The Revivalists Keep New Orleans Rock Alive

See why Rolling Stone counted them among the “10 Artists You Need to Know.”

ByRachel Scott
May 13, 2016, 3:50 PM

— -- If you ask The Revivalists to describe their music, they would summarize it in one word: “folnck,” or a cross between folk, funk and rock.

Since 2007, the seven musicians have shared thousands of miles on the road, produced three albums and have been named one of Rolling Stone’s “10 Artists You Need To Know.” The group blends together guitar, drums, pedal steel guitar, bass, saxophone, keyboard, trumpet and lead singer David Shaw’s vocals to create soulful melodies.

The band attributes its New Orleans roots to the unique sound. “You know there is certainly a vibe to the rhythm of New Orleans. ... It certainly has crept its way into how I play music. It’s crept its way into how I play guitar."

He says the state was a good place for them to study, learn and grow together as a band. “It kind of kept us out of the spotlight until the right time, until we were kind of ready. … It’s just one of those things where we’ve grown so much in the past eight years and I think a lot of that growth was done out of the spotlight so we could kind of make mistakes,” he added.

Within three years, they had played more than 200 shows, often performing for four hours or more at a time. “We hit the road six years ago. We’ve killed probably six Chevy vans in that period of time,” Shaw said with a chuckle.

The title of their third full-length album, “Men Amongst Mountains,” summarizes their new chapter. They went from performing in small clubs to selling out shows, debuting No. 2 on the Billboard Alternative Albums Chart and having more than 3.1 million streams on Spotify.

"We were kind of the new kids on the block,” Shaw said. “It’s a feeling of being amongst all these giants. You know, playing with your heroes. It was like, ‘Wow, we’ve arrived and we are holding our own.’"

After almost a decade together, Shaw says, their success is rooted in their friendship. “We are still together so I think that says a lot. We see a lot of bands come and go,” he said.

“It’s like we’re brothers. We are always going to have our fights here and there but, at the end of the day, you go and you play your music and we’re just friends. Honestly, that’s what it boils down to.”

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