New Jersey based Rock/R&B/Funk duo Jonah Tolchin & Kevin Clifford, otherwise known as Dharmasoul, have confirmed the release of their debut album Lightning Kid, due June 1, 2018 via their own label, Dharmasoul Records.
The compelling 10-song set finds Tolchin (guitar/vocals) and Clifford (drums/vocals) exploring sonic spaces originally revealed by The Meters, D’Angelo, The Staples Singers, Stevie Wonder, Medeski Martin & Wood, John Scofield and more. The album features foot stompers “Chosen One” and “Taste So Sweet,” sitting astride the funky pleas of “Bless Your Children” and instrumentals such as “Vulgar.” Produced by Dharmasoul, Lightning Kid was recorded live, with minimal overdubs in August 2017 at Verdant Studios in Athens, VT by Pete Weiss.
Meeting as teenagers (Clifford remembers first seeing a barefoot Tolchin in denim overalls, a straw hat and carrying a cigar box full of harmonicas) the pair parted ways for a time as Tolchin hit the road for a solo career soon after graduating high school, eventually signing to Yep Roc Records where he released two albums, Clover Lane (2014) and Thousand Mile Night (2016). In that time Tolchin has shared stages with Gregg Allman, Tony Joe White, Dave & Phil Alvin, Justin Townes Earle, Rickie Lee Jones, Tom Paxton and others. He’s also produced albums for Julie Rhodes and Bill Scorzari. Tolchin. Since 2014 he has had success in the streaming world, racking up over 10 million plays on Spotify.
“Jonah’s experience and skill as a songwriter gives me added confidence to express myself,” says Clifford. “We united on a vision. The personal faith and love of one other enhances the feeling of this record. It’s rooted in our friendship.”
Clifford went on to graduate from Loyola University New Orleans with majors in Jazz Percussion and English. Experiencing music in New Orleans opened him to the worlds of hip-hop, neo-soul, traditional/modern jazz, Brazilian, and Afro-Cuban styles. He became in an in-demand multi-stylist drummer playing with gypsy jazz groups, electronic/hip-hop, indie-folk, and singer/songwriter acts, performing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival with the Loyola Jazz Band and later with Mikayla Braun.
“This project feels like something that’s been waiting for ten years,” comments Tolchin. “Yet it couldn’t have happened any sooner than it did. Lightning Kid represents a culmination of our collective influences throughout our years as music appreciators and players, ranging from folk and world music to funk, jazz, blues, rock, hip-hop, R&B, and gospel. Adds Clifford “We don’t think about fitting into specific genres. That’s what makes our partnership so special. We have an openness and a clarity that respects and honors freedom of musical expression.”