The Right Now at the Blue Moose in 2011. They return to Iowa City this Friday. — photo by Michael Roeder
Chicago Soul and R&B band The Right Now celebrates nine years together in 2017. Over those years they have logged countless miles bringing their polished and passionate performances to stages across the U.S. They recorded and self-released three albums and two singles; their distinctive take on soul music stands out in an increasingly populated genre.
Their latest album, Starlight, comes five years since their last album, 2012’s Gets Over You. A change in band lineup gave them the opportunity to hit pause for a bit to focus on families as well as give the band a bit of a reboot while spend time writing and recording the next album.
“Our goal was to fine-tune the songs and production to make every note count, every chorus big and memorable, and craft something really special,” says Brendan O’Connell (keyboards, guitars and bandleader).
On Starlight, the band branches out from their more traditional sound to incorporate elements of disco and pop to bring a fresh perspective while still incorporating the heart of their music. O’Connell says the goal was to make songs that were “all killer, no filler,” and with Starlight they certainly achieved this, largely by supporting the powerhouse vocals of Stefanie Berecz.
O’Connell continues, “While I love what we achieved on the last album, I felt it was important to try to transcend the ‘retro soul’ genre and concentrate on writing the best songs I could for Stef’s voice.”
Following the release of Starlight, the band suffered a tragic unexpected loss in their extended family: David Grinslade, Berecz’s husband and father of their two young children. In honor of his life, the band is donating a percentage of their merchandise sales each month to Hope for the Day, a Chicago charity that focuses on suicide prevention and awareness. Berecz talks openly about Grinslade at the shows, and the band is firmly dedicated to spreading awareness.
In an email, Berecz says, “As the kids and I, along with everyone in the TRN family pick up the pieces and move forward we choose to do so with lots of love and honesty. This pain is real, the struggle with mental health is so real, and I wouldn’t be paving a path of light and healing if I didn’t face this head on.”
The Right Now will be performing Friday night at The Mill; admission is $10. They’re bringing along with their funky friends, Iowa City’s own Diplomats of Solid Sound, coincidentally also part of the lineup at the Blue Moose the last time The Right Now was in Iowa City, in 2011.
“I didn’t realize that it had been so long,” O’Connell said. “It’s odd since it was really the place that we started touring. I have a special place in my heart for Iowa City. When I first started playing music outside of Chicago (with singer/songwriter Anna Laube) I performed in Iowa City about three or four times. I vividly recall the excitement of being on the road, playing music, sleeping on floors. It all started for me, and this band, in Iowa.”