For a hot minute back in the day (circa 2007), Keite Young was on the fast track to mega-stardom. The Fort Worth singer-songwriter had the pedigree. His parents sang with The Family, Kirk Franklin’s gospel group – Young himself even performed on Franklin’s Nu Nation Tour in the early aughts. Young also put out an album on a major indie. The Rise and Fall of Keite Young still holds up. I’d even say it’s better than what passes for contemporary R&B (Rap and Bluster) today.
So where’s he been?
“Man,” he said the other day, “just doing a lot of living and a lot of growing. I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at the music business and kind of redefining what success means to me … . I’ve just been paying a lot more attention to my local audience and my local support and really forming some idea around that and around artists who had similar experience with the industry like myself. … I’m at a [good] place now musically. The sound has matured and grown into something that I think is approachable by a lot of people.”
Technically, to answer the question, Young has been in Dallas, where for the past several years he and some other like-minded non-genre musicians have been putting on monthly themed events as the Medicine Man Revival.
“We basically created a platform for ourselves that focused on not just excellence from the standpoint of songs and music but everything that goes into creating an experience, how things look and making sure it was really immersive,” he said, adding that even some of the venue’s staffers wear clothes befitting the given month’s theme.
“We just presented a lot of local talent who otherwise were kind of just playing sets around town, kind of trying to introduce a more immersive experience besides just hearing a live band,” Young said, “and the image formed from there.”
Anchored by co-songwriters Young and producer Jason Burt, Medicine Man Revival also is a band-band, with bassist Ben Barajas, drummer Marcus Jones, and keyboardist Marcus Roberts. Young calls their sound “future soul.”
Medicine Man Revival, he said, “feels as good as Sunday morning church or as midnight at the blues club down the street. It’s all of that.”
Medicine Man Revival’s debut, self-titled recording, a three-track EP, will be released in a few months, probably May or June, Young said: “It’s all love and no excuses. We’re just really motivated to do things in a way that exceeds what some might say an independent artist/band could be capable of.”
Young has played Lola’s in different capacities a few times, either solo or with his former rock band with Snarky Puppy guitarist Mark Lettieri, Black and Blue.
Lola’s owner Brian Forella, Young said, “showed us love from the beginning, back when Lola’s had one stage … . [We] formed a relationship with Brian early on, and it’s just been cool ever since, so when I come to Fort Worth, it’s either Lola’s or The Grotto.
“I’m really excited to come back home,” Young continued, “with all that’s going on. … [Major label superstar and Fort Worth product Leon Bridges is] bringing a lot of eyeballs to our side of town.”