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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

URI at Moe's Original Bar B Que 1


URI at Moe's Original Bar B Que Video 1

Alabama Music Office.com goes to Moe's Original Bar B Que in downtown Tuscaloosa, Alabama to attend a performance by URI. This Tuscaloosa based band does a hybrid blend of Hip-Hop, Funk, Jazz and Rock.
URI  by Jerry W. Henry

I first saw Uri perform at the Rogue Tavern during BAAM! Fest. Uri was filling in for super bassist Oteil Burbridge. It goes without saying, you better be good to fill those shoes. Uri is better than good. He has a natural feel for bass and vocals with great stage presence. Uri is the namesake for his band. He has been compared to Oteil. Uri says of Oteil, "He is one of the best bass players that I have ever seen! I've seen a lot of them. His phrasing, his techinue, it's clean. A great player" Uri sounds like a name from some far off island. But the truth is Uri is Uri Horton from Tuscaloosa. He was raised in the Hayes Court area. His parents took him to church, West Side Church of Christ. There he learned congregational singing (they don't believe in musical instruments played in church). They sang A Cappella. One Christmas, his mother bought him a keyboard. He never learned to play it. He took some lessons, learned the theory and even learned to read music, but he never learned to play the keyboards. However, Uri used his beginning music knowledge as it applied to the bass and increased his knowledge when he took bass lessons from Gary Whitfield. Gary was from California but had moved to T-Town. Another teacher came from Virginia, Rick Johnson, also advanced his bass knowledge. Maybe these outside influences early on gave Uri his exotic approach to the bass. Growing up in the projects, playing musical instruments was not cool. Uri more or less hid in his room to learn bass while the other kids were playing football, kick pen, soccer or whatever the sport of the season. That was short lived. He came out playing. He did double duty. He played at a church in Duncanville during morning services and sang at his home church for night services. Uri's music has been called southern hip-hop mixed with rock 'n' roll. He commented on his music: "When my music is being created, there is a southern take on it, because I am from Alabama. When you say hip hop, you can translate it to the early stages of be bop, people like, Gil Scott-Heron and The Last Poets. They helped engender me, but mine just has more of a southern take on it. Hip hop to me, should have a certain theme that's being said. I think the content within the music is the most important thing. It's my music. I'm just offering what I have. It's what I feel is what I can bring to the table. I'm a fan of music. There is only 2 categories of music to me. Either it's good or it's bad. I'm a fan as well as a musician. I appreciate all of those that are just like me, fans of music." I have read of late that rap is saturated, some say rap is on the decline. I asked Uri for his opinion, "I don't think rap has run it's course. I think the entire music industry as a whole is over saturated. A lot of the music is losing content and musicianship. Rap and hip hop is youthful music. As long as there are young people around, I think rap and hip hop will be around. In every genre of music I think things are being lost. But at the same time there is some good stuff out there too." We talked for awhile about how Uri's music would fit into the jam band world with only a few changes. His music leans toward world music naturally. No matter what he plays. He says, "I'm going to play until I can't play any more. Music is what I do. I do it full time. There is no day job." It wasn't always like that. He went to school to become a mechanic. He graduated December 22nd and his first day at Brandon Honda in Roebuck was January 13th. He worked there for close to 4 years. At that time, "music had got a hold on me again." He said, "I called my girlfriend at her work. I told here I was about to quit my job. She was excited. She wanted to know what better job did I have lined up. I told her no, I am going to play music. I will never forget the uncomfortable silence. (laughter) But we survived." He will soon have a release. His band recorded a live album in Nashville at the French Quarter Cafe. House of Blues engineer, Andy Roddick, recorded their project. Right now they are waiting on the final mix and the artwork. This album is to show how dynamic Uri (the band) is. He knows that in today's world, a band lives or dies by their stage show. I asked what he wanted people to know about him. He told me, "I think there is something greater than what is here on earth. I love. I love people. I love music. I love playing. I love." I told him he sounded like an old hippie. After laughter, "I know that sounds funny. But that's the way I feel. Too many are angry for no reason. It just doesn't make sense to me." Uri ended by saying, "I love this city. I want to be an advocate. I want to be an advocate for the music scene here. There is so much talent here. There are very, very few that come here looking for talent. I want to change that. I want them to know that this city has great talent like Baak Gwai, the Dexateens, Ham Bagby, all those guys with Hackberry Records, Capitol Recording Studio, there is a lot of good people doing a lot of good stuff here. There are those that could come here, that could put people from here on a bigger platform. So far they have turned a deaf ear. I'm just doing all I can to spread the word, everywhere I go." Uri travels all over the southeasten states.
Published Planet Weekly Oct. 2010

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