Royal and Toulouse arose in 2006 from the simple desire of a few friends to make music together and has since mushroomed into an amalgamation of jazz, hip hop, rock, and blues that celebrates its southern roots and the sounds that influenced its members. The band surrounds the listener with New Orleans blues riffs, commands the stage with Louisiana swagger, and anchors the songs with Birmingham heart. Each member had played influential roles in their respective scenes with bassist Ricky Little and drummer Alex Troughton’s Jive Mob winning the Birmingham Area Music Award (BAMA) for Best Hip Hop Band in 2001 and vocalist Milyn Satterfield receiving a BAMA nomination for Best Female Vocalist in 2006. Their debut release, Skull Orchard, sprang up much like their original jam sessions and practices, spontaneous and raw, but soon garnered worldwide airplay on radio stations in the US, England, Japan, and France. The 2011 followup record, the 14-track Southern Circus, continued to explore Royal and Toulouse’s penchant for darkly beautiful lyrics and melodies, featured a more focused direction, and recruited a bevy of local talent such as keyboardist Matt Slocum (Susan Tedeschi and Oteil and the Peacemakers), trombonist Chad Fisher (Greg Allman and Jason Isbell), and the vocal stylings of Hedbaub Entertainment’s Raymond “Ol’ Tyma” Hill. The album won the group rave reviews and higher profile shows with the likes of Dax Riggs, The Weeks, Lee Bains & the Glory Fires, The Dexateens, Ralph "Soul" Jackson, The Fiddleworms and more. They also played the CBGB Festival in New York City in October of 2013. Next up for the group is their third record, The Belle Curve.
“The upcoming album, The Belle Curve, is even more directive and progressive than the last two as we strive to sculpt each one better than the last,” Satterfield said. “It's all about growth, improvements and discovering our full potential at being the best we can be.”
With a recent feature in the “On the Rise” section of the June 2013 issue of Relix magazine, the band gears up to show the world its limitless artistic potential and will continue to morph and transform with each passing release.
BY CHRIS K. DAVIDSON