What happens when a bunch of UALR music majors get together? They come up with a versatile cover and improv band. Cue That Arkansas Weather, a band that spans the genres – jazz, funk, soul, hip-hop, pop. You name it, they can play it.
Back in the fall of 2013, Lucas Murray, now the band-organizer, and his UALR peers, were fretting for a way to make money solely through music. “After we played a set at the Afterthought, we had some really positive feedback,” he says. They went on to play at weddings and parties, and continued to have a good time along the way.
After that, the band began to take on a momentum all its own. “We’re always changing and there’s a flux in the band members,” Murray says. The initial inspiration is still there, though – “We do always play in the same spirit and same style as when we were founded.”
Typically a six-member band, the line-up has included: Debra Bell, vocals; Lucas Murray, guitar; Daniel Olah, drums; Jamaal Lee, drums; Brad Birge, bass; Dave Williams II, sax; Matt Schatz, sax; Gavin Hawkins, keys; Al Mcgilvery, keys; Terrance Lankford, keys; and Terry Lovelace, levels.
The name truly says it all, because like the Arkansas weather – “It’s always something different, every time we’re on stage.”
The band is more than capable of playing a straight jazz showcase, but they like to mix it up. “I consider myself a good musician,” Murray laughs, “But I try hard to surround myself with people better than me.” At tonight’s show there will be six players for sure, but you never know if they’ll add a person or two … or three.
For something a little quieter, but just as groovy with a spin on the familiar, you’ll want to see this show. Improvisation is the key to the covers that they produce. Furthermore, “Everyone trades a solo … we play jazz without really playing jazz,” Lucas explains. “I love this band – it’s a fun show. It’s about entertaining the audience.” Plus, South on Main is set up for an act like this. Murray adds, “South on Main is an awesome venue and probably my favorite place to play – I love the ambiance, it’s really good to have a quieter venue.”
In terms of the music scene, it’s been great for That Arkansas Weather, as they are able to play a multitude of venues and private events. One of Murray’s main critiques falls on all of us, though: “If we could just get the audience out of the house to see a live show,” he said. And why not? Get out tonight and check out That Arkansas Weather at South on Main. Show starts at 10, with $10 cash only at the door.