Religion can be a touchy topic — especially over a treasured tradition like brunch. But Atwood’s Tavern strives to remedy the subject with the Cambridge joint’s upcoming gospel brunch series. While the event started back in December, Atwood’s will now be hosting gospel brunches the first Sunday of every month in 2017, piling the anthems as high as the pancakes.
The monthly event fuses the voices of Jenny Dee, Andrea Gills, and Erica Mantone with players like Marc Pinansky, Matt Murphy, and Chris Anzalone to form The Revelations, a Boston supergroup of soul.
“I was thinking about ideas that would allow artists to broaden their reach to listeners beyond their current audiences,” says Dee, known for her work fronting Jenny Dee and the Deelinqunets. “Gospel and soul genres are a love, and I knew I had ringers in friends Andrea Gillis and Erica Mantone who bring vocal power and a common love for the genres. When we approached Randi Millman at Atwood’s with the idea, Randi bit, and a gospel brunch was born.”
Most people don’t necessarily associate gospel with having a boozy brunch of a good time, but in reality, anyone who digs a good R&B track can enjoy a Sunday afternoon meal at Atwood’s.
“Atwood’s is really the perfect venue for this type of group because there is an intimacy that makes it almost like it’s a family performing for their friends and can easily welcome anyone to the party,” Mantone explains. “When you’re singing it, it really is uplifting — and we really need that right now. There is something about this sound and type of music that brings us back to a simpler time. From the message to the vibe to the groove, there’s really nothing like it.”
The next gospel brunch kicks off this Sunday (February 5) at 11:30 a.m. with some beloved soul classics tucked into the two-plus hour musical celebration, according to Gillis. While there’s no cover for the event, donations are accepted.
“It’s really more about the music and the message of community,” says Gillis, who recently launched a Pledge campaign for her new record. “The music is so soulful, you can’t help but enjoy it. We mix a couple of actual soul songs like ‘Something’s Gotta Hold On Me’ by Etta James in with some purely traditional tunes like ‘Down By the Riverside,’ so if you like soul and you like a solid groove, you’re gonna have a good time.”