California-born singer/guitarist King Julia (aka Jayla Day and Julia Richardson) grew up in old Mohawk territory in upstate New York. She abandoned her college studies in biology and relocated to Austin, Texas, to follow her passion and make music. British-born percussionist Musik Read traveled the world as the child of a military officer and also settled in Austin. They met on a backyard stage in 2009, made music together and fell in love. Fifth Nation was born. By the end of the year, the lovers relocated to Brooklyn to launch the next chapter of a music career. Fifth Nation has recorded two albums, two EPS and two singles, all available for free download at the band’s website, www.fifthnationmusic.com.
At Boss Tweed’s Saloon tonight, Fifth Nation demonstrated a spry mastery of pop, soul and hip hop. Unlike other guitar/drum duos, Fifth Nation did not integrate loops and other programmed music to fill the gaps. The two musicians kept the music simple, with an electric guitar for melody and a small drum kit for rhythm. Julia sang soulfully, at times sounding as sultry as Amy Winehouse, and Read offered the hip hop vocal parts. The sound was rich, yet charmingly sparse and organic. Rock and soul has not been this good in a long while.