Published on May 27th, 2019

Lemon City Trio

Lemon City is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Miami. Its name derived from the trees lining the streets that bore fruit of an exceptional sweetness. Lemon City is also the home to one of Miami-Dade County’s oldest schools, its first library and the very first Winn Dixie supermarket. These days Lemon City is considered Little Haiti and Little River (depending on who you speak to); the neighborhoods growing up in and around Lemon City proper. Sometimes carelessly overlooked by South Beach- or Churchill’s-bound nightlifers, it’s now part of a greater Miami renaissance — and an inspiration for Lemon City Trio.

Electric Kif

When Brian Robertson met Nick Tannura and Aaron Glueckauf they had complementary musical ideas. Robertson (keyboards) had led the cerebral indie-funk band Awesome New Republic. Tannura (guitar) and Glueckauf (drums) came from the progressive soul band The Politix. All were Miami-based and found in Lemon City an apt name for their new instrumental project. After all, when the neighborhood in question can draw out the sugar in a notoriously tart fruit, why not follow the lead?

Funk is an attitude more than a style. Now, having said that: One needs style to be funky, but having style does not confer funkiness. To wit: Red Hot Chili Peppers are, technically, a funk band; Bootsy Collins is funk; James Brown, funk; and George Clinton’s atoms are 100% funk. All great genres require exacting obedience to the craft for its practitioners to know the difference.

Lemon City Trio use this as a guiding principle, much in evidence on their debut album, “Welcome to the Neighborhood,” and in their live sets. The group calls on styles of the past to bring a new feeling to funk and soul — something different and yet reverent. Lemon City Trio have been hitting the scene pretty hard, and have quickly made a name for themselves. In their bio, they admit to “a taste for cinematic guitar textures, hip-hop grooves, and slinky Cajun beats,” and further proclaim: “The origin story and style of this band is uniquely characteristic of the city it was born from — Miami.” Which is a sweet way to put it.

Lemon City Trio plays with Electric Kif 8pm Friday June 7 at Voltaire in West Palm Beach. www.lemoncitytrio.com ~ Tim Moffatt

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