Nelson Curry was so inspired with Augusta’s rich recording industry presence, past and present, he decided to add to the city’s vibrant recording legacy.
Curry is the leader of Klass Band Brotherhood, a North Augusta-based band that’s riding a wave of success with the release of their first single, Sugaa Shack.
Curry likes to classify this old-school ditty with a hint of gospel-quartet spirits as Southern Soul or Neo Blues.
He credits both the success of Lady Antebellum and The Godfather of Soul, James Brown – with whom he shares a May 3 birthday – for inspiring him to compose a hit record for his six-piece band.
“I was checking out the phenomenal success of Lady A, and noticed how much support they were receiving locally and figured, ‘Hey, that’s something we can do, too.’ ” Lady Antebellum also has Augusta roots.
Curry said he quickly headed to the studio, gathered his longtime bandmates and created Sugaa Shack, a song that’s been making waves on R&B and beach music radio throughout the South for more than a year.
The song is also inspired by Curry’s longtime music mate Rod “Catdaddy” Nickerson, who died a year ago of complications from cancer.
“The song has really taken off. We’re getting great responses in Montgomery and Mobile, Ala., in Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida,” said Curry – adding that the tune is now being heard “up north” in Maryland, Pittsburgh, New York and Ohio.
“It’s a song that gains new life every time it gets played,” he said.
Thirty-year Augusta radioman Minnesota Fattz said he predicted the song would achieve national hit status.
Fattz was first to “break” the tune when he played the demonstration version during a portion of his morning show with partner Cher Best.
“Without an appointment, Nelson walked into my office and proclaimed he had something I needed to hear, immediately. He was just that confident. The hook – ‘Back to the sugaa shack’ – was so strong, I told Nelson ‘this is a hit,’ ” said Fattz, who serves as operations manager and program director of Clearchannel Augusta’s KISS 96.3 FM radio.
Fattz said he alerted radio colleagues throughout the South to the song’s potential.
Last March the group performed on the Blues Is Alright Tour at Bell Auditorium.
“Augusta showed us much love that night,” said Curry, who wore a cape in homage to the Godfather of Soul.
A month later, the group played the annual SOS Beach Music convention in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. The experience garnered new fans and showed that the band could cross racial lines, Curry said.
The group proudly joins a genre once dominated by southern soul stars like B.B. King, Tyrone Davis, Johnnie Taylor, Bobby Bland and Marvin Sease.
In recent years acts like Mel Waiters, Sir Charles Jones, Theodis Ealy, Roy C, Denise LaSalle, Floyd Taylor, Latimore and now Klass Band Brotherhood, are carrying on a soulful music tradition that largely remains unknown in major media markets, but has generated legions of fans – primarily in small bars, juke joints, VFWs, American Legion posts and “Sugaa Shacks” throughout the Southeast.
Klass Band Brotherhood also consists of Wayne Bowman, keys; Allen Curry, keys; Curtis Knight, bass guitar; Darrius Courtney, drums, Derrick Thomas, electric pads/drums and guitarist Paisley Gordon, formerly with Van Hunt Band and Original P-Funk.
“We’re all about making people smile and walk away from our show knowing that they’ve had the time of their life,” said Nelson Curry.