Occasionally I will go on what I like to call a “musical walkabout.” To me, this means seeking out a certain sound. Last year, it was the 80’s metal sound (mostly Pantera). This year is my year of soul. I’m not talking about neo-soul, per se, but more of an old-school funky soul sound.

I guess this all started with Music Design’s Senior Director. She played an old Marvin Gaye song for me the other day called “Just Like Music” (Music Feel The Soul). I had never heard this particular track before (and I own MANY of Marvin’s albums) and I was absolutely floored by it.

Marvin’s smooth voice and the funky bass line combine to make an almost perfect soul song (in my ears). Like I said, I had never heard this song before but you can tell by the production that it had to be done late in Marvin’s career. The effects on the bass and the quasi-spacey synths were my first clue. But the really cool thing is that, even with the modern effects, he manages to keep it classic with the strings that swell throughout the track.

The big question is…who is making music like this today? Here’s an artist I am enjoying right now…

Unified Tribe is a group I met here in Austin a few years ago. I was taken by their old-soul sound and their dynamic. Unified Tribe is a large collective of musicians under the leadership of Magic Mendez.

I would have to say that my favorite track from the group is “Love’s On My Mind.” This track has all the earmarks like the tight horn accents, the female led backing chorus and, of course, Magic Mendez’s signature vocals. Another notable song is their cover of L.T.D.’s “Back In Love.”


Unified Tribe’s sound is interesting and so is the way the group works together. Mendez has assembled a group of musicians from differing backgrounds and he blends them together for the Tribe’s unique sound. One of the members, Harmony, joined the group as a backing singer. She soon realized that she wanted to expand her musical abilities beyond singing, so she learned to play keyboards and she is also one of the production coordinators for the band and Magic Muzik Productions.

So check out the Unified Tribe to hear a real soul band with a great positive vibe.

– Submitted by Jose Brown, Music Design