While we’ve told you about a fair share of local funk and r&b acts in the past – The Aquaducks, AJ & the Jiggawatts, The Deep Fried 5, and even Alanna Royale among them – that particular scene definitely doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves, so we’re especially excited to premiere a track from another buzzworthy new Nashville funk group today! Though Joel & the Gents have been around for a couple of years, they only recently landed a high-profile publishing deal, and are celebrating some of their best material to date, adopting an intensified focus and well-honed live show which has upped their presence in recent months.
The group’s new track “Bad Love” perfectly encapsulates what they’re about: soulful, accessible, upbeat, and eclectic funk music with an earnest lyrical sensibility, led by singer Joel Heumann. Joel produced the new single himself, which was recorded here in town at Oceanway Studios, engineered/mixed by Zach Johnson, and mastered by Luke Gilfeather.
“The Gents really started out after my sophomore year of college,” explains Heumann. “I used to play in alternative bands in high school, usually as the frontman, and that’s all I really wanted to do… but I left it behind for awhile to focus on music school at Belmont. I went through a particularly nasty breakup halfway through sophomore year (typical), and I started writing music for myself again.” A native of the Nashville area, Joel grew up in a musical household, his parents both singers involved in music and ministry, and fell into a love for hardcore and alternative music in middle school. After dabbling in bands throughout his teens and into college, Joel realized an affinity for funk a bit later in life; though the seed was planted early, his father playing Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire records around the house growing up. “At some point when I started writing music and playing out again after high school, I made this odd connection between the hard grooves and clean lines found in funk music, and threw all of this grit and blues and rock into it—both in the sound and in the stage presence—and thus Joel & The Gents was born. I still love all the angsty, passionate emotion in the alternative world, but I just express it in a slightly different way. I’m an old soul,” says Heumann.
On the inspiration behind “Bad Love,” the singer tells us it is “primarily about that person we all know—in this case, a woman—who’s just bad news. She’s all over everybody, making moves on everyone, and everybody knows it. And the catch is, even though everyone knows her game, she’s so hard to resist because she plays it so well. She’s got that bad love. It ain’t good for ya. Ain’t good for anybody.” Joel is also quick to point out that while “‘Bad Love’ is obviously is more of your basic ‘this chick is bad news’ love-type song, most of the other Gents’ songs are all about living your life positively, caring for each other, and making a difference in the world.”
You can hear the new single below, and be sure to keep an eye out for the official music video in the coming weeks. You can also expect to hear lots more from Joel & the Gents in the near future.