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Con Brio announces debut album, Paradise, shares single “Free and Brave” — listen

San Francisco soul septet presses their stage-crushing energy into a proper full-length

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    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    Have you heard of Con Brio? You should.

    The most exciting act to come out of last year’s Austin City Limits Festival was without a doubt San Francisco’s soul squeezing septet. Led by frontman Ziek McCarter, and fueled by the “Hallelujah Horns” of Marcus Stephens and Brendan Liu, the shimmy shaking outfit conquered the Tito’s tent early Friday afternoon. The entire weekend was ahead of us, but their unique blend of cheery funk and soulful R&B set a watermark that no other act could touch.

    Although they’ve been around since 2013 — and dropped their sizzling Kiss the Sun EP last year — they’ve yet to release an official full-length debut. Come July 15th, they’ll do just that when they open the doors to Paradise. Produced by Mario Caldato Jr. (Beastie Boys, Beck, Seu Jorge), the 12-track album is “a declaration of independence you can dance to; an assertion of what can happen when the human spirit is truly free,” as the press release notes.

    The album’s title comes “one of the most spiritual moments of my life,” McCarter notes, referring to a vivid dream he had involving his father, an Army veteran who died at the hands of the East Texas police in 2011. In the dream, his father had one specific message for his son — an invitation, in fact: “Come with me to paradise.” That inspiration is all over the album, especially first single “Free & Brave”, a riotous four-and-a-half minute meditation on hope.

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    “‘Free & Brave’ is in part a response to the Black Lives Matter movement, but it was also created to serve as a reminder — to myself and to whoever finds joy in that song — that there is a light there. We don’t have to get bogged down, we don’t have to feel helpless,” says McCarter. “We might not see it on a daily basis, but we are still ‘the land of the free and home of the brave’…I still take pride in that, in what pieces of joy and happiness we can create here with our actions.”

    Stream the track below and consult the full tracklist and album artwork shortly after. If you’re hooked, you can catch Con Brio at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, Montreal Jazz Fest, and more. Tour dates also down ‘nyah.

    Paradise Tracklist:
    01. Paradise
    02. Eagle Eye
    03. Liftoff
    04. You Think This is a Game?
    05. Free & Brave
    06. Hard Times
    07. My Love
    08. Money
    09. No Limits
    10. Honey
    11. Paradise Outro
    12. Can’t Get Enough

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    Con Brio 2016 Tour Dates:
    05/06 – New York, NY @ Apollo Music Cafe
    05/14 – San Francisco, CA @ Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
    05/17 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The State Room
    05/18 – Aspen, CO @ Belly Up
    05/19 – Denver, CO @ Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
    05/20 – Santa Fe, NM @ Outside Bike & Brew Festival
    06/02 – Allston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
    06/04 – Hunter, NY @ Mountain Jam
    06/09 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music Festival
    06/26 – Pittsburgh, PA @ James Street
    06/30 – St. Louis, MO @ The Demo
    07/03 – Milwaukee, MI @ Summerfest
    07/08 – Eisenstadt @ Nova Jazz & Blues Night
    07/09 – Rotterdam @ North Sea Jazz Festival
    07/12 – London, UK @ Kew The Music
    07/14 – Ghent, BE @ Gent Jazz Festival
    07/17 – Nijmegen, NL @ Valkhoff Festival
    07/18 – Nice, FR @ Nice Jazz Festival
    07/23 – Yuzawa-Cho, JP @ Fuji Rock Festival
    07/29 – Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza 
    07/30-31 – Floyd, VA @ FloydFest
    08/06 – San Francisco, CA @ Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival

    Paradise Artwork:

    Con Brio - Paradise - Album Cover

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