Spread for me

Jelly Bread

The barbershop quintet Jelly Bread, lookin’ pretty: Brady Carthen, Dave Berry, Cliff Porter, Michael Grayson and Adina Pearl.

The barbershop quintet Jelly Bread, lookin’ pretty: Brady Carthen, Dave Berry, Cliff Porter, Michael Grayson and Adina Pearl.

Jelly Bread’s next shows are on May 15 at 9 p.m. at Pastime Club, 10096 Donner Pass Rd., Truckee, Calif., $5; and on May 22 at 8 p.m. at Studio on 4th, 432 E. 4th St.

Jelly Bread is funky, but not too tart. They’ve got soul, but it’s not going to break your heart. Jelly Bread’s sound is meant for a night full of sexual healing on the dance floor with a little granola for breakfast.

Sitting in the old school barbershop Top Notch, the taste of Jelly Bread saturates the taste buds. The band, facing each other, formed a circle out of salon chairs in the middle of a large room lined with mirrors and 1980s pop culture posters. The ceiling of fluorescent lights that reflected off the speckled white tile floor made the room brighter than most stages at 10 p.m. Anyone passing by can see it all through the storefront wall of windows.

The first song the band wrote together is named after the barbershop. Top Notch is also the title of the debut album they released nine months after banding together and is now available through Myspace.

The rhythm section lays down the funk like it wore a red dress to church. Cliff Porter plays upbeats on his drums like Funkadelic’s Tiki Fulwood while his uncle Brady Carthen struts basslines like he’s walking a special lady onto the dance floor. Porter and Carthen began playing music in the gospel band at the First Baptist church in Black Springs, Nev. Both of them have played music for more than 25 years.

Adding to this funky family flavor is the bluesy, and sometimes ambient, lead guitarist Michael Grayson. Grayson’s guitar style is funky yet ethereal. It is reminiscent of John Frusciante but with a little more dirt under his fingernails. His melodies fit in between the rhythms of the songs so well at times that their absence might be more noticeable.

Grayson is also able to lead us on his six-string journeys because of the constant rhythm held down by guitarist and vocalist Dave Berry. Berry strums his acoustic guitar and sings with the cadence of a native tribe playing hand drums at a bluegrass barbecue. Berry’s voice is accompanied or complemented nearly all the time by Adina Pearl. “Adina comes up with all the vocal melodies, even though I write most of the lyrics,” Berry said.

Pearl’s vocals are fueled by funk like Betty Davis but lean on the sensual side of Cat Power singing country and jazz during the same set. Pearl comes up with three-part harmonies for most of the songs, adding Porter’s soulful “Stevie Wonder” voice with hers and Berry’s. The outcome is a unique blended melody that remains stuck in your head for days. Pearl has been in lounge cover bands for years, inevitably increasing her vocal range.

“But I didn’t want to play other people’s music forever,” said Pearl. “I really love feeling like part of something unique and special.”

“All in all, this is the funnest band I’ve ever been a part of,” Porter said, echoing Pearl’s sentiments.

“We want to spread Jelly Bread Love as much as we can,” said berry. “Right now, music is the biggest priority for all of us.”