Decibella — How Bexy Ribeiro got her groove back
Earlier this year, Bexy Ribeiro decided enough was enough.
In April, the 2012 Entertainer of the Year at the Chattanooga Music Awards felt like she was spinning her creative wheels when her electronic/soul trio Digital Butter split up after a run of about five years.
A pervasive presence on the Chattanooga music scene, Ribeiro still had plenty on her plate, including spots on the lineups for The Malemen Show Band, The Power Players and The Communicators. In losing Digital Butter, however, she also lost her sole outlet for performing her own material. Even with most of her nights and weekends spoken for — on top of maintaining a full-time job — she needed to fill that void.
So she started head-hunting.
“I reached out to people and started assembling a group, a supergroup,” she says, laughing. “I wanted to make sure they were not rookies, people who had been around and knew what was up.”
By the time the dust cleared around the newly solidified lineup for the new project, Decibella, Ribeiro had assembled what she calls “an elite group” of scene veterans, including Soul Mechanic’s bassist and saxophonist, Tyler Reddick and Jon Elliott, Remembering January guitarist Tyler Southern and Knoxville-based gospel drummer Jared White.
Decibella debuted on the music scene in March as a contender in the semifinal round of Road to Nightfall battle of the bands. They lost — by seven votes — to the contest’s ultimate victors, Function, but it served its intended purpose “to make a statement,” she says.
Since then, they’ve played Riverbend, released the five-track EP “In Denial” and been on heavy rotation at local clubs around town. On Friday, Aug. 22, they’ll open for this week’s Nightfall headliner, Johnnyswim, before heading down Market Street for a second show at Rhythm & Brews.
Despite the many other projects she’s been involved in since joining Chattanooga’s music scene as a member of Milele Roots in 2006, Ribeiro says Decibella represents her first opportunity to play her own music in front of live instrumentation instead of a digital backing track. That’s been an invigorating change of pace, she says.
And that creative void she was so irked by? Filled to overflowing, Ribeiro says.
“One hundred percent and more,” she says. “[The songs] are all growing and flourishing. It’s more than I ever thought I would get out of something like this. It’s been a great experience.”
Times Free Press | 08.22.14 | Casey Phillips
Listen Up: "I Wouldn't Know" by Decibella
Who knew that you could get a dose of authentic New Orleans funk and soul in the Scenic City? Well, anyone who's caught one of Decibella's raucous live shows could definitely clue you in. Their brand of stomping blues and funk-inspired rhythms seems to have come straight off Bourbon Street. There's a sense of ecstatic life to their music that's as infectious as it is necessary.
Some bands try to keep you at an arm's length, willing to forgo that emotional connection with the listener in exchange for the conscious acknowledgement that they're doing something that deserves to be recognized. It's an odd position for a band to be in and one that doesn't allow much in the way of relatable experiences for either the band or fan. But Decibella's music is as inclusive as you could get, with the band working hard to erase any sort of boundary that might exist between the listener and them.
Composed of singer/trumpeter Bexy Ribeiro, guitarist/keyboardist Tyler Southern, singer/bassist Tyler Reddick, drummer Jared White and (alto and baritone) saxophonist Jon Elliott, Decibella functions as a completely unified collection of like-minded musicians. There's never a sense that the music feels pulled in a handful of different directions, despite the numerous influences of each member. Their unique amalgamation of blues, funk, soul and rock isn't something that you're likely to come across very often, and those who've witnessed the band firsthand can attest to how remarkably well the band carries these sounds.
They're getting ready to release their debut EP, "In Denial," and, in fact, will host the EP's release party July 10 at The Honest Pint—which just so happens to be the same day they'll be celebrating Ribeiro's 30th birthday. This gathering, affectionately referred to as Decibella's EP Release Party & Bexy's Dirty Thirty Cancer Birthday Party, will feature plenty of fantastic music and well wishes for Ribeiro. They'll also have copies of "In Denial" on hand for you to pick up, so be sure to get one for yourself.
They've already shared a few songs from the EP online to give people a glimpse of what the full release has in store for them. One of the songs, "I Wouldn't Know," sounds like something you'd hear pouring out of a juke joint at 2 a.m. during Mardi Gras. But there's also a pop inflection that keeps the song moving forward, never pausing for a moment to catch its breath and never allowing the listener to do the same. It pulls you along in it brass-infused wake and dares you to keep up.
Ribeiro's fierce and confident vocals and the churning rhythm section keep this engine plowing forward, barreling toward some point on the horizon that no one, not even the band, can see yet. It's a whirlwind of soaring voices, brass expulsions and thudding percussion, and you'll remember every second of it. And based on this song and the others we've heard so far, "In Denial" should absolutely be on your musical radar. Call it brass pop or NOLA pop or even Southern skronk, but whatever description you'd care to assign, know that Decibella will have you on your feet and moving before you realize what's happening.
Nooga.com | 07.09.14 | Joshua Pickard
A must see act on Unum, Decibella takes the stage at 6:30 p.m. with a killer band and a great sound. Led by 2012 Entertainer of the Year Bexy Ribeiro, this band has mucho talent. I have seen them twice, but I want to see them again, as their drummer may very well be up for Drummer of the Year honors this year, and Tyler Southern, lead guitar player, has already won previous Best Guitar Player of the Year and Best Keyboard Player of the Year honors.
(Read More Here)
Chattanoogan.com | 06.12.14 | Bob Payne
'Chattanooga’s Live Music Scene – Like It Or Not: Bands Get Paid By Their Drawing Power'
... Be a pro, act like a pro, play like a pro, expect to be treated as a pro – and before long, everyone will know you are the real deal. Talk to the real pros you see out and about. There are many, but anyone from the Malemen Band, The Beaters, or Jimmy Tawater would be a great start. They’ve been in this game a long time and know the ins and outs of the business and are as professional as they come. So, you have to be older to be a pro? Nope! Just this past month, at the Road to Nightfall, I was reminded that our yutes of America are real pros, as well. Decibella, Bexy Ribeiro’s new band, looked, sounded, and acted like real pros. Ditto for Jordan Hallquist and many of the bands that performed at the Road to Nightfall. They showed the world you can be young and most excellent – and professional. Don’t think for a moment that being professional makes you a stuffed shirt, either. One intangible reason for the success these bands have is that they have FUN! Travis Kilgore, himself a seasoned pro, has a band called Scarlet Love Conspiracy. Go see them play and watch them have fun. It’s contagious. ...
Chattanoogan.com | 04.10.14 | Bob Payne
SINGER SONGWRITER BEXY RIBIERO has a brand new bag, Decibella, and if the preliminary tracks are any indication, she’s going to set the 2014 Road to Nightfall on fire.
The Digital Butter founder and veteran of numerous musical collaborations assembled a team consisting of herself on vocals and trumpet, Tyler Southern on guitar, Tyler Reddick on bass and Jared White on drums. Plans are in the works to add a keyboard player and a more robust horn section, but this is the core of the group at the moment—and for the moment, it is enough.
The phenomenal thing about Decibella is how swiftly it seems to be progressing. The band has been together only a short time but has already scored a handful of important gigs and is recording material at a fantastic rate. Granted, the tracks are all rough cuts at the moment, but I’m almost starting to think I’d prefer bands give me their rough tracks instead of a finished product. After a quarter century playing music, I believe you can judge more about a band’s sound from an open-air recording at rehearsal than from a finished, polished album. I was given seven tracks to preview (if not an album, then a very beefy EP) and none of them disappointed.
Track one, “Done Me Wrong,” is a fairly classical representation of funky r&b; solid instrumentals provide the backdrop for the diva-like vocals of Ribiero. It is a solid piece of genre work that readily demonstrates the strong fundamentals of the band.
Track two is a slightly more daring entry called “Melt” in which we are given a taste of Ribiero’s impressive dynamic vocal range and tasty trumpet work.
“Melt” is followed by the cover tune “Get Lucky.” There are those who deride the idea of any cover tunes on an album, espousing some holier-than-thou attitude that THEY only play original material. I am not one of those. It is my belief that a well-done cover not only honors the original but also serves as a sort of baseline for comparison of the band doing the reinterpretation. Seriously, imagine your five favorite bands covering the same song. Does any version sound exactly like any other? Is any version somehow NOT to your liking? The answers to these rhetorical questions are “no” and “no” respectively. The point is that covers (in moderation) are a good thing and Decibella’s version of “Get Lucky” is both enlightening and entertaining.
The angst-ridden “Nobody Loves You” is a plaintive appeal to the subject that no one loves him the way the singer does, and she delivers an Oscar-worthy performance as the broken-hearted songstress in this particular submission. I have no idea whether the inspiration for this tune was drawn from real life, but it certainly sounds that way. And that’s talent, kids.
Next up in rotation is the provocatively titled track, “Next Man.” As it happens this tune IS definitely drawn from some real-life circumstances and just goes to reinforce that old Biblical proverb: Never date a songwriter and then piss her off. Musically the tune dials the funk up to eleven, and while I have no doubt the band is enjoying every tune they play, I have to think that this one in particular is fun for all concerned (except, perhaps, the fellow for whom it was written…). The catharsis is audible in Ribiero’s voice as she lays into it with the passion of a woman scorned and the band just seems to be having a blast laying down a jazzy, funky groove that evokes a dark, smoky club as well as anything I’ve ever heard. “I Know You Know” switches gears just a bit. A little less R&B, a little more jazz vocal, it goes a long away towards demonstrating the versatility of the band and its singer.
The final track, “Party of One” is a laidback acoustic (for the moment) piece that sounds like it could come boiling out of any shotgun club lining the sides of Bourbon Street, and is itself an ode to that greatest of Oscar Wilde quotes, “Self-love is the first love.” Indeed, what’s a jilted girl to do?
If you had to sum up Ms. Ribiero in a single word, it would be “voice”. She has it, she knows how to use it, she is a genuine diva—and it seems she has found herself a group of musicians supremely suited to laying down the kind of soulful music her vocals complement the best. If you’ve ever been a fan of her style, you’re going to LOVE this newest project, and it appears there will be plenty of opportunities to do so. The band is stacking up gigs, the two newest being this Friday’s “Road to Nightfall” show, followed by an appearance on March 26 at Chattanooga Unplugged at Rhythm & Brews. In the meantime, listeners can track the band on their Facebook page.
Keep an eye out for their upcoming album. If the rough tracks are any indication (and of course they are), it’s going to be hot, hot, hot.
The Pulse | 03.13.14 | Marc Michael
- Guitars w/ Amps
- Vocal Mics
- PA for Small/Mid Sized Room (if necessary)
- Drum Mics (if necessary)
- Amp Mics (if necessary)
Bexy Ribeiro - Lead Vocals and Trumpet
Tyler Southern - Guitar/Keys
Tyler Reddick - Bass/Vocals
Jared White - Drums
Jon Elliott - Saxophone