The Desert Pulse artist spotlight on Soul What!?
Name: Soul What!?
Genre: Rhythm ‘n’ Blues, Funk
Home: Southern Utah
Members: Alice Ericksen–Lead Vocals. Michael Moulton–Lead Guitar, Horn, Keyboards, Vocals. Elaine Moulton–Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals. Chris Flaig–Drums.
Influences: Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Joss Stone, Duffy, Adele, and soul artists across the spectrum.
Soul What!? seized the southern Utah music scene in 2012 and has continued to occupy a top spot as a premier band. Being recognized for their talent and attracting crowds everywhere their play has them showing no signs of slowing down. Reigning as one of the biggest drawing bands has everything to do with their high-level talent and intense energy of their performances. Soul What!? continually satisfy those with a palate for classic Rhythm ‘n’ Blues and a taste for getting funky on the dance floor.
The music of Soul What!? appeals to people of all ages. Playing classics from RnB, Funk, with a mixture of blues provides plenty of smiles as the audience quickly finds themselves moving, shaking, dancing, and singing along. The positive vibe and fervent energy creates an irresistible urge to join the party. As top-notch professionals, they deliver at every performance, as they serve the music up with sizzling style that quenches the soul with the ability to satisfy a range of generations.
In the days of Gogo 37, blues jams singer, Alice Ericksen, met drummer Susan Crisp, guitarist Mike Moulton, and bassist Elaine (Stoddard) Moulton, who had all recently moved to the area. The four seasoned players hit it off musically right out of the gate, heading in a direction that felt natural to them and fresh to live music fans. The group worked hard to be included on the music community’s creme dela creme menu. Soul What!? infused a style all their own into carefully selected covers that translated into feel-good, familiar fare to end a certain type of famine in southern Utah nightlife.
Although founding member Crisp made a life decision to move back to the UK, the band didn’t miss a beat, continuing their busy gig calendar with drummer Chris Flaig. Flaig stepped in officially just as the group was preparing for a recurring appearance at Casa Blanca Casino, which would require six hours of music, five nights a week.
“It was a grueling summer of rehearsals, but so worth it,” remembers Elaine Moulton. “We got really tight and now there are no ‘fillers’ in our song list–it’s one hit after another. Our sets are strong and so is our show.”
Elaine’s last note could not be more accurate. Anyone who has experienced a Soul What!? show will easily agree. Watching Alice take control out front and hearing the band’s funk rhythms, soulful harmonies, and masterful guitar leads support her powerhouse vocals is a thrill. A list of “oldies” could easily remain static, but the set is rotated consistently to include neo soul, contemporary radio hits, as well as buried treasures from the funk vault, delivered by true pros.
“The music we cover appeals to people of all ages because it makes everyone feel like smiling, moving, and singing along,” says entertainer Alice Ericksen. “Performing with this band is one of my very favorite projects because of the positive vibe at every show.”
Soul What!? players have all cultivated their skills since very young ages, playing in various projects on many stages over the years.
Alice Ericksen has one of the most sought-after voices in the business, known for her versatility and a stage presence second to none. She has toured with Tas Cru and his Band of Tortured Souls, lent her voice as backup to dozens of other artists’ albums, is a soloist in the John Houston Gospel Choir, and has opened for Manhattan Transfer. Alice is a vocal performance coach at The Academy, a school of rock program run by her and her husband, bluesman Dick Earl.
Mike Moulton has the ability to translate layered horn lines, keyboard chords, and guitar licks into a single instrumental delivery, although he could also grab any of those instruments and play them separately, as well. Moulton has toured with Earl Ware, Grammy-nominated band Rock Bottom, and Salt Lake City’s BelAirs. He is a master luthier whose work is displayed in Gallery 873 in Coyote Gulch Art Village.
Elaine Moulton, recently wedded to Michael, spent much of her music career in all-girl bands, touring the northern states and pacific northwest. She has taken her turn behind the keyboard, guitar, microphone, and, of course, bass guitar. Elaine established Immortal Guitars sixteen years ago, and her beautiful guitars can be admired and purchased through Gallery 873 in Kayenta.
Chris Flaig is the only Southern Utah native in Soul What’s lineup. A second-generation drummer, Flaig has played with local names like Jerone Wedig and Electric Witness, and currently drums for Many Miles. He is the proprietor of Liberty Barbershop and offers drum lessons to all ages.
If you haven’t witnessed the synergy of this band on stage yet, it should be on your grocery list. This recipe for fun calls for a dash of dazzle, a pinch of pop, a heap of heart, and a whole lotta soul! Get your groove on with the funky sounds of Soul What!?