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February 16, 2004

Herald-Dispatch

Itís only fitting that a group that plays all of its instruments (from harmonicas to drums and trumpet) with their mouths would have an off-beat story about how they made it into the music business. Naturally Seven, seven African-American men from New York City, auditioned in the country music capitol of Nashville, Tenn., for a Swiss record label (Festplatte), which picked them up and put out a record that had a single ("Music is the Key") shoot to No. 1 in Germany.

Around since 1998, the band was birthed in the church when Roger Anthony Thomas and his younger brother Warren Andrew Thomas formed a group. Their gospel quintet that was dabbling in some traditional a cappella arrangements, began experimenting and building the sound that is now the groupís trademark.

"We decided not just to have the bass singing but to slap that bass vocally, and it become an instrument," Roger Thomas said. "Warren was able to do vocal drums. When he started it, he could do it for about two minutes. Now, he can do it for more than two hours. "Then, we found different guys with different capabilities from harmonica to horns to guitars to a DJ scratching. Itís been a blessing."

Drawing from a well of inspirational and uplifting songs, Naturally Seven grabs songs from God-inspired originals and the 1980s pop hit "Broken Wings" by Mr. Mr. to "Amazing Grace" and a nod to their NYC roots, a Simon and Garfunkel medley. "People will hear all sorts of things mixed into the bass line," Roger Thomas said by phone before the groupís show at the Clay Center in Charleston this past week. "Like sampling, weíll take a lot of vocal things. You might hear the Bee Geesí ĎNobody Gets Too Much Heaven Anymoreí to a whole Beatles song. We got so many things that people donít expect us to do." More

Posted by acapnews at February 16, 2004 8:43 AM

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