Photo by Amy Fletcher Photography
Bexy Ribiero’s new group, Decibella, lights it up bigtime
SINGER SONGWRITER BEXY RIBIERO has a brand new bag, Decibella, and if the preliminary tracks are any indication, she’s going to set the 2014 Road to Nightfall on fire.
The Digital Butter founder and veteran of numerous musical collaborations assembled a team consisting of herself on vocals and trumpet, Tyler Southern on guitar, Tyler Reddick on bass and Jared White on drums. Plans are in the works to add a keyboard player and a more robust horn section, but this is the core of the group at the moment—and for the moment, it is enough.
The phenomenal thing about Decibella is how swiftly it seems to be progressing. The band has been together only a short time but has already scored a handful of important gigs and is recording material at a fantastic rate. Granted, the tracks are all rough cuts at the moment, but I’m almost starting to think I’d prefer bands give me their rough tracks instead of a finished product. After a quarter century playing music, I believe you can judge more about a band’s sound from an open-air recording at rehearsal than from a finished, polished album. I was given seven tracks to preview (if not an album, then a very beefy EP) and none of them disappointed.
Track one, “Done Me Wrong,” is a fairly classical representation of funky r&b; solid instrumentals provide the backdrop for the diva-like vocals of Ribiero. It is a solid piece of genre work that readily demonstrates the strong fundamentals of the band.
Track two is a slightly more daring entry called “Melt” in which we are given a taste of Ribiero’s impressive dynamic vocal range and tasty trumpet work.
“Melt” is followed by the cover tune “Get Lucky.” There are those who deride the idea of any cover tunes on an album, espousing some holier-than-thou attitude that THEY only play original material. I am not one of those. It is my belief that a well-done cover not only honors the original but also serves as a sort of baseline for comparison of the band doing the reinterpretation. Seriously, imagine your five favorite bands covering the same song. Does any version sound exactly like any other? Is any version somehow NOT to your liking? The answers to these rhetorical questions are “no” and “no” respectively. The point is that covers (in moderation) are a good thing and Decibella’s version of “Get Lucky” is both enlightening and entertaining.
The angst-ridden “Nobody Loves You” is a plaintive appeal to the subject that no one loves him the way the singer does, and she delivers an Oscar-worthy performance as the broken-hearted songstress in this particular submission. I have no idea whether the inspiration for this tune was drawn from real life, but it certainly sounds that way. And that’s talent, kids.
Next up in rotation is the provocatively titled track, “Next Man.” As it happens this tune IS definitely drawn from some real-life circumstances and just goes to reinforce that old Biblical proverb: Never date a songwriter and then piss her off. Musically the tune dials the funk up to eleven, and while I have no doubt the band is enjoying every tune they play, I have to think that this one in particular is fun for all concerned (except, perhaps, the fellow for whom it was written…). The catharsis is audible in Ribiero’s voice as she lays into it with the passion of a woman scorned and the band just seems to be having a blast laying down a jazzy, funky groove that evokes a dark, smoky club as well as anything I’ve ever heard.
“I Know You Know” switches gears just a bit. A little less R&B, a little more jazz vocal, it goes a long away towards demonstrating the versatility of the band and its singer.
The final track, “Party of One” is a laidback acoustic (for the moment) piece that sounds like it could come boiling out of any shotgun club lining the sides of Bourbon Street, and is itself an ode to that greatest of Oscar Wilde quotes, “Self-love is the first love.” Indeed, what’s a jilted girl to do?
If you had to sum up Ms. Ribiero in a single word, it would be “voice”. She has it, she knows how to use it, she is a genuine diva—and it seems she has found herself a group of musicians supremely suited to laying down the kind of soulful music her vocals complement the best. If you’ve ever been a fan of her style, you’re going to LOVE this newest project, and it appears there will be plenty of opportunities to do so. The band is stacking up gigs, the two newest being this Friday’s “Road to Nightfall” show, followed by an appearance on March 26 at Chattanooga Unplugged at Rhythm & Brews. In the meantime, listeners can track the band on their Facebook page.
Keep an eye out for their upcoming album. If the rough tracks are any indication (and of course they are), it’s going to be hot, hot, hot.