Mama-loving music

Wren Wertin
Special to the DailyArizona-based Motherbus pulls into Vail today.

The group prides itself on freedom of expression. That translates directly to inventive rhythms, wailing guitar and vocal honey.

“All four of us are really strong musicians on our own,” said drummer Craig Bryan. “And when we come together we have a great musical bond. I think what really separates us is we have amazing female vocals. A lot of bands are male-vocal led.”

“And besides,” added the drummer, “there’s a lot of drum solos.”

Bryan plays a drum kit in addition to cowbells and “random accessories.”

Motherbus takes its name from two bands that joined together, Mama’s Dead and Shortbus.

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“On an individual basis we all have a lot of freedom, because we all have a lot of sections where we solo and improvise on top of the songs,” said Bryan.

The funk quartet with female vocals has influences as diverse as John Scofield, Charlie Hunter, Jimi Hendrix, Aretha Franklin, Eva Cassidy, Alice in Chains, Herbie Hancock, Medeski Martin and Wood and the venerable subjects of math and science.

“Great live music makes the soul happy,” said Bryan. “That’s why I play music.”

With a basis in funk with jazz highlight, the group makes the occasional musical foray into the worlds of Latin music and soul.

“We try to cover all the basis,” he said.

The musicians describe their sound as “a musical experience unequalled. Motherbus provides the listener with a tantalizing escape from the bland and uninspired: live and alive.” And on tour.

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