About Funk in Time
An eclectic and exciting mix of American Music - classic soul & funk, neo soul, rock and jazz
Velona Says it’s About Funk in Time
Boston-based drummer/singer/songwriter Jerry Velona has released his fifth album entitled About Funk in Time on his own label Karunabird Records.
The record contains 14 songs, 3 of which are original compositions and the rest covers of classic soul, funk and R&B tunes from the 1960’s and 70’s. “This was the golden era for this style and I grew up loving this music and idolizing the singers and the bands,” says Velona. “This music not only connects me to my youth but it’s the foundation for a lot of hip hop records. I hope to re-introduce it in some small way to a newer, younger audience.”
Velona chose several songs from the era that are not well known; such as “She’s Lookin’ Good by Rodger Collins, “It’s Alright” by Larry Graham and his band Grand Central Station and “Mighty Mighty” done by Earth Wind and Fire. He also mines and pays tribute to some of the more recognizable tunes like Marvin Gaye’s “Hitchhike” and Junior Walker’s “(I’m a) Road Runner”.
Vocally, Velona displays an impressive versatility; moving with ease from the Memphis soul rave-up She’s Looking Good to the ballad You Don’t Know Me which borrows from the classic Ray Charles version.
The album features some of Boston’s best musicians and the tracks are tight and crisply recorded. In addition to the vocals, Velona plays drums on all the tracks. “Mighty Mighty” features nationally known rap and spoken word artist J Ivy. “One of the things we tried to do with the covers was to update the production values but keep the core, the groove and the energy of the original recordings. Mighty Mighty is such a positive, upbeat track. J was able to take it from there to an even higher level,” says Velona.
Velona’s originals sit squarely in the rock category. His song “Dope Springs Eternal” which he laughingly describes as, “the pathetic story of my love life,” features a quirky clavinet hook and is getting traction on college radio along with the memorably titled “Ms. Vesoluvska” which is a cross between Pearl Jam and the early Who.
The one departure from the rock and soul theme of About Funk In Time is the final track, a cover of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, “I Have Dreamed” from the soundtrack of The King and I. With an ethereal instrumental track featuring guitarist Duke Levine, pianist Tim Ray and Richard Gates on bass, Velona demonstrates his crooning chops in addition to the soulful vocals of the rest of the tracks. About Funk in Time makes a convincing case for the vitality and relevance of this timeless music in the 21st century.