When you first hear a couple of Pete Muller tracks, it isn’t hard to believe that he’s a man of many talents: he’s a successful businessman, a surfer, a published crossword puzzle creator, a philanthropist, and an educator. What’s hard to believe is that this Santa Barbara citizen has the time to be all of those things. He makes music so expertly-crafted, yet so naturally, it evokes the image of the genius who spends every waking moment capturing sounds and filling lyric sheets. When he’s not recording, he’s taking his seamless blend of jazz, folk, pop, and country on tour, including stops at Switzerland’s Montreux Festival, Italy’s Umbria Jazz Fest, and Colorado’s iAM MUSIC Fest. His last album release, Dissolve, saw three singles land in the Top 30 on the Adult Contemporary charts.
Muller and his touring band, The Kindred Souls, gelled so well, they decided to make a record as soon as they got off the road. The Kindred Souls is rounded out by John Whooley, a multi-instrumentalist (primarily a saxophonist) who’s also a recording engineer and is acclaimed for his guitar playing and harmonizing; Missy Soltero, a vocalist – who also plays cajon – has been performing with Muller for a decade and who has loved the limelight since childhood; and classical violinist and fiddler Martha McDonnel, who has performed with major orchestras and Broadway Shows, plus performances on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, The Today Show, Charlie Rose, and the Tony Awards. Muller says of the group, “John, Missy, and I have been playing together for years and we share a great chemistry with one another. When we started playing more and more with Martha we realized we had something truly special as a group. We decided to make it official and call ourselves the Kindred Souls.”
“For What It’s Worth” is the first single on The Sound EP, produced by Peter Katis (Interpol, The National). It’s the dawning of a politically-energized new day, so the time is right for Buffalo Springfield’s protest classic to get an entirely new treatment. The Kindred Souls have turned the spare, ominous sound of the original into a soulful, bluesy number that packs all the emotional punch the original did in the spring of ’67. Mullen believes in “always choosing love over power,” so covering a song inspired by counter-culture clashes between kids and cops makes sense. The band brought in Grammy-winning producer Peter Katis, whose work with acts as varied as Interpol, The National, and Trey Anastasio made him the perfect fit in the studio. The addition of keys, fiddle, simple woodblock percussion, and three-part harmonies give the songs an infectious and celebratory vibe.
The group began life as an exceptional touring band, so why take them out of their element for the video? The four-piece set up on one of those perfect little stages in your neighborhood watering hole: it’s you and the band, with only a few feet of well-worn floor space between you. What better venue for a rollicking version of a timeless us-against-them tune? It’s apparent immediately that this is a band to go check out, and the fun they’re having as individuals and as a unit is undeniable. Muller even jumps out from behind the keys to sing the extended outro with percussionist Missy Soltero, guitarist John Whooley, and fiddle player Martha McDonnell. Watching this clip, you’ll catch the vibe that we’re all in this together – both the performance and life itself.