Organ trio The City Champs may not be a nation-wide household name but the three members have lent their talents to artists like The Hold Steady, Chris Robinson Brotherhood and St. Paul & The Broken Bones, among others. The band was founded 14 years ago and released a pair of critically-acclaimed LPs in 2009 and 2010 after building a following on the Memphis club circuit.
The band’s soulful rock & roll influenced tones take influences from Booker T with the quirkiness of Snarky Puppy. The band features guitarist Joe Restivo, organist Al Gamble and drummer George Sluppick. Sluppick was a member of Albert King’s band and a touring member of JJ Grey & Mofro, while playing with Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Sha Na Na and more. Gamble was a member of St. Paul & The Broken Bones and performed with Alex Chilton, the Hold Steady, Nicki Bluhm and more, while Restivo has played with Don Bryant, Percy Wiggins and more.
The band has come back together after an extended hiatus and will release their first new album since 2010, Luna ’68 on March 19. Produced by Bruce Watson of Fat Possum Records at his Delta-Sonic Studio in Memphis, the album will be released on Big Legal Mess. The record finds the trio exploring new sounds inspired by ’60s music like funk, pop, psych and b-movie soundtracks. By looking to the past, in many ways the trio are pushing instrumental rock into the future. Today we’re premiering the latest single from the album, “A-MELD-A-MARCOS.”
“‘A-Meld-A-Marcos’ was a lot of fun to create, as it started out as something completely different,” said Sluppick “The great thing about working with these guys is the amount of exploration everyone is willing to do when it comes to writing. In other words, no one is married to a particular part and we try our best to serve what is right for each tune, no matter how long it takes.”