There have been a few shakeups since the last time The N&O featured local jam band Urban Soil in its pages a year and a half ago.
For starters, several members have moved on. Violinist and co-founder Jazmine Chesson left the band last August. “She just moved on to other things she wanted to do,” says Eric Chesson, 39, guitarist, vocalist and her dad. “She’s real young, so she decided to do other things.”
Chesson’s daughter wasn’t the only one who bolted. Saxophonist/founding member Austin Barnard also departed – rather oddly, if you ask Chesson. “Soon after Jazmine left, he just decided he wanted to go join the military, and he just disappeared,” says Chesson. “Nobody could find him for a couple of months. Musicians are like that.”
So the band has gone through an overhaul of sorts. Mitch Trotter is the group’s new resident fiddle player, while Paul Fisher has stepped in on drums and percussion. As for feminine vocals, Jazmine was replaced last September by guitarist/singer Sarah Reinke. “Well, I’ve seen Sarah around,” says Chesson. “I’ve seen her perform a few times. I was aware of her, and I knew Jazmine was on her way out. And I thought she would be a good fit. And it’s been perfect.”
Reinke, a 22-year-old native Detroiter, has been performing for 11 years. When she and her family moved to Raleigh in 2007, she played everything from open-mic nights to parties in the woods. “I was definitely looking to either join something or start something myself,” says Reinke. “So it kind of worked out perfectly.”
According to Chesson, Reinke has brought more to the band than just her commanding vocals. “Her material really resonates with me, and I think it’s mutual,” says Chesson. Adds Reinke, “And our vocals fit very well together.”
The band is now in the studio working on their full-length debut, titled “Dig Deeper” (“I like the way that ties in with our name,” says Chesson), scheduled for release in August, when they’ll have a CD release party at the Pour House Music Hall. They’ve even launched a Kickstarter page ( http://nando.com/gg) to raise money for some of the costs of making the album.
“It’s got a pretty wide variety of types of songs,” Reinke says. “I like to call it ‘sweet Americana jamberry sauce,’ because there’s a bunch of different flavors in there. There are some really Americana, folky songs. There are some really hard-rocky songs. There’s a bit of funk in there now. So we try to put a song from all the different genres that we throw in there all on the album.”
Urban Soil is continuing to spread its sauce all over the state, playing at live gigs like the second annual N.C. Fresh Catch show this Saturday at Moore Square in Raleigh. And Chesson is having way too much fun to let this band die now.
“That really never even was a thought,” says Chesson.