Matt Stansberry felt a change coming on. It was early 2012, and the Oklahoma City singer-songwriter noticed that his new material was taking on a classic rhythm and blues flavor. Instead of the modern pop-rock instrumentation that had characterized his previous work, he could hear space for backup singers punctuating the songs.
“And then I was starting to get into Raphael Saadiq and other artists who were younger but doing older stuff,” Stansberry said. “And I remember it just happened phase by phase.”
When the backup vocals sounded right, he recruited horn players, brought in Hammond B-3 organs and filled his new songs with the crackle and warmth of classic soul sides. And as these things lined up to create a new phase in Stansberry's career, he suddenly had a revue with 10 people on stage, blowing people away.
Matt Stansberry and the Romance was born.
The resulting seven-song EP, “Let's Brighten It Up,” took Stansberry's already soulful vocal style and put it in a new-old context.
Stansberry and the Romance will be part of the first day of concerts at the Charlie Christian International Music Festival, beginning at 6 p.m. Friday at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. They will play a mixture of “Let's Brighten It Up” tracks and new material Stansberry is working up for his next collection.
Shift is surprise
After several years of writing, recording and performing, Stansberry said the Romance material came as a surprise for many longtime fans and friends.