Blend tangy, honey-infused mandolin with a simmering string bass, and then add a double-layer of hot, finger-licking guitars. Jackson-based Anna Kline and the Grits and Soul Band satisfy a hunger for some good old-fashioned down-home music. Every tempting offering from Grits and Soul is seasoned with authentic southern spice and smothered in warm velvety vocals.
Anna Kline, 35, is a longtime singer-songwriter originally from Hernando. She contributes most of the vocals for Grits and Soul and also plays guitar. She wrote all of the original songs that the band plays, although the group hopes to begin writing songs together in the near future.
"It's the thing that I've been doing the longest and that I genuinely enjoy, and I know that I'm me when I'm doing that," Kline says of her songwriting.
Jackson native Scott Anderson, 31, plays lead guitar for the group. He met Kline at a songwriters' night at Hal & Mal's last September, and the two have been performing together ever since. John Looney, 29, from Mt. Sterling, Ky., plays the mandolin and sings as well. Travis Pinkston, 26, rounds out the group's sound with his string bass. He is the newest member of the band and hails from Alabama.
The group recently received a lot of attention for their new song, "Flood Waters." The flooding of the Mississippi River this spring inspired the song, and while Kline wrote both the song and the melody, all the band members contributed to the arrangement and flow of the song. The experience solidified Grits and Soul
as a band.
"'Flood Waters' belongs to all of us," Kline says.
The intro to the song evokes the feeling of water building slowly to a flood state. Kline leads with swooping vocals, and the thundering string bass soon accompanies her. A slow trickling of the mandolin and guitar follows the vocals. All the sounds come together to form a flood of music in keeping with the song's theme.
"One thing I like is that the narrative of the song could be from the 1800s or it could be from today—it's the same experience," Looney says.
While "Flood Waters" has a traditional folk vibe to it, Kline refers to their sound as "Americana" and "roots-based." The band tries to remain open to anything that inspires them. When performing, the group's passion, energy and different personalities help them connect with their audience.
"It's all about the listeners and the crowd. It's a big responsibility—we have your mind and your ears and your feelings," Anderson said.
Anna Kline and Grits & Soul have recently had their first recording session and released an EP this summer called "Flood Waters," which will be available locally.
Catch Grits and Soul starting at 8 p.m., Sept. 7, at Underground 119 (119 S. President St., 601-352-2322).
For more information and to sample a tasty bit from the band, visit http://www.gritsandsoul.com. You can also find the band at http://www.facebook.com/gritsandsoulband and http://www.myspace.com/gritsandsoul.