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|Origin||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Labels||Rough Trade, Tumult, Catamount|
|Past members||Jamey Barnard
Souled American is an American alternative country band from Chicago, that was active mostly in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The band has its origins in Normal, a college town in central Illinois and revolves around vocalists Chris Grigoroff (also guitar) and Joe Adducci (also bass) who previously played in a band called The Uptown Rulers. Souled American recorded four albums for Rough Trade Records, which initially stirred a modicum of critical and popular attention both in North America and Europe. In 1991 drummer Jamey Barnard left the band, and in 1992 the band released its fourth album (and last for Rough Trade),"Sonny," eight of the ten songs on which are cover tunes. After four albums, a tour with Camper Van Beethoven, and a wealth of critical acclaim (though very little commercial success — one Rough Trade employee later claimed, "The band sold less and less records with each consecutive release") Rough Trade folded and Souled American seemingly disappeared. The band re-emerged in 1994 with "Frozen" and 1997's "Notes Campfire", both released on the obscure German label Moll Tonträger. Sometime after 1996 guitarist Scott Tuma also left the band leaving the duo of Adducci and Grigoroff still intact. The remaining two members have since made sporadic appearances in their hometown and brief tours including shows in New York City, Chicago, and Ohio but new studio material has been sparse. A re-release of their first four albums on Tumult Records in 1999 brought some belated attention. In 1997, New York artist Camden Joy created a poster project called "Fifty Posters About Souled American" (the ultimate number exceeded the originally planned 50), consisting of typewritten comments and stories by various artists and musicians on the mostly forgotten band. Joy then distributed the posters around Greenwich Village.
The band's sound evolved rapidly from the release of their first records, becoming more introspective and avant-garde. The one constant is Adducci and Grigoroff's passionate and twangy singing and Adducci's bass playing on a Fender Bass VI, a rarely used six-string bass. While Fe was a fairly straightforward rock album, their second album Flubber hints at where the band would end up on Notes Campfire.
Since his departure, Scott Tuma released three solo albums: Hard Again (Atavistic), The River 1 2 3 4 (Truckstop Records), and Not For Nobody (Digitalis). He also recorded a CD under the name Good Stuff House in 2006 with members of the Chicago band Zelienople and occasionally performs and records with Chicago's Boxhead Ensemble.
The only studio material available since 1997 is a cover of Kris Kristofferson's "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends" on a 2002 tribute album and "Ringside Suite", a brand new song (as well as an interview) found on a compilation CD in issue No. 4 of Yeti magazine. It is the band's only available original recording in almost a decade and the only recording to feature the current duo line-up of Adducci and Grigoroff.
In the May 2006 the band resurfaced for a show at The DuKum Upp in Kirksville, Missouri. In the summer of 2007 they played two shows in Colorado and Wyoming and announced that they are working on material for a new album in their home near Charleston, Illinois. The new album would be their first in nearly twenty years.
- Joe Adducci, bass, vocals
- Chris Grigoroff, guitar, vocals
- Scott Tuma, guitar (left the band sometime after 1996)
- Jamey Barnard, drums (left the band in 1991)
- On Rough Trade Records
- On Moll Tonträger
- 1994: Frozen
- 1997: Notes Campfire
- On tUMULt Records
- 1999: Framed – 4-CD re-issue of the first four albums
- Compilation appearances
- 2002: "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends" on "Nothing Left to Lose: A Tribute to Kris Kristofferson"
- 2006: "Ringside Suite" on the Yeti Magazine No. 4 compilation
- Believer article by Theodore McDermott
- Harp magazine article by John Darnielle
- Rolling Stone article
- Village Voice article
- Allmusicguide entry