Hometown funk band Mercy Funk has changed its lineup but not its mantra
By Liam Newbigging | August 2, 2023
What do the greatest in funk and R&B have in common? Looking at artists like American funk legends James Brown and Aretha Franklin, it’s a vocalist whose voice and personality demand your attention and a tight rhythm section locked into a selfless dedication to the groove. Mercy Funk, who will perform at this weekend’s Disco in the Park Music Festival, has both of these qualities.
Just listening to “Good Man” off of Feel Good, you can feel the driving momentum of Angela Proulx’s groovy bass line and Kevin Gaudet’s drums lock together in a sweet, steady climb. The vocals of Crystal Eyo are savoury and sometimes guttural in their delivery.
Eyo and Proulx have led this group for over a decade now, releasing an EP in 2016 and a full-length album in 2018. They have made some lineup changes since then and are expecting to release more music soon after spending the last few years putting together new material and getting ready for the recording studio. While some things have changed for the band since its last record, like a new guitar player and keyboardist, Eyo and Proulx have continued to develop their Mercy Funk sound and move the band forward.
“We have been focusing more on incorporating keys and background vocals, which has definitely changed our sound,” says Eyo. “I think we’ve gotten a little bit more poppy, which you’ll hear when we release our new single, but it’s definitely still very much Mercy Funk.”
The new and improved sound now includes the guitar work of local six-string powerhouse Anthony King, who has performed for Latin-rock god Carlos Santana, and with other music royalty like Slash from Guns & Roses and jazz legends like Herbie Hancock and the late Wayne Shorter.
While some things change for the band, Eyo says that the thing that’s always stayed the same and will continue to be the joy that comes with the band.
“Honestly, we just have so much fun, and like, we talked about it a lot, and we do really feel that there’s something special about Mercy Funk,” says Eyo. “I think Mercy Funk will always exist.”