JC Brooks Band – Red Black & Blue

The Red Black & Blue (vol. 1) EP is JC Brooks’ follow-up to 2017’s The Neon Jungle and explores political and social themes surrounding being Black in America in 2018.  The music takes influence from the politically themed soul artists of the 70’s Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye and Gil Scott Heron. The band members conceptualized the theme of the EP in the van during an east coast tour while in a heavy discussion about political disdain, social justice and racial micro-aggressions.  The scars of the social & political cautionary tale on Red Black & Blue are layered on top of a bed of rich vocal harmonies, orchestrated horns and vintage keyboards, allowing JC to sing freely from his Soul which blasts through the negativity.

Red Black & Blue includes “Anywhere But America (Part 1)” as the first single and video – a breakup letter to someone who talks a good game but treats you like shit when it counts the most and then still has the nerve to expect unwavering gratitude. The choir and use of the B3 organ throughout the song, played by renowned recording artist Frank McComb, paints a backdrop of a tense funeral. The openness of the verses and thunderous reverb on the kick drum sends chills to the spine. JC cleverly entangles lyrical ideas from M.L.K’s “I Have a Dream” speech with the Star Spangled Banner.  Red, Black & Blue is a witty, soulful, stirring expression of the ever-present ability of Black America to spin its pain and frustration into gold.

JC Brooks contributed the majority of the lyrics for the EP but collaborated on songs with Chicago front-man and spoken word artist Avery R. Young.  The funky “A Better Class of Thieves” was composed and lyrically written by Brendan O’Connell of Chicago’s The Right Now.  JC Brooks Band Percussionist, JoVia Armstrong produced the EP and also composed the bulk of the music.  Guitarist Isaiah Sharkey (D’Angelo, John Mayer) produced the music for Anywhere But America (Part II).