Despite the rumors, San Diego has soul

Stevie Harris and his Styletones embody the local soul scene.
  • Stevie Harris and his Styletones embody the local soul scene.

Although it may not be the first genre one associates with San Diego, soul music is experiencing a resurgence here, with over a dozen soul bands playing and recording around town.

Two of the groups steeped in soul are Stevie & the Hi-Staxx and the Styletones, both fronted by 1990 Hoover High grad Steve Harris. The Hi-Staxx have recorded with Grammy-winning engineer and producer Alan Sanderson (Rolling Stones). The Styletones, featuring producer/keyboard player Ben Moore, landed their cover of Sam & Dave’s “Hold On! I’m A-Comin’” in a 2013 Super Bowl Sunday commercial, part of the Got Milk? campaign starring Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson.

Past Event

Sure Fire Soul Ensemble

  • Tuesday, December 30, 2014, 8 p.m.
  • Hideout, 3519 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+ / Free

Sure Fire Soul Ensemble is right out of the Al Green and Marvin Gaye school of smooth, playing heavy, original, frequently instrumental soul with a cinematic sound. With a lineup that includes Tim Felten (organ and electric piano), Chris Lea (sax and flute), and anywhere from five to eight more players, the band will perform its final night of its December residency at the Hideout on December 30.

Past Event

Soul Organization

  • Friday, December 26, 2014, 9 p.m.
  • Seven Grand, 3054 University Avenue, San Diego
  • 21+

Formed in 2013, Soul ORGANization bases its funky sound around the Hammond B3 organ. The band is fronted by Doc Holladay (organ), accompanied by local players Tommy Black (guitar), Joseph Luna (sax), and Marly Waak (drums). They’ll appear at Seven Grand on December 26.

O.B.-based Genius of Soul says they play “politically committed soul” set to a hip-hop beat. Influenced by the Meters and A Tribe Called Quest, their album, A Project For the New American Century, includes the single “Heavy Steppin’,” playable on their Reader band page.

Soul Fire (originally known as the Fire Eaters) was founded by members from the Styletones, Poets of Rhythm, Groove Holmes, Karl Denson’s band, and Stevie and the Hi-Staxx. Other locals with soulful inclinations include Simeon Flick, MohaviSoul, Rhythm and the Method, Soul Plow, Steph Johnson, Matt Sando, Stacey Antonel, Soul Vox, Tori Roze, Rebecca Jade, and Sacha Boutros.

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Speaking of local soul, Kendrick Dial of Lyrical Groove, whose album Spoken Soul won Best Hip-Hop Album at the 2014 SDMAs, has teamed up with Jonnae Thompson to host a soul music program of San Diego music in collaboration with Listen Local SD, to be called the Spoken Soul Radio Show.

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