Funky Blues at Funky Blues: People’s Blues of Richmond to jam the Shack

Savannah Chastain
From Left, Matt Volkes, Neko Williams, and Tim Beavers make up the People’s Blues of Richmond.

People’s Blues of Richmond (PBR), hailing from Virginia, plays a little bit of everything. Described on their website as ‘blues infused psychedelia,’ the trio is comprised of Matt Volkes on bass, Tim Beavers on guitar and vocals and Neko Williams on drums.

“We have everything, everything that tickles our ears we’re gonna take a swing at,” said Beavers, when asked what genre PBR most represents.

 “We don’t really put ourselves in a box,” Williams said. “We are an amalgamation of a lot of different genres; you have to see it to judge it.”

When it comes to inspiration, each band member brings their own flavor from all over the musical spectrum.

 “I like a lot of old blues stuff,” said Beavers. “I like aggressive bands that mix heavy riff-rock, modern technology and punk.” Beavers said that for him, the most influential bands are Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Rage Against the Machine.

Williams, whose father is Drummie Zeb, of the legendary reggae band, The Wailers, told The Log that his inspiration comes from family music.

“There was a lot of music around me growing up. My father plays drums, my mom plays the piano, my big brother plays sax, and grandfather taught me reggae and gospel,” he said.

When it comes to assessing his style, Williams draws on the new sound known as fusion.

“I pretty much like everything, but most of all I like fusion, I consider myself a fusion drummer. I like a lot of different genres mashed up,” he said.

For Volkes, inspiration is more of a moment-by-moment process.

“The truth of it is, inspiration comes from experience,” he said. “Music is a form of expression. We express what we are feeling at the moment; it’s just who we are, at the moment, and there are a lot of people that can relate to what we feel.”

The band originally got it’s name to fit the acronym for the popular beer company Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR), but the meaning grew from there as Beavers explained, “We were both kind of fond of blues music, we found that newer music had a lot of roots in blues, so the idea is that we could be a band that’s about the blues and on the topic suffering.”

The band is now touring to promote their sophomore album, Good Times Suicide that offers a high-energy mix of blues, funk and rock sounds with a carnival-style flare. PBR will play at Funky Blues Shack, April 21, which will mark the band’s second time in Destin, as they participated in the 30A Songwriter’s festival in January.

“Last time we went it was really diverse, lots of bands, solo acts and music lovers from different places, a really neat mix,” said Beavers. “The town was really buzzing, all the way until late at night, we kind of got a really nice first look at Destin.”