Video premier of Ural Thomas & the Pain

You’re invited to Ural Thomas’ funky holiday house party.

Ural Thomas, Portland’s elder statesman of soul, has played the Apollo more than forty times and shared the stage with legends like James Brown, Otis Redding, and Stevie Wonder. Now in his late 70s, Thomas ain’t slowing down. In fact, since 2013 he’s been more active in the music scene than he was in the previous two or three decades, kicking up the energy in recordings, videos, and — of course — at gigs, where the focus is always getting dancers on the floor.

Apparently that focus extends beyond traditional dance halls and rock clubs to living rooms and kitchens too! In the video for their new holiday jam “Christmas Crawl,” Ural Thomas & the Pain bring the party home with swinging saxophones, Santa hats, vocals with just the right crunch, a game of Yuletide Twister, and — no surprise — sleigh bells.

Check out our premiere of the funky “Christmas Crawl” video above, and then read on for a short interview with The Pain’s drummer and bandleader Scott Magee.

I asked drummer and bandleader Scott Magee a little bit about his experience putting a band together to reintroduce Ural’s voice to the world.

4 questions for Scott Magee of Ural Thomas & the Pain

What was it like to put this band together for Ural, and how did you find the right players? 

It was an honor to put it together! Ural gave the go-ahead and I jumped all over it. Most of the band’s initial members were friends from the music community. A few have moved or left, and we found new folks in the same way. We’ve had a really great and solid lineup for over two years now. We’re a family!

What was your experience like putting out a record with Mississippi Records?

It was great. Eric is a gem and we felt lucky to release our first album on his fantastic label.

When did you fall in love with soul music? 

In New Orleans, as a young man in my 20s.

How did your DJ gig lead to Ural and the band?

They are linked for sure. Much of the set we play — aside from originals — are songs that most people wouldn’t recognize, but they sound like classic soul hits from the 60s. I didn’t want us to sound like a wedding band or something along those lines. As a 45 collector, thousands of songs have come my way that are really good and most people simply haven’t heard them. It’s a great era to pull from if you’re looking for inspiration!

For more information about Ural Thomas & the Pain, visit their website HERE.

Check out Ural’s music at CD Baby.

[Photo by Ric Walters.]