Rio and the Rockabilly Revival is:
Rio Scafone - Lead Vox, Junebug Harris - Doghouse, Yana Levovna - Backing Vox, Renee Turner - Backing Vox, Kelly Bevez - Backing Vox, Jimmy Alter - Guitar, Charlie Bongo - Drums, Eric Schabo - Saxes
Rio Scafone, front woman of Rio and the Rockabilly Revival appears to be a living contradiction. At once rock 'n' roll angel and brimstone incarnate. Drawing from their diverse influences, The Revival's music is steeped in the gritty soul of Big Mama Thornton, the gospel-like fervor of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the slow-burn swagger of a young Elvis Presley, and the wailing abandon of Little Richard. Born into rock 'n' roll royalty, Rio came up under her famous uncle, early rock pioneer Jack Scott, and carries on the family tradition of serving up spitfire Roots Rock 'n' Soul music.
It's music that is clearly resonating with new fans around the world. In the last several months, they won Outstanding Americana Artist in the 2015 Detroit Music Awards, were listed in the iconic Los Angeles' Music Connection Magazine as Top 100 Live Unsigned Bands of 2014, were declared Best Original Act in Hour Detroit Magazine's Best of 2014 readers poll, and have entire 2 hour radio shows featured on the band from Detroit to Spain and beyond. With the recent release of their newest album, "Testify" in April of 2015, there is an whole new buzz bubbling through the roots music scene and with DJs around the world as the new scorchin' album spreads far and wide.
At first glance, Rio is every inch the sexy, exotic, Italian-American pin-up doll. Then she takes the stage, and categorically destroys any preconceived notion you may have, unleashing her onslaught with pure audacity that critics have described as “exhilarating” and “primal.”
“... Rio Scafone is a firebrand; a hell-spitting minx whose core, however, is hope and salvation. And, frankly, enough earthy sex appeal to move tectonic plates. Whipping an audience into a frenzy worthy of a revival tent is akin to water rolling off a duck’s back for Rio and company.” (Tom Stevens, Metro Vibe Magazine, Oct 2012).
Known for their bombastic live shows, themes of sin and redemption run deep as Scafone offers her self up as host for the good and evil within us all. Their live shows have been dubbed “the church of rock 'n' roll” by critics.
“... Scafone's on stage, twisting, gyrating and owning every inch like some sort of possessed, evangelical-satanic dervish. It's at once nostalgic performance art, killer show band and a rock 'n' roll wonder.” (Brett Callwood, The MetroTimes, March 2012)
The Revival is comprised of Junebug Harris on upright bass, Jimmy Alter on guitar, Charlie Bongo on drums and washboard, Eric Schabo on sax. Yana Levovna, Kelly Bevez and Renee Turner on backing vocals blend with Rio to make harmonies that are at times haunting and spacious, then tight and rich; reminiscent of the Andrew Sisters on an all-night bender. Rio serves as song writer with her partner Junebug, who is also their musical director, incorporating many founding musical styles that became what was first known as Rockabilly and later known as Rock 'n' Roll: Gospel, Jump Blues, Country and Hillbilly Swing. Building on those early genres as their foundation, they also filter in today's influences into their work, creating a defining sound. Their original music satisfies Americana purists while connecting with modern day music lovers proving that what is old is in fact new again.
Rio and the Rockabilly Revival released their first EP, “The Midnight Rebel Sessions” (ASCAP) after demo versions of the songs were shared over the web without their permission. Recorded on bare bones equipment in Scafone's house, she was blindsided when a radio DJ based in the UK contacted her asking if he could play one the songs on his show.
“I literally thought I might vomit. They were recorded on barely more than a hamster on a wheel in my little house outside Detroit. Listen closely and you can hear my dog barking in the background! We're talking rough.” – Rio Scafone
As it turns out, Rio had little to worry about. Discerning ears could hear the undeniable quality in the band, and six months later the album would be part of countless radio and internet streaming playlists around the globe.
… And that was the band's first 6 months.
Rio and the Rockabilly Revival's full-length 2013 second release, "Runaway Train," has received even wider audiences and airplay. Their unrelinquishing drive has earned them a special place in many a DJ's heart, being described by one Canadian DJ as, "coming from nowhere to practically being the face of Detroit music."
As the band explodes into 2014, it is clear their future is bright for this evangelical-satanic dervish and her soul-minions of Rock.