Billy Iuso and Restless Natives
After leading the critically claimed Brides of Jesus for over a decade, front man and songwriter Billy Iuso (guitar, vocals) came to a decision to make a change shortly after releasing the third Brides album "Saints and Sinners” in the fall of 2002 due to the unavailability of other members of BOJ due to their other musical commitments.
With the Brides, Iuso had toured and played with some of the biggest names in the forefront of the Jam-Band movement in the 90's. His high energy mix of funk, roots rock with an occasional eclectic cover left deep impressions on those who saw them. On one occasion Iuso was told bluntly by Dave Matthews that, "You guys are one of the few opening acts I've ever remembered."
The Restless Natives became a solid project when drummer Bryan Besse was brought in full time Unlike the Brides' rotating Drum throne , "Mean" Willie Green (Neville Brothers) and Russell Batiste (Funky Meters, Vida Blue). Bryan brought his recent found love of Elvin Jones polyrhythms to the table yet didn't ignore his old Rock love of a John Bonham backbeat and of course the New Orleans Street beat.
Using Musicians from both the funk and jazz scene, the Natives' sound continues to evolve into a new hybrid of improvisation based music. A typical show brings together Keith Jarrett inspired keyboard runs surrounded by a sonic environment that remains accessible while pushing the line towards the abstract. Original songs subtly change to one of many eclectic covers, the seamless flow pushed by dynamic funky drum beats.
Recent highlights of the Natives include a stellar show at Tipitina's that featured Papa Grows Funk's Marc Pero on bass with Russell Batiste or Mean Willie Green on a drum set, late night jams in the French Quarter with the likes of the Grateful Deads own Bobby Weir in the audience and bringing the patio bar at House of Blues to a second-line sing-a-long on Mardi Gras Day.
Billy Iuso with Big Chief Juan Pardo
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