Eric Redd has lived in the Hudson Valley for about a decade, and three years ago, Amy Helm told him, “You need to do your thing up here, something dancier.” She invited him to do a song with her stepfather, Donald Fagen, at the Barn last Thanksgiving and, Redd says, “It was the start of an exciting new year.”
Not that the singer/songwriter/dancer’s life wasn’t already pretty exciting: Redd’s a potent, “Nu Old-Skool” brew of Terrence Trent D’Arby, Chic and Rick James, mixed in with his own funky fervor. He has released several acclaimed discs, and his new house/electronica fusion CD, Pure, and his club hit “Breathe,” have furthered his international reputation as a dance funkmaster. Locally, you may have been at his smokin’ show at the O+ Festival this year, or maybe you jumped up to dance when he delivered his version of “You Gotta Serve Somebody” at last spring’s Bob Dylan Birthday Celebration at Bearsville.
“People want to go out and dance. I’d see people at shows, and they couldn’t do anything except push their hands into the air. The music wasn’t inspiring them to wiggle their bums. People actually want to sweat; they want to let all their demons out on the dance floor. I give them a beat to dance to,” says Redd. “That’s my full intention: to bring people back onto the dance floor.”
Redd has been kicking it into high gear ever since age 12, when he was one of the youngest dancers on the LA club scene. He won a scholarship to the California Institute of the Arts and earned his Bachelor’s degree in the Performing Arts. Decades of touring, recording, writing music and producing ensued: Redd has worked alongside artists as diverse as K. D. Lang, Coolio, Sheena Easton, Ani DiFranco, Salt & Pepa, Lionel Richie, Cirque de Soleil, the Pointer Sisters and Stevie Wonder (for whom he served as opening act at Barack Obama’s 2013 Inaugural Ball). He has been featured in national productions of Dreamgirls, Cats and Body and Soul; and he served as music supervisor for the Black Entertainment Network.
But, Redd says, “I’ve never gotten to do shows with my own band, which merges R & B with dance music, and it’s time now. It’s on fire!” And he hopes to “keep it goin’” at the Bearsville Theater with a 2016 residency. “We just met with the owners, and we’re talking about full-on dance parties – because this town needs it!”
The Eric Redd Movement is Eric Redd (vox/dance), Danny Blume (guitar), Zachary Alford (drums), Kyle Esposito (bass), Will Bryant (keyboards) and Manuel Quintana (percussion); the opening act is Adrien Reju.
Eric Redd Movement/Adrien Reju, Friday, November 20, 9 p.m., $15/$10, Bearsville Theater, 291 Tinker Street (Route 212), Woodstock; (845) 679-4406, www.bearsvilletheater.com.