Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio takes the stage at Strings
Soul meets jazz meets funk and rock with the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio led by Lamarr, who is joined by Jimmy James on the guitar and Dan Weiss on the drums. Lamarr is a self-taught musician who formed the band in 2015. Now the group travels the country delighting audiences with their compelling chemistry and explosive live shows. Explore Steamboat caught up with Lamarr ahead of Friday night’s show.
Explore Steamboat: As a self-taught musician, where did you start and which instrument did you learn first?
Delvon Lamarr: The first instrument I ever played was a baritone horn. I weeded through instruments in junior high and high school and ended up playing the trumpet and drums, which I stuck with for a while until I was about 22. I was playing with Joe Doria, who played the organ, and I watched him do it and was really fascinated with it. I asked Joe if I could try it one day and sat down and played it like I’ve been playing it all along. I always say the organ chose me.
ES: The organ isn’t an instrument that we often hear in the mainstream music world. How do you make it feel current and make it your own?
DL: Sometimes it’s hard for people to latch on to instrumental music because there are no lyrics and people need that. My approach to the organ is to play it as melodically as possible. I try to play it like someone is singing. Sometimes people tell me they can actually hear words there. That’s what I shoot for.
ES: I read that your band specializes in the “lost art of feel-good music.” What does that mean to you?
DL: The way someone once explained the vibe of our band was like sitting around a campfire, hanging out with your friends. When we play, we don’t just play the music; we like to pull people into the music. That makes people feel good. Also, we cross so many genres that it’s really hard to say exactly what we are — jazz, soul, funk, rock. We even covered Dolly Parton. We do so many different things that it appeals to pretty much everybody.
ES: It sounds like you put on quite a show. What’s your favorite thing about performing live?
DL: The fans. It took 2020 to really appreciate our fans and who is out there in the audience even more. We did some live streams during COVID, and the energy isn’t there. We really feed off the crowd and the people, and that makes a world of difference.
What: Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Strings Music Pavilion, 900 Strings Road
Tickets: Starting at $25; StringsMusicFestival.com
ES: Earlier this year you released a new album — tell me about that.
DL: It’s called “I Told You So.” When we first started, we had a different drummer, and he was great and gave us a really distinct sound. But he ended up leaving the group because he couldn’t go on the road, and a lot of people thought that if we didn’t have him, we wouldn’t sound the same because his drumming was so distinct. I always told people, ‘It doesn’t matter who is in the band. If the music is good, people are going to love it.’ We set out to prove that and that’s where the name came from.
ES: How has your music changed from one album to the next?
DL: We push the envelope a little more now than when we released our first album. The first album was great, but it’s a little more reserved and almost like we were still trying to figure out the sound of us. Over time, being able to play music more, being on the road more, writing more, it’s like the vibe and chemistry has gotten even bolder. It’s still in the same flavor, but it’s a little more edgy.
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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