"…True to their name, Uncle Nef is an uncle and a nephew: the former is celebrated drummer (and here singer) Shannon Powell, the latter is young guitar-slinger Darren Hoffman (some tracks add sax or organ, but there’s notably no bass). The cross-generational lineup means that it’s largely about absorbing each other’s influences: On one hand, the duo’s original tune “Beat to Eat” is classic-model New Orleans R&B, while the song “It Hurts” (which has echoed guitar, a recited lead vocal...” … continue reading here
"…I’ve been listening to this album from Uncle Nef for a few weeks, on and off, and I am finally getting to the heart of what they are about. Strange, because the music is wonderful, the problem comes in how every track seems to have a very unique identity such that it was difficult to see it as an ‘album’ rather than a collection of parts. But it is well worth persevering with. The music is stirring and happy-making, steeped in the best traditions of New Orleans jazz and laden with rhythms and forms from all over the last 50 years…. A really terrific album, well worth investing the time to get close to.” … continue reading here
“The vastly experienced and highly respected New Orleans drummer and singer Shannon Powell and Florida-born guitarist Darren Hoffman combine to make a seemingly unlikely blues duo, one that combines the traditional and the new. Shannon is one of the Crescent City's top drummers and as he shows right from the off with the sou ful blues of That Was That', he certainly can sing. The following track, an instrumental called 'Cabrito', gives Darren the chance to show off his spiky, modern blues licks. Topsy Chapman & Solid Harmony provide supporting vocals on several tracks — not 'backing vocals', please note; they are as integral part of the songs — and sundry other instruments come into play to good effect. Hoffman's dreamy ballad 'It Hurts' is the only non-blues (or related) track, but there is more than enough to satisfy the blues lovers. Try the original 'So Alone' with stunning guitar work, and covers from Louis Jordan and Fats Domino plus the traditional 'St. James Infirmary Blues'; for the blues-rockers, there's Jimi Hendrix's 'Jam 292 (aka Jelly 292)'. Love Songs is a modern set firmly rooted in the blues but which also succeeds in clearly transcending the genre.“ … continue reading here
“It's not often a New Orleans drumming great struts into the 100 Club armed only with drum sticks and a fantastic blues guitarist by his side, and lets rip a raw, tour de force set featuring Leadbelly, Nirvana and Louis Jordan, tinged with heartfelt originals. Uncle Nef ‘King of The Treme' Shannon Powell and guitarist Darren Hoffman, stunned the crowd with a heart-stopping set full of pathos, including a so-stripped-down-it-was-barely-real 'St. James Infirmary', alongside swinging originals that had the crowd Lindy Hopping with reckless abandon. In a city that has produced some of the world's most revered drummers, Powell stands tall in the lineage of New Orleans' rhythmic giants: a torchbearer of the city's culture with rich vocals evoking the spiritual churches, street parades and jazz clubs he has clearly been immersed in….” continue reading here
“Uncle Nef took an admirable direction with their latest single Beat to Eat, just how many genres they managed to pack into the progression of the track is mind blowing alone. There isn’t a hint of predictability to the track, usually tracks follow the monotony of structure yet the sultry groove of the Funk-infused melodies seamlessly entwined as you were treated to the archaically constructed Blues track. Alongside Beat to Eat, Uncle Nef released another spectacular single ‘St. James Infirmary Blues’ which is more than deserving of a mention. The artists stripped the sound right back and it’s safe to say Blues has never sounded sexier…” continue reading here
"First off, the leaders representing Uncle Nef are drummer and vocalist Shannon Powell and guitarist Darren Hoffman. Okay, that explains that though with Powell aboard it’s easy to have certain expectations – rarely a good idea – of what direction the music might take. The title of the four-cut EP, Blues, offers evidence to the material though at first listen the results still come as a bit of a surprise.
The disc opens with Hoffman’s guitar almost acting as a bass on the John Lee Hooker staple, “Shake It Baby....” continue reading here
"Shannon Powell, OffBeat‘s August 2005 cover story and the King of Tremé, has launched a new musical partnership with guitarist Darren Hoffman, though their relationship goes way back. Now performing and recording as Uncle Nef, Hoffman and Powell were once teacher and student but have graduated to musical family. The duo recently dropped its debut EP, Blues, and celebrated with a performance at d.b.a...." continue reading here