HomeAn Interview With Rockapella's Jeff Thacher On Motown...and More

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Rockappella's got the funk.

"We gravitate towards the groove," says Rockapella vocal percussionist Jeff Thacher.

That they've got. So much so that the legendary a cappella group decided to focus on funky, soulful music for its latest release, "Motown and More," a collection of covers and -- in true Rockappella fashion -- one original song.

The track list includes 11 Motown favorites including "Blame it on the Boogie," " Papa was a Rolling Stone" and "Dancing in the Street," all with a Rockapella twist, and an original song written by member Scott Leonard.

On the song choices, Thacher said the songs perfectly reflect Rockapella's musical philosophy of bringing groove and melody right to the listener.

"You can't go wrong with these songs," he said. "When you have those great melodies to hang your individuality on, it's a good choice for an album."

But why Motown?

"This [genre] felt right for this album. When you think of artists from that era -- The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5 -- you can't go wrong with those songs," he says.

This album directly correlates with the group's current tour, in which Thacher says the members really bring a Motown feel to the stage. So far, he says, reviews have been good, and audiences are responding very positively to the show.

He says the group wanted to bring the same feel and energy of the live show to the CD; that's why the studio arrangements and the live performances are the same for this particular album.

"The production has been single tracks of each voice performing the live arrangements," he says. "It's live performance done in a studio way."

The album took most of 2012 to create, and it was released in March of this year.

The only original on the album -- "Pretty Much You" -- was a song previously released as part of Scott Leonard's solo album. Thacher said the group decided this would be its first real foray into music videos, even though Rockapella has spent plenty of time in front of the camera.

"We need to get on that [music video] bandwagon," he says.

For now, the guys are touring the country and bringing smiles -- and plenty of funky dance moves -- to cities all across the country. This energy is what they hope listeners of "Motown and More" will be able to hear, Thacher says.

"We wanna groove. We wanna shake it for anyone. Anybody who comes to our latest show will understand what that means."

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About the writer:
Andrea Asuaje is an alumna and former music director of the University of Florida's No Southern Accent. Asuaje works as a web producer for the Palm Beach Post. When she's not in front of a computer, she's singing bass with Jaded, an all-female quintet based out of Cary, North Carolina. Asuaje lives in South Florida with her rabbit Potter.