Austin music scene favorite Nakia will reunite with his band, His Southern Cousins, in a show at Antone’s on Friday, June 30. The occasion marks the 10-year reunion for the group and will feature music from Jonathan Terrell and Suzanna Choffel as well.
Article by Jackie Ruth
Nakia & His Southern Cousins was formed in 2007 and released their EP, “Playing the Cards,” that same year. They played the Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2008 and released a full-length album in 2009 called “Water to Wine.” At the reunion show, the band will be selling a newly-released record comprised of previously unreleased outtakes from “Water to Wine.” The new album is titled “Wine to Water” and will be available for purchase on limited edition vinyl and CD formats.
“Wine to Water” features seven tracks full of Southern rock and soul vibes. It kicks off with the catchy love song “Pharmacy,” which features crooning from Nakia and lyrics in the same vein as Foreigner’s “Hot Blooded.” That track leads into “Nobody Does It Like My Baby,” which has a bluesy guitar and a sound that wouldn’t be out of place in a bar in downtown Austin. Nakia & His Southern Cousins seem to have a style that is made for live performances, with people drinking and dancing and singing along – a sound that’s perfect for Texas’s capital city. The album’s fifth track, “Lincoln Continental,” has a similar feel to it, with a strong mid-tempo beat and some 1960s psychedelic rock influence.
The third track, “Grace (Please Let Me Fall),” has a religious-sounding title and it is a ballad, but almost immediately begins with a wrong note and an expletive. The lyrics describe some marital troubles in a conversational form, and this country-and-western ballad really shows off Nakia’s vocals. Following that is “Nuthin’ But,” a groovy track with a more synthesized sound than the others. Replacing the soul, country and blues sounds of the other songs are notes and effects made on keyboards. Instead of being jarring, this is useful for breaking the album up into sections, and it allows the band to explore new territories.
“Touch, Feel & Lose” is the penultimate track on “Wine to Water,” and it starts out as a simple ballad, building into a power ballad with heavy guitar, horns and background vocals. Nakia’s lead vocals really stand out on this one, in some ways reminiscent of the greatest Joe Cocker performances, and he easily conveys the sorrow of the song. The album closes with “Cold,” a track that opens with Nakia’s voice and a beautiful, simple piano part. It continues with just these two pieces, but never feels less than whole. “Cold” feels like the perfect way to end this new release – it feels intimate, and it feels like a finale.
“This is going to be really special night of music and family,” said Nakia. “Having the full band back together, including the original Fresh Up Girls, is something I didn’t think would ever happen after Jessie moved to Denmark. The best part will be seeing the fans who came out each week to support us at Momo’s and Jovita’s getting down with us at Antone’s.”
Nakia & His Southern Cousins will no doubt perform at least a few of these songs for the crowd at the reunion, making for quite an exciting live show. Fans of the band who have the chance to pick up this album will surely enjoy listening to it repeatedly this summer and beyond.
Advance tickets will be $12 for general admission or $15 at the door. There will also be VIP seating available for $25. For more information, click here.
Originally hailing from Pennsylvania, Jackie has called Austin home since choosing to attend the University of Texas, where she graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism. She loves spending time with her dog, writing about pop culture in all its forms and spending time with friends – eating, drinking and doing trivia. You can follow Jackie on Twitter and Instagram.