Cadillac Funk

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Cadillac FunkCadillac Funk - “Cadillac Johnson” grew up in Indianola and Cleveland, Mississippi, and then attended Delta State University. He’s not allowed to call his band “Cadillac Johnson” anymore, and his given name is Andrew Yurkow, anyway. He’s a hardworking, songwriting, super funky guitar player currently living in Oxford, Mississippi.

The first band he was in was Painted Bodies, which developed into Normal Somewhere. His first gig ever was with that band at the 1996 B.B. King Blues Festival in Indianola. After that, the band took more of a focus on blues, and then experimented with funk. In 2002 he moved from Cleveland, Mississippi, to Oxford for a better music scene. Over time, participating in Two Stick’s open mic nights and meeting musicians on the Square, he founded the Original Junk Band. That band first played at Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, with Andrew Ratcliffe substituting on drums. The ‘OJB’ recorded eight tracks, two of which were released on a single produced by Yurkow and Ratcliffe, and mastered by Jeffrey Reed at Taproot Studios in Oxford. While Andrew was in Mississippi, he also befriended George Jackson at Malaco Records in Jackson, who wrote “One Bad Apple Don’t Spoil the Whole Bunch, Girl,” made famous by The Jackson 5 and The Osmonds, and “Old Time Rock N’ Roll” for Bob Seger, among other hits. Andrew and George Jackson wrote six songs together. They were recorded individually later, but never released.

When the Original Junk Band disbanded in 2003, Andrew moved to Athens, Georgia…again for the music. While there he started Cadillac Johnson. Playing at the Georgia Theatre was the climax of a long list of gigs for Cadillac Johnson. While in Athens he was inspired to write a heartbroken album of ballads, which soon became the basis of his next band. The self-titled EP, The Family, was recorded in 2005 at the Rodney Mills Masterhouse in Duluth, Georgia, the same house whose clients have included George Clinton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, and Stone Temple Pilots.
In 2007, Andrew moved to Las Vegas to market his songwriting skills and also started a painting business, while spending time with old friends. He had a catalog of over 60 songs to sell to new and local bands. While he was there, he wrote and recorded an album of what he affectionately refers to as “dirty country songs.” He moved back to Oxford in 2009 to go back to school and, of course, play music.

The band Cadillac Johnson continued when Andrew returned to Oxford in 2009, but he was forced to change the name of the band. He was contacted by a lawyer who said the band members would be sued if they attempted to sell music made under the name Cadillac Johnson, because an artist already existed with that name. Motherfunkers. But at least sense has finally been made of the 2009 article in The Daily Mississippian which reported that Oxford’s Cadillac Johnson was a 70-year old man who had played with ZZ Top before he was actually born. Andrew is, in fact, 29 years old, and when questioned, “indifferent” to ZZ Top.

He says to The DM, “Thanks, guys. (Thumbs-up gesture)”…
Official members of the band, recently renamed to Cadillac Funk, are Andrew Yurkow (lead guitar, vocals), Buck Tramel (rhythm guitar, vocals), Alan Justice (trumpet), Erika Carpenter (saxophone), Charles Roy Washington (saxophone), Narada Snyder (saxophone), Jonathan Evans (trombone), “Funky” Griff Forsythe (bass), Michael Satterfield (drums), Andy Anderson (sound, drums), and Bill Perry, Jr. (keyboard). Band member “Funky Griff” Forsythe also played bass with Andrew in Original Junk Band in 2002. Seth Libbey and Kevin “K-Max” Wilson have also played recent shows with Cadillac Funk.

The current Cadillac Funk lineup has been playing and practicing together for only a few months now, but diligently so. They’ve played Union Unplugged twice now, Two Stick and The Levee several times, The Blind Pig and The New Parrish’s.

They seem to have become almost an instant hit in Oxford, giving Pithecanfunkus Erectus (“P-Rex”) another local funk band to welcome to the funkin’ family. And like the guys in P-Rex, Andrew is careful not to pin the band to just one area of funk when choosing or writing songs. He wants Cadillac Funk to bring the funk from every direction, from the P-Funk sound to 80s Red Hot Chili Peppers, back around to a Prince-inspired tune or a James Brown feel.

This copy is compliments of The Local Voice.

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