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A ball at the Biscuit

For its debut album, blues trio Southern Hospitality took to a New Orleans studio for five days and recorded 12 tracks in unison.

"The way I record my stuff, I usually take time and record everything kind of separate," guitarist JP Soars says. "This time, it was like, 'Let's play like we're playing live in front of an audience.' "

Although recording without overdubs can seem like an invitation for errors or accidents and multiple takes, the band locked in about half the album in a single run-through.

Soars, who lives in Boca Raton, says the flawless jam sessions are why he's in a band with keyboardist Victor Wainwright and singer and lap-steel guitarist Damon Fowler.

They'll play the closing night of the Funky Biscuit's Biscuit Fest next Sunday, but starting Thursday, local blues stars such as Roosevelt Collier and Albert Castiglia will hit the Boca Raton venue's festival.

Soars, Fowler and Wainwright are veterans of the blues. The musicians' chemistry was likely a factor in their signing to Blind Pig Records, a California-based label with deep blues roots.

"When the three of us get together on that stage ... from the first song, everybody starts smiling," Soars says. "We all feel it. Everyone respects each other's talents."

The band's approach to the blues, embracing reggae and funk influences is prevalent among musicians of this strain. But Biscuit Fest isn't a just a showcase of blues tradition: The Heavy Pets, playing Friday, perform a brand of pop-funk better suited for camp-out festivals than club shows; and DrFameus, a side project of Disco Biscuits drummer Allen Aucoin, is a dark, synth-driven act.

Still, the Funky Biscuit thrives on wailing guitars. Soars' songs with Southern Hospitality, about boogie and whiskey, are reminders to South Florida that the region is part of the South, and home to one-third of a band that put out a Top 10 album on Billboard's blues chart.

Soars says the band's music sounds best live.

"When you do it live, you capture a certain energy of creating together," Soars says. "I feel like the music's always going to be there, and I feel like I'm carrying the torch."

Biscuit Fest

When: April 4-7

Where: The Funky Biscuit, 303 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton

Cost: $16.82-$27.37 per day, $69.57 for a weekend pass

Contact: 561-395-2929 or

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