Five questions: Greg Sover Band

Philly group latest EP features five originals, including tribute to the singer’s late mother

Philly group Greg Sover BandThe Greg Sover Band recently released its latest EP, ‘The Parade.’ | Image: Jeff Fasano Photography
The Greg Sover Band recently released its latest EP, ‘The Parade.’ | Image: Jeff Fasano Photography

Indie, blues and rock outfit the Greg Sover Band released its six-song EP, “The Parade,” last month. The EP features five originals and the band’s interpretation of the Cream classic, “Politician.”  

Recorded in Germantown, “The Parade” was co-produced by Garry Lee and Mike Tarsia with Sover. In addition to his impassioned vocals, pointed songwriting and blistering lead guitar work, the band features Garry Lee on bass guitar and backing vocals, drummer Tom Walling, guitarist Allen James and keyboardist Wally Smith. Gloria Galante performs harp on select tracks.

The EP kicks off with the hard-rocking “Wake Up,” a searing call for the listener to truly grasp what it is like to walk in the shoes of a Black person in contemporary America. Contrastingly, “Feelin Sumthin’” is an uplifting rocker. “I tried to capture the country, blues, rock and gospel in this one with lyrics that make you remember why you are in certain situations to begin with,” Sover said.

“It’s Never Too Late,” is a gentle, acoustic tribute to the singer’s late mother who passed away a decade ago this year. “It’s never too late to work things out. … We’ve always been together, no, I won’t forget,” he promises.

Sover pays homage to Cream with his version of “Politician,” which premiered on WXPN’s The Key, which raves, “Sover’s personal touches including more bluesy riffs and impassioned vocals allow him to have a new take on the classic rock piece.” 

The EP finishes up with the driving, “Never Gonna Stop,” a Hendrix-inspired rocker that highlights Sover’s wailing lead vocal. “I wrote the riff first, and I wanted this one to have a rock sound, but blues feel,” he says. “I speak about leaving behind everything that held you back in any way.”

The band has spent the last few years making a mark for itself with high-profile performances that include WXPN’s XPoNential Festival and Free at Noon live radio broadcast, two years as a finalist in the Memphis-based International Blues Challenge and two performances for ALT104.5’s Live at 5 broadcast. They have charted on Roots Top 50 Blues Rock stations across the country and their “Jubilee” EP reached No. 20 on Living Blues Magazine’s radio charts. In 2019, they were named one of WMMR’s Local Shots Artists of the Month.

They have supported artists including TheYardbirds, Jeffrey Gaines, Jimmy Vivino, Tommy Conwell & the Young Rumblers, Sonny Landreth, Marcus King Band, Walter Trout, Popa Chubby, Ana Popovic, Indigenous, Quinn Sullivan, Davy Knowles, Jamie McLean, Johnny A., Rusted Root, Nick Schnebelen and Garland Jeffreys.

PW recently caught up with Sover to chat about the band and the new music.

Talk a little about how you got interested in music. Who were some of your early influences?

My dad got me into music. He also plays the guitar, and I remember him getting me my first guitar when I was about 5 years old. He showed me how to play one song when I was 13, but I am predominantly self-taught. Growing up Haitian, Kompa and Zouk were the styles of music often played at our house, and I also became a fan of music spanning all genres from rap to country. Jay-Z, Bob Marley and Dwight Yoakam were major influences and Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan made me want to play blues and rock.

Greg Sover included a moving tribute to his late mother on his band’s latest album. | Image: Jeff Fasano Photography

You recently released your EP, “The Parade.” How did it all come together? What’s been the response from your fans?

We recorded this EP in Germantown and it was produced by Garry Lee, Mike Tarsia and myself. I wanted something different on this EP, a heavier sound with louder guitars and vocals that keep the listener hooked. Lyrically, I speak to issues that are relevant in the world today. The song “Wake Up” I wrote as a searing call for the listener to truly grasp what it is like to walk in the shoes of a Black person in contemporary America. The response from the fans has been great, and I really appreciate their support.

You’ve had a lot of high-profile appearances in recent years. How have the pandemic and all of the closures impacted your career? How did you spend your downtime, and what are your plans after the pandemic passes?

A lot of gigs were canceled this year due to the pandemic, including festivals and special appearances. However, I have managed to stay busy. Earlier this year, I released a single called, “Politician,” then the EP, and I did a bunch of Facebook and Instagram Live gigs for radio shows. During my downtime, I’ve done a lot of songwriting. I’m always thinking about the next album, so I’m always writing. The big plan is to go on the road when this pandemic passes. I miss playing live and I miss the stage.

What’s it like to be part of the Philly music scene? Is Philadelphia a place to be for rising musicians? Are there any local acts you’re especially tuned into these days?

It’s great being a part of Philly’s music scene. Philly is home to some of the most talented people on Earth. It’s a great place to hone your craft and get sharp on your instrument. I think of legends that came from Philly, from Pattie Labelle all the way to Beanie Sigel and many more who have left their mark in this city. It’s a place for rising musicians to come and get noticed because Philly is packed with people who love music, going to shows and supporting our scene. I’m a big fan of local acts Kuf Nots and Andorra.

What are the best ways for people to stay up to date with what you’re doing?

Instagram is the best place to keep with me: @gregsover and @gregsoverband, and on Facebook, @GregSoverBand. You can also check out my official website, Gregsover.com.

  • Eugene Zenyatta was raised on old-time Memphis 'rasslin' and strongly prefers the company of dogs to people. His greatest heartbreak came in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic.