“HOBEX returns with Enlightened Soul, a 10-track corker that draws from summery pop, Philly soul, the world weary wisdom of Donny Hathaway & Bill Withers, and even '70s California country rock.” Dennis Cook, HONEST TUNE MAGAZINE
North Carolina Funk'n'Soul band HOBEX, led by guitarist and singer/songwriter Greg Humphreys, melds classic funk'n'soul music with rock'n'roll - Marvin, Curtis, Stax, Motown meet the Beatles. Fans describe their sound as "Soulternative music" or "Alt.Soul" - southern rock'n'roll spirit infused with the funky soul grooves of Memphis, New Orleans, and Motown.
"The Hardest Workin' Soul Band in the Land" earned its reputation as a sparkplug of the southern soul revival, performing over 1000 shows across the U.S. Canada, and Europe since the mid-'90s. They've shared the stage often with friends and contemporary roots-miners North Mississippi Allstars and JJ Grey and MOFRO, as well as musical legends Al Kooper, Bernie Worrell (Talking Heads, P- Funk), George Porter Jr. (The Meters), and Fred Wesley (James Brown, The JBs). The band has been a staple on the music festival circuit, performing at High Sierra Festival and South by Southwest.
HOBEX has appeared on World Cafe, Mountain Stage, and Sirius Satellite Radio, received radio play from stations like WNCW and WFUV, and scored an out-of-left-field top ten hit through listener requests on North Carolina’s top 40 station G105. HOBEX music also appeared in the film Rounders. Enlightened Soul is the 6th CD release for HOBEX, with previous releases on labels Slash/London, Tone-cool, and Phrex Records.
Alternative rock and Power-pop fans also know Bandleader Greg Humphreys as the voice of '90s Mammoth/Atlantic recording artists Dillon Fence, a key band in the Chapel-Hill NC music scene that spawned Ben Folds, Ryan Adams, and Squirrel Nut Zippers. Humphreys' songs have been covered by such bands as Hootie and the Blowfish and Letters to Cleo.
CREATIVE LOAFING Preview By Kandia Crazy Horse
In Hobex' recordings, Humphreys is like an alien time lord (á la Doctor Who) who embodies tomorrow's altered states today, while also reaching backward into back-porch nostalgia and reflection. This strange impression is cemented by the unbearably beautiful "So Far Away" from U Ready, Man? With its stacked descending guitar figures, soul-cleansing falsetto cries, filtered sunlight and sense of escape to the hidden America, the song is simultaneously alt-psychedelia, space rock and country gospel.
ROLLING STONE Review by Adrian Zupp
Here's a triple threat for ya: spicy soul-funk-jazz that'll put taste buds on your eardrums. What they've laid down here is an hour of untainted music-from-the-heart that owes as much to improvisation and intuition as it does to technique and calculation, which is to say it has soul, baby.
MOJO MAGAZINE by Producer / Musician Al Kooper
I have a friend, Larry Katz, who is the music columnist for the local newspaper. About every three months we get together and play each other our latest "disc-ovaries." Last year, he turned me onto this Southern band called HOBEX. They are just amazing. True underdogs!
NEW YORK TIMES ALBUM OF THE WEEK by ANN POWERS
Andy Ware on bass and Steve Hill on drums match the casual chops of Mr. Humphreys, sliding through songs that honor Al Green and Alex Chilton. Horns and backup singers thicken the gravy. Mr. Humphreys can fly solo, too, as he proves on ''It Pains Me,'' a blues that surely has them slow dancing in dives from here to Gainesville, and perhaps in New York, too.
NEW YORK TIMES Preview by ANN POWERS
HOBEX is a soulful party band led by Greg Humphreys, who is turning into the Van Morrison of the college-rock circuit singing his own poignant compositions alongside chestnuts by the likes of Sam Cooke... the grooves will flow.
JAMBASE.COM Summer Tour Preview by Ted Kartzman
Here's a tip: Go See Live Hobex this summer! Hobex is passing on history of Southern soul, and it's an important musical lesson to learn... U Ready, Man?, blew me away when I heard it, and on a few levels. Now it wasn't the jammiest record ever, but every song struck a chord with me. Seriously, just about every song was so catchy; you found yourself singing along, bobbing your head, or tapping your feet.
JAMBASE.COM Review by Ted Kartzman
HOBEX is everything I like about the sweet soul music of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Al Green and Curtis Mayfield. Vocalist Greg Humphreys takes the best of Gospel R&B, puts a tight funk band behind it, and created modern soul music.
LA WEEKLY Review by Michael Lipton
"HOBEX Back in the '90s (WEA/Sire)" Writing and arranging songs like he1s the godchild of Al Green and Alex Chilton, singer-songwriter/guitarist Greg Humphreys has happened on a sound that, from the first note, crackles with freshness and inspiration... Most musicians quickly figure out how to borrow from the masters, but only a few are talented enough to listen and learn a thing or two.
INDEPENDENT WEEKLY by Gavin Ohara
"I think Greg is a real soul singer," says Jimbo Mathus, founder of the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Humphreys' bandmate in the Jas. Mathus Knock Down Society. The two met during a tubing trip on the Yadkin River several years ago, and spent a couple evenings playing old gospel and bluegrass songs together. "He's a great white soul singer, and I say that because it's mostly a black man's field. It's a sympathetic, intuitive thing. Greg doesn't have to try to be a soul singer, he just is. He has a great gift, and a style that's unique--poppy but real soulful. His songs have that timeless feel to them."
MEMPHIS FLYER Review by Mark Jordan
North Carolina's HOBEX commute between Hitsville and Soulsville... you stick in the CD, and that turns out to be all it takes. The funky soul/pop begins to wash over you and, like the best gospel music from which it is partially derived, begins to buoy your spirits upward, dragging your body not far behind.
JAMBANDS.COM Interview by Jeff Waful
The North Carolina-based group has a timeless sound, which serves as the perfect contrast to those marathon instrumental jams that typically inhabit the improvisational world. Although HOBEX is comprised of stellar musicians, the band understands the concept of dynamics, both in its songwriting and its song selection. While the live show typically features a rotating cast of additional players and extended improvisation, the group's most recent album, "U Ready, Man?" boasts catchy, concise arrangements inspired by the likes of Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Prince and Stevie Wonder.
RELIX MAGAZINE Review by Jeffrey Greenblatt
You can see why HOBEX has been grabbing people's attention... A regional phenomenon in the Southeast since the mid 90s, HOBEX updates the Stax and Motown soul of the 1970's by combining it with jazz, blues and good ol' rock n roll.
AN HONEST TUNE MAGAZINE Review by Tom Speed, Editor
HOBEX Has Soul. They have continuously drawn comparisons to the soul masters of the 70s' folks like Al Green and Curtis Mayfield. And their sound does indeed hearken back to those days. What's more, HOBEX has infused the genre with the type of vital energy that can invigorate a style, breathe new life into it and drag it out of the graveyard. But this is no nostalgia act. There is a youthful energy here that is impossible to deny.
Enlightened Soul (2007 Phrex Records)
Live at the Pourhouse DVD (2007 Phrex Records)
U Ready, Man? (2002 Tone-Cool/Artemis Records)
Wisteria (2000 Phrex Records)
Back in the 90s re-release (1999 Slash/London Records)
Back in the 90s (1998 Phrex Records)
The Payback EP (1996 Phrex Records)