When a legendary record producer offers you free recording time in the studio where some of the greatest songs in the world were created, there’s only one appropriate response: You drop everything and go.
That’s what Soul Track Mind did when Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, son of Hi Records producer Willie Mitchell, offered to record the band after serving as a judge for the 2014 Louisiana Music Prize contest. That wasn’t even part of the prize, which they won. (Their winnings — $5,000 and recording time at renowned drummer/producer Brady Blade’s Blade Studios in Shreveport, La. — were further icing.)
Soul Track Mind eagerly trooped to Memphis’ Royal Studios to work in the same space where Al Green and others recorded so many classics — and where the latest Record of the Year Grammy winner, “Uptown Funk,” was born. Soul Track Mind singer/songwriter Donovan Keith, co-founding guitarist Jonathon Zemek and their bandmates came up with “Generation Song,” a track that signals the band’s evolution toward a distinctive blend of rock, pop and R&B.
They’re celebrating its release with performances March 4 at the Nacogdoches Music Festival in Nacogdoches, Texas, and March 5 at a release party at Austin’s Continental Club. They’re also excited about performing at the San Antonio Spurs’ St. Patrick’s Day home game at AT&T Center. (See schedule below).
They’re still working with Mitchell and will have much more coming soon, but couldn’t wait any longer to present this taste. The song’s tempo and synth sounds carry roots in disco and new wave, but the vibe is completely current, while showcasing Keith’s expressive vocals via lyrics that convey what he describes as “the cycle of humanity.”
“It’s about sheltered and ignored youth spurned by older generations, who then carry the same contempt when they get older, only to acknowledge in the end that the youth they spurn is their only legacy,” he explains.
It is, of course, a topic to which nearly everyone, sooner or later, can relate from experience. “I don’t write or sing songs about subjects I don’t know anything about,” says Keith. “We pride ourselves on being honest, genuine and heartfelt. Our connection to music is spiritual.”
That connection started with Keith’s desire to pursue a music career even though he had no training or experience. Encouraged by someone who heard a couple of his karaoke-style tracks, Keith moved to Austin in 2008, and soon met Zemek. Within months, they had weekly residency at an East Austin speakeasy that lasted for a year and a half, allowing them to build both their chops and a dance-happy audience. Three albums later, they’ve got fans across the U.S. and even internationally. “Generation Song” will give those fans one more reason to put on their dancing shoes and get to a Soul Track Mind show.
The band’s sound may be evolving, but their mission to make people move — and think — will never change.
Soul Track Mind tour dates
March 4 – Nacogdoches Music Festival, Nacogdoches, Texas
March 5 – Continental Club (single release party), Austin, Texas
March 11 – Cottonwood (release party), Houston
March 12 –Luna (release party), San Antonio
March 17 – AT&T Center (San Antonio Spurs Game), San Antonio
March 31 – Grouse Room, Lafayette, La.
April 1 – Rock ‘n’ Bowl, New Orleans
April 2 – Lafayette Music Room (release party), Memphis, Tenn.
April 8 – Lago del Pino, Tyler, Texas
April 9 – The Rustic, Dallas
April 23 – Rockit’s Whiskey Bar & Saloon, Corpus Christi, Texas
April 30 – Yaga’s, Galveston, Texas
May 13 – Monnalisa, Houston, Texas
May 14 – Luna, San Antonio
May 19 – Railroad Blues, Alpine, Texas
May 20 – Sea of Glass Center for the Arts, Tucson, Ariz.
May 21 – Hotel Monte Vista, Flagstaff, Ariz.