Tahoe Onstage - June 24, 2016
"You know what, man? It's time to do something for ourselves." These are the words of Les Carter, who is part of Reno's new super soul group, the Soul Persuaders.
The quartet includes three veteran musicians who were part of Detroit's musical heyday in the 1960s and 70s. They've been friends since childhood and now, after raising families, have reunited in Reno and are resuming their musical careers.
"It was just like the old Blues Brothers - we put the band back together," said Carter, who plays drums and sings. "The new Funk Brothers are here in Reno. We were all trained by the Funk Brothers. They were our high school teachers. We were trained in Motown, R&B and rock and roll, and we are old school to the bone."
The Funk Brothers were the session band in Detroit for most of Motown's records. Carter is joined by guitarist Phil Weaver, bassist Fred Williams and singer Dr. Lee A Davis Jr., aka Dmanlee1.
"I'm the red-headed stepchild from the West Coast," said Davis, a retired Los Angeles policeman who moved to Reno to be near his son. The Soul Persuaders discovered Davis at a karaoke bar. "I was very fortunate to have fallen in the hands of these guys. They are true professionals, and I bring that same attitude to the table."
On Saturday, the Soul Persuaders will headline the Rockbar Theater's first big show. The Rockbar is the site of the former Knitting Factory in downtown Reno. It has been totally renovated.
"They have an awesome sound system," Carter said. "Everything is laid out top notch and it's beautiful. There are tables and chairs. It's a cabaret-like showroom with a VIP section up in the balcony and one off the side of the stage. Almost like a 'David Letterman Late Night' type of deal."
The Soul Persuaders, named after a Detroit band from the 1960s, has been in the making for several years. "We saved our money, me and (Williams) at first, got a brand new vehicle, loaded it up and headed West," Carter said. "We came out to do a tribute show to Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles."
They tried Sacramento, Reno and Las Vegas before electing to make Reno their permanent home. Along the way, Weaver joined them.
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