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Taken from Northern Star (Apr 01, 2018)

Con Brio: the sultry but soulful sound of Paradise

by Javier Encalada

ONSTAGE: Con Brio's singer Ziek McCarter performs at the Jambalaya Stage at Bluesfest 2018. PhotoCredit: Marc Stapelberg

ZIEK McCarter, the lead singer and lyricist of American band Con Brio, received a message from his late father in a dream, and that message became the inspiration for the band's first full-length album, Paradise.

Carter confirmed the name of the album was partly inspired by a dream he had about his late father, an Army veteran who died at the hands of East Texas police in 2011.

EXPRESSIVE: Ziek McCarter from Con Brio. PhotoCredit: Marc Stapelberg

In the dream, his father delivered an invitation: 'Come with me to paradise.'

Con Brio is an Italian expression used in music to describe something 'with spirit' or 'with vigour', and in this case, it also means 'with rhythm and blues'.

Con Brio is an American soul and rock and roll band formed and based in San Francisco, California, in 2013.

Is that vigour on stage that earned the band an invite to come back to Bluesfest after stunning critics and punters with their sexy, sensual and soulful live shows.

The band currently consists of McCarter, guitarist Benjamin Andrews, bassist Jonathan Kirchner, keyboardist Patrick Monaco Glynn, drummer Andrew Laubacher, and horn players Marcus Stephens and Brendan Liu.

They recorded and released an EP in 2015 called Kiss the Sun, and Paradise, in 2016.

FRONTMAN: Con Brio's singer is Texan artist Ziek McCarter, at Bluesfest 2018. PhotoCredit: Marc Stapelberg

McCarter, who grew up in Texas, said a plant commonly found on the Northern Rivers is also related to the album's inspiration.

"We were working on the album and the dream became the song, although the album concept also came from these plants you guys have here, birds of paradise,” he explained.

"My father played guitar, he was a big influence on me.”

But Con Brio is now working on a new album and they shared some of their new songs with Bluesfest audiences over the weekend.

Drummer Andrew Laubaucher said they have started playing here songs from a new unnamed record the band hopes to release late this year or early 2019.

"It's a continuation of the sound of Paradise, but there's definitely some new themes,” he said.

"Ziek did a really good job, and a lot of the songs are reflections of what we've been through as a band.

"The first record was what we wanted to create and project, where we wanted to be, and now that we have toured the world and we have been a band, it's cool to see how the lyrics reflect that curiosity of where are we going and confidence in what we are doing.”


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