The removal of booking duties from its plate potentially allows Jelly Bread to feed its soulful sound to a greater audience as well serve more bread to its band members.
The Reno quartet Jelly Bread has signed with Blue Mountain Artists, which represents several rising bands and many more with a similar musical approach. The first strategy for the agency, which in its press materials calls the music as “Rock-Americana,” likely will be to put Jelly Bread onstage before audiences in the South and Southeast.
“We’re excited,” guitarist Dave Berry told Tahoe Onstage during his band’s Northwest tour, a region where it has established a fan base in the last couple of years. “They represent a lot of good acts. It will help get us further than we were going, tour wise. The big thing is having somebody with a good reputation taking it off our plate to allow us to do more of what we want to do.”
The ascending band mulled its options.
“We’ve been talking to a handful of agencies,” Berry said. “We almost decided on going with another one but they were more steeped into old-school blues. We wanted something more pertinent to what we are doing.”
Dan Carlstrom was integral to the process. He manages both Jelly Bread and Tahoe City’s Dead Winter Carpenters, which is with Blue Mountain Artists. Both Jelly Bread and the Dead Winter Carpenters played shows in the Crystal Bay Casino’s Red Room before moving into the venue’s larger Crown Room.
Just as Jelly Bread is taking itself to another level, bass player Brady Carthen decided to step away. Reno’s Dante Orlando replaced Carthen before the band went on the Northwest tour.
“It’s tough out here and Brady’s not a spring chicken,” Berry said. “He’s older than all of us, and there is wear and tear on the body, and mentally it was getting hard for him. We all had to decide what we all wanted to do and then to move on from there.”
Orlando also plays in a Reno blues band, Moses Malone. A Michigan native, Orlando played in a rock band that was signed to Atlantic Records in the 1980s, Berry said. He later attended Berklee College of Music, and later worked in Las Vegas mostly with cover bands.
“Cliff (Porter, the drummer and lead singer) met Dante at some jam sessions he was doing down in Reno,” Berry said. “It’s been great. He’s a really cool guy and a really great player and it seemed like a good fit.”
Jelly Bread, which plans to release an EP in the spring, already had booked shows through April when it signed with Blue Mountain Artists. It might head South in May.
“Our reach was limited and they have agents all over the world — South America, Europe and the Middle East,” Berry said. “With our style of music, they really want to get us more over in the South and the Southeast. They feel we’d do really well there as a jumping off point to bigger and better things. “
Berry said Jelly Bread might tour with another rising band, New Orleans’ Earphunk, also a signee with Blue Mountain Artists.
Also with Blue Mountain Artists are Jarekus Singleton, who this month signed with Alligator Records, Tab Benoit, Kenny Neal, Mike Zito, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Moreland & Arbuckle and the Meter Men and George Porter Jr. & Runnin Pardners. On the West Coast, the agency’s fold includes New Monsoon and Fruition.
“The same week as us, they signed Robert Walter, Karl Denson’s running partner with the Greyboy Allstars,” Berry said. “So it’s good company and it makes us want to work that much more and keep us even busier.”
Jelly Bread plays at 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22 in the Himmel Haus in South Lake Tahoe. Here’s its schedule: http://www.jellybread.net/dates/
Blue Mountain Artists wrote this to describe its new band:
“Jelly Bread’s musical alchemy blends a dash of alt-rock with soul and funk, yet is thoroughly steeped in a Rock-Americana. The band’s chameleonic playlist is highlighted by dual vocals, four part harmonies, in-the-pocket drum and bass grooves, swampy lap steel guitar, dirt under the fingernails guitar licks, and take-’em-to-church organ that is downright appetizing. Jelly Bread has emerged with a high-energy calling card that melds elements of desert twang and the urban tones of funk & rock, balanced by exceptional songwriting and storytelling.
“Jelly Bread has been delving into more extensive touring this past year. This past year, Jelly Bread has been tapped to perform opening duties for the likes of Robert Cray, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Dragon Smoke (members of Galactic), The Motet, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds and a bill featuring Bruce Hornsby and Railroad Earth. The band has appeared at premiere festivals to include Joshua Tree, Strawberry and High Sierra Music Festivals.