The Crimson White

It’s another hometown show for CBDB as the jam band takes Druid City tonight

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Ellen Johnson, Katie Huff

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Few Tuscaloosa combinations match the pureness of CBDB and Druid City Music Hall. 

A CBDB concert in Druid City is a homegrown show that runs amok with students and locals alike, giving the University Boulevard concert hall a sense of wholeness that’s absent when out-of-town bands play. 

CBDB and Druid City have quite a history; this is the group’s third show at the venue this year. On tour they’ve played venues like the Georgia Theatre in Athens and an amphitheater in Sewanee, Tenn., but the Tuscaloosa group is always sure to find its way home at some point.

“We love Tuscaloosa,” said Cy Simonton, lead guitarist and vocalist. “That’s home base for us. I think each show definitely has its own vibe, but the Tuscaloosa crowd is definitely always very good. Druid City’s a fun room to play. The crowds are always good there for sure.”

Influenced by groups like Widespread Panic, Outkast, Cake and Phish, CBDB has created their own style that falls on the ever-morphing scatter plot of genre in psychedelic rock. The word is “joyfunk,” and it’s part of the title of their 2015 record: “Joyfunk is Dead.” That’s the album that includes their most-streamed track: “New Eyes,” a catchy ditty so pure in its verses you’ll never get it out of your head. But it’s also songs like the more guitar-driven “My Time” that have been rounding out their setlists in weeks of late. 

“It’s spreading like a white lie / They knew you couldn’t hold,” Simonton sings. “Your free time / It’s worth its weight in gold.”

They released on Facebook a video of them playing the song at this summer’s The Werk Out Music and Arts Festival. 

“I’m not sure what that one’s about,” Simonton said. “It’s taking advantage of your time basically is what that one’s about, and not wasting it. 

Since CBDB hit the scene about five or six years ago, Tuscaloosa music has grown, and it’s changed. This is in part due to the University’s growth, Simonton said, but larger venues are now drawing in crowds from all over. 

“There’s cool venues to play,” Simonton said. “And I think there’s a lot of people in Tuscaloosa that care about that stuff and that want to bring that in. That has a lot to do with that.”

As they tour cross-country and get farther away from Alabama in booking shows, CBDB have seen the lengths to which Tuscaloosa pride stretches. They’ve heard Roll Tide battle cries in cities as far as New York. 

“The first show we’ve ever played in New York, we started playing and someone was yelling Roll Tide,” Simonton said. “So we were like “Damn, alright.” Roll Tides definitely follow us. So that’s definitely fun.”

They’re also gathering new fans as they tour, and crowds are learning lyrics to newer songs like “She’s Mobile” and “Old Dog.”

“You definitely see new faces singing along with that words and that’s definitely encouraging,” Simonton said. 

As CBDB grows and garners a fanbase all over the country, a new generation of bands are taking over the live scene in Tuscaloosa. Many have followed in their footsteps, echoing their jam, funk and psychedelic sounds. Simonton said they can’t take complete credit for the jam renaissance in the Druid City, but there’s no doubt that younger Tuscaloosa bands have been inspired. 

“I think that’s just kind of popular music right now,” Simonton said. “So I think probably a lot of college bands are leaning towards that. But if we did influence that at all, we think that’s definitely very cool. I’m pumped to see bands carrying the torch and playing good music.”

At another Tuscaloosa show this year, WVUA 90.7 FM’s “Tuscapalooza” event at Heat Pizza, CBDB covered “Silly Love Songs” by Paul McCartney’s second band, Wings. Saxophonist Glenn Dillard shines in the upbeat cover. 

“We love Wings,” Simonton said. “If it’s something that a lot of bands try to cover, we try to stay away from that. But you also want to pick something that the crowd knows at least. So I think, that one, I think some of the crowd is going to recognize that and if not, it’s still a catchy tune and a fun one to play.”

The band is working on some new jams, too. They’ll be recording this fall at Southern Ground, Zac Brown’s studio, in Nashville. A new album is on the horizons as well. 

“And we’re going to be recording in October and November and we’re going to hopefully be releasing a full length thing in early next year,” Simonton said. 

“How Long…” we’ll have to wait is still to be determined. In the meantime, there’s still plently of CBDB jams to revel in. 

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It’s another hometown show for CBDB as the jam band takes Druid City tonight