Raleigh held Roots Fest on Hillsborough Street this past weekend. One of the highlights was the Ike Stubblefield and Friends band. We talked to them here.
Above: A bluegrass band plays during Live & Local: Spring Fest in April 2017. Photo courtesy of Brantley Atkinson.
Raleigh held Roots Fest on Hillsborough Street this past weekend. One of the highlights was the Ike Stubblefield and Friends band — the first time these four musicians played together. Stubblefield brought in Gibb Droll, Terence Higgins and Freddy V.
Ike Stubblefield is the best musician you’ve never heard of. He worked with the likes of Cee Lo Green, Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder and has been in the industry for over 50 years. Stubblefield is also collaborating with Spike Lee for music scores and continues to tour around the country. He expressed how important it was to change things up in his music career, which makes sense since the band was completely new for the Roots Fest.
“I always want to keep people guessing. As soon as people know I am doing one thing, I’ll switch,” he said.
Since Stubblefield brought the group together for this show, the music they were playing wasn’t confirmed by the time of their set. Stubblefield said the group had a “road map” of sorts in terms of what they were going to play. Higgins said that he had the goal of making people “dance, laugh … maybe even cry a little.”
“It’s our first time as a band, so it will be interesting for us to communicate, giving our show to the people,” Higgins said.
To Gibb Droll, preparing for a performance with the goal of doing the music justice means he has to “ingest the music” repeatedly.
“I’m not a quick-study guy; there are some cats that really have it. It’s an amazing thing. I am not, so I get there six hours early and rehearse before the show,” he said.
Freddy V doesn’t prepare for performances like Droll.
“On our gig, we have a set list, and it doesn’t really vary that much, so my goal is to take it upon myself to practice individually, so when there are opportunities to improvise during the show, I’m not doing the same thing each time,” he said.
If you’re a college student who wants to go into music, Higgins suggests you get “the information from the source.” Stubblefield agrees that getting hands-on experience is the best way to learn how to play your instrument well.
“It’s important to not be afraid to take chances,” he said. “You learn from those.”