July 18, 2024

Louisiana born and raised, all five musicians of Just Right Band are veterans of the community, the group is made up of lead singer Michael Veal aka Ve’ Al, guitarist/vocalist Ronald “Shammika” Ernest, bassist/vocalist John “Petoe” Ragas, vocalist, keyboardist/trumpeter Kurt Brunus and Williams. Longtime friends, the five wanted to start a project where they simply jammed together. No pressure, just a good time and a throwback to a golden era. They have now been creating what they call “smile music” since 2013. The group’s debut 11 track cd “I Want More” is released through Swamp Island Records.

By any measure, one of the most talented but criminally underappreciated self-contained bands in the Southern Soul and R&B genre of the last few years has to be Just Right Band. Their ability to fuse these genres with an irresistible groove and intelligent lyrical content has gained for them an extremely loyal following among local Soul music fans and great respect among their performing peers, but to my mind they deserve more attention in the greater world.

As we sit squarely in the second decade of the new millennium, this band shines at performing real live music, as dozens of their peers and contemporaries have fallen by the wayside in the wake of 16 year-old laptop luminaries who dominate Billboard and just about any other Chart.

The wanting and longing that Just Right Band so evidently express on this powerhouse “I Want More” album can bring you to your knees. Tracks such as “For the Rest of My Life” Ft. Eunice Green, “Now and Then” and “It’s Gotta Be Love” are incredibly infectiously, and so reminiscent of Luther Vandross.

 I am especially taken by the old school groove, and that infectious uplifting, and feel-good vibe that was a mainstay on soul tracks back in the golden era. These simple elements seemed all but lost in contemporary bands who have been trying their luck at the genre.

Just Right Band is so outrageously magic with their harmonies and rhythms, that they bring back that those elements with ease on “Be with You” (feat. Veal & Flyte), Baby’s Love” (feat. Veal) and “I Want More” (ft. Veal). They have really created a team of professionals who are the epitome of greatness. They lure you into their world of music like few other Soul or R&B groups are able to do anymore.

The Just Right Band could so easily have shared the stage back in the day, with giants such as The Whispers, The O’Jays, The Isley Brothers, The Gap Band, Maze and countless others, without batting an eyelid. Their music is simply timeless. The lyrical content of their songs touches the usual edges of romanticism which is at the core of this heartfelt music and is the perfect canvas for the band’s outstanding vocals and musicianship.

Just Right Band is truly one of a kind in the current musical scenario. Their creativity and flexibility are true testaments to drive, talent and determination. “I Want More” – regardless of which track you prefer – is a clear portrait of what makes this 5-piece groove-machine great as a band – as singers, as songwriters, as arrangers and as producers.


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