombone and Satoru Ohashi (New Orleans Nightcrawlers) on trumpet take the song to the streets and give it a Crescent City feel. Tamika Jett's added vocals lend some soul that fills in the sound. "Your Just a Memory" follows. The simple song structure and autowah guitar fit perfectly together, giving the lyrics a chance to shine forth and the song a chance to breathe. Iuso's time spent in New Orleans comes through in "The Heavy," a dark funk tune drive by clavinet and Ryan Plattsmier's (the public) bass work. An interesting cover of the Grateful Dead's "The Other One" follows. I call it interesting because it is strays from the original into dark and funky territory, and does it well. Taking a quick left turn into instrumental jazz territory, "Da Minor Jam" features Pero's bass and drummer Bryan Besse trading licks back and forth in a tasteful show of talent. Nori Naraoka (Big Sam's Funky Nation) joins on bass as Iuso remains in mellow jazz mode for the final cut entitled "Candle," a ballad that rounds out and winds down the project.

Not to leave on a mellow note, Iuso recruits Ivan Neville (Dumpsta Funk) and Russell Batiste (funky Meters) for the "bonus" cut "Runnin High" a straight-ahead funk romp that reminds me why I like Iuso's music in the first place ­ he rocks. But don't tell him I said so.

Jeffrey Dupuis / Jambase / January 2005

Jeremy J. Deibel Offbeat Magazine 03.2005

Billy Iuso Restless Natives (Independent)

Any record that opens with a spirited cover of Wet Willie's bar-band classic "Keep on Smiling" has already hooked me. Thankfully, former Brides Of Jesus frontman Billy Iuso's solo debut Restless Natives is just vibrant enough to keep reeling me in.

Iuso has a huge backup band for the record featuring a virtual Who's Who of up-and-coming faces on the New Orleans roots music scene (including one Russell Batiste, Jr., on drums and one Ivan Neville on electric piano). With that kind of talent on his side, not to mention that Iuso is a quite talented guitarist and singer in his own right, Restless Natives certainly showcases high-caliber New Orleans musical chops in a loose, jamband environment.

At times, it can be too loose, as the record loses some steam and lulls in the middle. But Iuso's claim on his web site that he and his former band were pioneers of modern New Orleans funk-rock is pretty well-founded here, as the tunes here are much fresher than a lot of other current stoned-groove funk.

The highlights here include the jazz-inflected "Candle" and "Two Deep in the Shallows," a groovy little number that sounds a bit like Phish being possessed by the spirit of George MacRae. And with enough push, the track "Come C New Orleans" (which nearly quotes Professor Longhair's piano hook in "Big Chief, Pt. 1") could very well become a new Carnival time fave.

Offbeat Magazine 03.2005 -Jeremy J. Deibel