April B. & The Cool
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April B. & The Cool

Asheville, NC | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Asheville, NC | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band R&B Funk




"The Second Annual Marcus King Band Family Reunion: The Best Kind of Family Affair"

There’s no way to pigeonhole Asheville’s April B. & The Cool. What I heard pouring off the Taproom Stage crossed genres that include R&B, hip hop, soul, jazz, reggae and rock. It’s alternative everything. Led by multi-instrumentalist April Bennett and a rotating stable of talented area musicians including guitarist JP Miller and trombonist Derrick Johnson, both from Asheville’s Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, bassist John Durham and drummer Joshua “Forte” Joyner; April B. & The Cool had us dancing to jazz, a heady genre normally reserved for older hipsters sipping vodka tonics in cramped dark clubs. Didn’t think that was possible, but April’s stunning, sensuous voice and expert guitar licks gave us no other choice.

Small in stature but huge in talent and energy, she led her equally talented band through wonderful covers of funk and R&B classics like Tina Turner’s “I Can’t Stand The Rain” and Sly & The Family Stone’s “If You Want Me To Stay.” There were original works too – works written by April that are pure poetry and showcase the full breadth of her vocal skills on “You Have All I Need, Walk On By,” “I’m Ready” and “Revolution Coming.” I don’t think Asheville will contain April B. & The Cool for long. It’s only a matter of time before they’re beamed out to a wider audience who will appreciate their unique talent as much as we did.

- Dalia Jakubauskas

www.musicfestnews.com/2018/10/the-second-annual-marcus-king-band-family-reunion-the-best-kind-of-family-affair/ - MusicFestNews.Com

"April B. & The Cool bring fresh inspiration to the local R&B scene"

When you go through college music programs, you try a little bit of everything, says singer-songwriter and bandleader April Bennett. “I play a lot of instruments — pretty much anything with strings.” The recent transplant to Asheville — she grew up and went to college in South Carolina — is also very hands-on with her musical career, overseeing everything from booking shows and making flyers to recording and selecting the musicians in her rotating cast of players.

“People are always asking to manage our band. I’m like, ‘I can’t relinquish that kind of control to you. It’s my livelihood. It’s everything,’” Bennett says.

The musician is in the process of guiding her jazz-, funk- and soul-infused collective, April B. & The Cool, onto the Asheville music scene. The group plays One World Brewing on Friday, Feb. 23. It’s one of a handful of local shows — Bennett is still booking many gigs in and around Greenville, S.C., where her original audience is based. “I didn’t want to rush anything,” she says. “I don’t want to book a show and play for nobody.”

That’s not likely. The group’s debut EP, The Sidechick Chronicles, released last spring, is the opposite of a sleeper. Thick bass, deep grooves, slinky beats and Bennett’s lithe vocal add up to something that sounds familiar (hints of Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige and D’Angelo) and also new. “I like freshness,” says Bennett. “It’s 2018. You can’t expect to grow if you’re just influenced by the same things. I draw influences from all different kinds of music.” She names Latin, rap and electronic as inspiration, and adds that she likes to play with a microKORG synthesizer sometimes to bring in spacey sounds.

But the EP itself, “a collection of songs about a precarious situation,” according to the liner notes on Bandcamp, is not what Bennett originally envisioned for her first album. While in a college class, the musician was encouraged by a professor to do more writing and penned a number of political songs. Those were intended for the initial recording (and are still played at shows, and will likely be on the band’s next release), but The Sidechick Chronicles — about the experience of a relationship gone wrong — took precedence.

“It feels a little bit confidential, a little bit vague, but it’s a whole lot of truth. Arguably too much truth,” Bennett says with a laugh. “We had been working together so long, I didn’t want to discount the work my band had put into [the project].”

A highlight is a rapped verse by drummer TJ Jeter on the song “What’s Real.” A powerhouse musician himself, Jeter also performs with the likes of Shane Pruitt. But, because he’s based in Union, S.C., Bennett rarely gets to perform with him these days.

But there is a sense that Bennett — who started her musical training as a viola player and performed, with her high school orchestra, at Carnegie Hall — has always been open to new experiences and collaborators. She studied classical guitar in college “and then started playing more jazz stuff,” she remembers. “Then I just started gigging with my band.”

That initial version of April B. & The Cool “started as a project for my senior seminar and just stuck,” says Bennett. The group has been going strong, albeit with a level of fluidity in its structure, since 2015.

Despite her instrumental prowess, Bennett’s songs start with words, and the melodies and harmonies come later. “I definitely [see] myself as a writer,” she says. “I work on music all the time. It’s hard to get away from it — my mind is always making music.”

The latest challenge for the performer is tapping into the local music scene. Part of what drew her to Asheville was her boyfriend, JP Miller, a member of Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band. Among area artists, Bennett points to Ryan RnB Barber, Leeda Lyric Jones and Jesse Barry as those with whom she can imagine sharing stages. “I’ve definitely been [watching] what people are doing who have paved the way for other R&B and soul bands to have a place to play in this area,” she says. “It’s really important.”

She adds, “I don’t look at anything as a competition. I’m just looking for my place around here.”

WHO: April B. & The Cool
WHERE: One World Brewing, 10 Patton Ave.
WHEN: Friday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m. avl.mx/4kq

- Alli Marshall - Mountain Xpress (Asheville)

"Acoustic Asheville : April Bennett"

Somewhere on the music landscape between R&B, jazz, hip-hop and soul is where you’ll find April Bennett. She seamlessly blends those genres together and combines them with lyrics that feel poetic.

The front woman of April B. & the Cool, she’s recently transplanted to Asheville and is primarily doing solo gigs while her band still resides in Greenville. You can catch her at One World Brewing Co. on Friday, Aug. 17, at 8 p.m.

Ahead of that show, she gave an exclusive performance at The Grey Eagle for Xpress and Acoustic Asheville.

Check it out : https://mountainx.com/multimedia/acoustic-asheville-april-bennett/ - Mountain Xpress

"April B. & The Cool - The Focus Behind the Fresh"

April B. & The Cool: The Focus Behind the Fresh

If You Only Have 60 Seconds…

-April B. & The Cool released their first EP, The Sidechick Chronicles, this past April.
-The band runs a gamut of musical styles, blending elements of jazz, R&B, soul, and a touch of hip-hop.
-April B. started playing viola in fifth grade which begun her love and respect for music.

When it comes to cultivating a career in music, April Bennett has definitely forged her own path and done things her own way, and the Upstate music scene is better off for it.

“I started playing viola in the fifth grade and was reading music by middle school,” she says of her introduction to music. From there it cemented itself as her life’s primary focus as she played through high school and went to college to continue to play the viola and study music therapy. Surprisingly, that was the decision that opened the door for the emergence of the April B. we know and love today.

To participate in the music therapy program, April had to learn how to play guitar. It was an easy enough task for an artist as talented as her, but it opened the door to a whole new world of instrumentation that April credits as fostering the versatility which defines her sound. There are a lot of female lead singers who do not play an instrument she notes, adding that she was 100% certain she would never be one of them.

Creating the Cool

April’s talent joined forces with her band-mates in 2014 as part of a senior project when she was completing her major in music at USC Upstate. The bond she formed with drummer TJ Jeter and keys/bassist Reggie Jackson was immediate, and April B & The Cool was born. In just these few short years, they have established a respected name for themselves on the Upstate music scene as well as the release of their first EP, The Sidechick Chronicles, this past April.

As a band, April B & The Cool runs the gamut of musical styles, blending elements of jazz, R&B, soul, and a touch of hip-hop, combining for a captivating sound that is both classic and refreshingly new at the same time. At the forefront is April’s voice, which has you hanging on every note she sings. She pairs that perfectly with a strong commitment to solid songwriting and storytelling.

“I feel like artists should be reflecting on the times they are in.”

“I feel like artists should be reflecting on the times they are in,” she says as she explains her approach to songwriting. It is a wise and impressively mature stance for such a young artist, but that is emblematic of April’s whole approach to music. She notes that at 24 she is five years younger than her bandmates, and their combined experience combined with their formal musical studies give them a leg up in the music business.

In fact, April makes it abundantly clear that “We’re not out here making any mistakes… I don’t have time for it.” This no-nonsense approach to the business side of the music illustrates April B & The Cool’s commitment to doing things the right way. She credits her mother’s support and approach to life that if you are going to do something, you are going to do it and that nobody is getting anywhere doing things halfway. “I actually quit my job a couple days ago to focus on music,” she says with a laugh, adding, “same thing… I don’t have time for it.”

What she does have time for is honing her skills, building on her experiences, and remaining as versatile an artist as she can be. She prides herself on being able to perform as the frontwoman of her April B & The Cool, playing as a solo artist, feeling comfortable playing an array of musical genres, and even being able to learn a song from the Final Fantasy video game series in a pinch to perform at a wedding. Yes, that is in fact a thing, she assures us, adding that it is, in fact, a rather impressive piece of music.

The Best is Yet to Come

Through it all, when you speak to April, she leaves you with no doubt that the best is yet to come. Only two plus years into the life of April B & The Cool, she speaks of always focusing on new ideas and keeping the sound fresh and new for their listeners. She hints that the bigger vision for the band is to grow into a collective of artists, ever growing and evolving as a community of musicians. “My big dream is to do a show with 30 people on stage,” she exclaims before adding, “and I think we’re getting closer to that point,” with the passion and energy of a mad scientist bringing her latest creation to life. In fact, it would actually come as no surprise if she actually yells, “It’s alive!” on stage when she turns this dream into a reality (and yes, that is a when, not an if, Ladies and Gentlemen).

Upstate music lovers are blessed to have a front row seat to the continued rise and success of April B & The Cool. Their energy, honesty, and passion for music is unparalleled and their sound and commitment to their craft is mature well beyond their years. If they are this strong a band with just a couple short years under their belts, the sky is far from their limit.

See for yourself on Thursday, July 6 when they will make their first appearance at the NEW Radio Room, still Greenville’s favorite dive bar, just in a bigger location to allow for the larger audiences bands like April B. & The Cool deserve. - In The Know Upstate

"Soundbites: Art Contest, April Bennett, and more"

Sunday, April 8

The April B. Birthday Soiree, feat. April Bennett, Nikki Holman, John-Paul Miller (Yo Momma’s Big Fat Booty Band), Justin Johnson (Marcus King Band), John Durham (LOZ Band), Joshua Forte Joyner, and more
200 Eisenhower Drive
8:30 p.m.

In the past year, April Bennett has played more shows than in any of the previous years she’s been a professional musician, whether it’s been with her sinewy, soul-rock band The Cool or solo on guitar and vocals. This is on top of releasing her soul-bearing first EP, “The Sidechick Chronicles: Thanks a Lot, Mr. Scott,” one of the best local albums of 2017, and a move to Asheville, N.C.

“This last year has been wild,” she says. “I’ve played more shows than I ever have. I’ve met so many people and worked with so many different artists in so many different styles. I drive back and forth from Greenville to Asheville a few times every week. But it’s been great. I love it. I really wouldn’t have it any other way. I feel like I just found my voice and figured out that I’m good at what I do, and I can make a living at it, and I want to.”

As for her birthday show, Bennett is pulling out all the stops, thanks to her favorite Upstate venue and some convenient timing. “Everyone’s going to be back in town,” she says with a laugh. “The Marcus King Band is here; John-Paul Miller from Yo Momma’s Big Fat Booty Band is in town. All the people I like to work with are going to be in town, and I love Gottrocks; it’s home base for me.” –Vincent Harris - Greenville Journal

"April B. & The Cool (EP release show)"

Wednesday, April 26, 8 p.m.
Vine Nightclub, 21 E. Coffee St., Greenville
$10 (includes copy of EP)
Never let it be said that singer/songwriter/guitarist April Bennett doesn’t take risks, artistic and otherwise. Her new EP bears the title “The Sidechick Chronicles: Thanks A Lot, Mr. Scott,” and it’s a concept album about Bennett’s affair with an already-taken man. “It was a bit of a precarious situation,” she says with a laugh (and some understatement). “And it did not go well.” But when the results are as good as this album, the risk might well be worth it. A stripped-down mix of languorous neo-soul and confessional folk with Bennett’s powerful, jazzy voice teasing out the lyrics and stretching the tempos, the album is like a suite of interconnected pieces. It’s a deceptively laid-back, exceptionally produced collection that’s ripe with love, lust, guilt, anger, and recrimination. “Once I started writing it, I knew it all had to be part of a larger work,” she says. “It just had to happen like that.” The EP is a brave artistic statement, from the nakedly emotional lyrics to the partially blacked-out real life Facebook and Instagram messages on the album’s cover. “Everything on the cover is from when the sh*t really hit the fan and his girlfriend went crazy on me. I probably shouldn’t have done that, but I do things I probably shouldn’t all the time.” - Greenville Journal - "Soundbites"

"April B & The Cool w/ Audrey Hamilton Project & Carpoolparty"

April Bennett quite literally started her band, April B & The Cool, as schoolwork. “The project actually started out with myself and my drummer TJ working together for my senior seminar project at USC Upstate,” Bennett says. “And after my performance was over, we just kept playing and writing together.” The band mixes in a hard-rock influence with some vintage George Clinton-style funk, over which Bennett lays down powerhouse vocals and a strong political sensibility. “These songs are so much of my life,” she says. “They’re very political, very conscious. One of our songs is called ‘Glass Ceilings,’ which is about doing everything you can, just because you can, and because you want to for the betterment of you and anyone around you. I feel like it’s my responsibility as an artist to speak about what’s going on, and if I’m not doing that, then I’m not sure what the point is. And if the songs are good, I think people will want to listen to them.” - Greenville Journal - "Soundbites"


"The Sidechick Chronicles: Thanks a lot, Mr. Scott"(Released April 26, 2017)
-If It Were You
-What's Real?
-Not Tonight
-Will You Show Me?
-Walk On By



April B. & The Cool is a soulful concoction of jazz, funk, hip-hop, and R&B. The hard-hitting, line-up of The Cool is fronted by multi-instrumentalist April Bennett of Asheville, North Carolina and often features members of the area's coolest bands including Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band, LOZ, and The Marcus King Band. You can expect some of the most shining, silk-smooth, soul-stirring vocals you'll ever have the pleasure of hearing, paired with  captivating energy and remarkably dynamic musical arrangements.

Listen to their debut EP "The Sidechick Chronicles: Thanks a lot Mr. Scott" here:

It's also available everywhere music is streamed and sold! (Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, etc)

Visit aprilbmusic.com for more info about April B. & The Cool!

"About the music:

It’s not exactly rock. It’s not straight-ahead jazz. And it’s surely not your average R&B. But it’s definitely Cool. 

Cool, like the way April Bennett plays around with the verses in her songs, teasing out a line or getting lost in a rapturous moment. Cool, like the way her guitar sketches out a skeletal melody for her to mess around with, leaving plenty of space around the notes to improvise and groove.

Cool, like the way her skin-tight band responds to every nuance of her songs like a human heartbeat, rising to meet her voice or laying back to let her do her thing. 

Then there’s that smile when she gets to a certain line, a turn of phrase that catches her ear. Her eyes closed, she’s somewhere else for a few seconds, and then she’s back- bringing that emotion, that joy, that heartbreak, that stolen moment of ecstasy between two lovers.

It’s like some smoky, sensual brand of poetry set to music, a lithe, ever-unfolding mix of genres that never lands in one place for too long. 

That’s what you’ll hear on her debut EP, “The Sidechick Chronicles: Thanks A Lot, Mr. Scott”. On this record, released on April 26, 2017, April B. & The Cool will tell you about secret love, denial, bliss, and abandon over undeniably hip, seamlessly danceable beats. 

April B. & The Cool is a soulful concoction of heavy and light and rock and funk and jazz and folk and everything in between. We mean hypnotic; we mean casting a spell over an audience that will leave them on their feet cheering or stunned into rapturous silence.

We mean “cool,” like April B. and her kickass band." - Vincent Harris, Greenville Journal