At first listen, Durand Jones & the Indications sound like the kind of group that would be signed to Daptone Records, the Brooklyn-based label that gave us Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Charles Bradley, the Budos Band and other throwback-soul artists.
But, alas, they’re not signed to Daptone (not yet – they’re signed to Ohio-based Colemine Records). And they don’t live anywhere near Brooklyn; they’re based in Bloomington, Ind.
“It’s no denying that we were heavily influenced by that crew,” says Jones, 27, the Louisiana-born frontman, on the phone from Columbus, Ohio. “Honestly, man. You know, when Sharon died last year, I was really heartbroken. It almost, like, puts me in tears just thinking about it, because her and Allen Toussaint were definitely, like, two people I dreamed of working with.
“It was like, ‘Man, if I just keep at it, our paths are gonna cross and I would be able to collaborate and write music for them and it would be a dream come true.’ But I guess fate had another say in the whole deal.”
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Durand Jones & the Indications are a seven-piece outfit devoted to churning out the kind of down-and-dirty, old-school R&B – accentuated by Jones’ vocals – that would make the late, great Sharon Jones proud.
They will perform Tuesday at the Cat’s Cradle Back Room in Carrboro.
Last year, they released their self-titled album, which gave them a spot in the continually growing stable of contemporary, retro-soul artists.
“To me, personally, I think it’s really cool that it’s coming back,” Jones says. “And I’m so happy that Sharon and Daptone and Lee Fields, like, paved the way to bring it back to its prominence, as where it should be.”
Jones even enjoys playing on the same bill with his fellow retro-soul colleagues, like St. Paul and the Broken Bones, whom they’ve done shows with.
“There’s this great sense of camaraderie that I really enjoy,” he says. “It’s a healthy sense of competition, you know.”
Jones says he is sometimes bothered when people say they’re surprised that the band’s sound could come out of Hoosier country. Aren’t people forgetting that Michael Jackson and the whole Jackson family grew up in Gary, Ind.?
“It is really interesting, because the Midwest has a long legacy of soul,” he says.
He cites Indiana-based soul group Indiana University Soul Revue as one that deserves more attention. It’s the long-running ensemble that Jones joined when he was a student there.
“It was the first accredited soul class,” he says. “There’s just this reverence for that type of music. Anytime the Soul Revue will play a show in Bloomington or Indianapolis, it’s guaranteed to sell out, because people just revere and love the music so much.”
Jones & the Indications hope to get that same reaction from live audiences. Jones said their shows are usually peppered with “a good mix of young and old.”
“There’s definitely a trendy crowd that has been, I guess, migrating or really vibing on the music,” he says. “But it’s really amazing whenever, you know, you finish a show and somebody comes up to you and talks to you about the time they saw Otis Redding or the time they got to see James Brown back in the day. That’s always really cool.”
Of course, Jones hopes the more his band performs, the more of a following they’ll snatch up – and the more people will demand they get back in the studio and drop another album.
“I definitely do think that we could do a better job at reaching out to wider audiences, but it’s a process,” he says. “I feel so green when it comes to these kinds of things, and I’m learning as I go. But I’m definitely trying to diversify the crowd. It’s definitely a mission, man.”
Who: Durand Jones and the Indications, with Trike
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Cat’s Cradle (Back Room), 300 E Main St., Carrboro
Cost: $10 or $12 at the door
Details: 919-967-9053; catscradle.com