SOUL BOX crossed our radar screen during the 2018 Boston Blues Challenge which was filmed and broadcast live from The Fallout Shelter for the first time. Among the bands competing for the crown were Fallout Shelter favorites GA-20 and Sugar Blood Jinx among others. Soul Box took the title and had a terrific run through the semi-finals at the prestigious Memphis Blues Challenge in February. They may not have won, but they did prove themselves to be one of the most formidable bands in Boston right now.
Frontman George Howard has the "it" factor. While no one is really ever sure what "it" is, there is consensus that one can spot it a mile away. He's part Jim Morrison, part Mick Jagger or Michael Hutchense. A performer that off the stage is quiet, reserved and understated but on stage moves with utmost confidence and exudes the power of a consummate performer. He's got a guttural tone to his voice that conjures up comparison to Muddy Waters. In an era where there are less front men without an instrument to hold on to he is, in that sense, a throwback to a different time. Think of the days of Robert Plant or Freddie Mercury.
Not to be lost behind the dynamic Howard is guitarist Gregg Miller who is as blistering an axe man as we have seen on the Fallout Shelter stage and that is saying a lot. He's a master of the classic, crunchy Strat tone coupled with a complete soul for the instrument. He can shred with anyone we've seen but what Gregg Miller plays comes from deep within. He's a blues and rock guitarist of higher order. He feels this music...it starts in the soul, travels through the hands and appears through a beat up Fender that's been well loved. Stevie Ray Vaughan had that gift...and many others too. Too many to name here.
Matt Smith on keyboards adds the Memphis Soul magic to the Soul Box sound. The organ sound is imperative to what this band creates sonically. The songs are written in a classic Memphis/Stax style, based around organ and guitar harmony with a solid rhythm section to carry the load. It's blues for sure but there's rock and soul flavor throughout. Bass player Ric Naistadt and drummer Rob Megna mix Rolex precision with thumping back beat bringing it all home for Soul Box. This band could be, should be a staple on the traveling blues circuit to festivals and those cruises you hear about. They are good...as good as there is in Boston right now.
George Howard - vocals
Gregg Miller - guitar, vocals
Rob Megna - drums
Ric Naistadt - bass
Matt Smith - keyboards
The Session Crew
Produced and edited by:
H. Nat Stevens