Dr Sigs is a song writing collective and occasional feisty live band. As a band they fall somewhere between Delaney and Bonney and Sly and the Family Stone, playing gospel and soul inspired rock. Their songwriting can depart from this significantly to include pop and folk tunes still with an emphasis on natural instrumentation and minimal sound processing.
Dr Sigs began with Sigmund Knapstad (piano, electric piano, hammond), Beth Stovall (vocals, acoustic guitar), Simon Scott (guitars, vocals) and Greg Smith (banjo, harp, 12 string guitar, vocals). They met when their kids arranged a play date for them and after a few adult beverages, they discovered a mutual love of writing and playing music. Deciding that they’d like to do more of it, they hit on the novel idea of doing more of it together.
Having survived many bands over the years, the quartet were pleased to discover that they agreed on a couple of things (always a good start), one thing being what could be called the “1971 effect”. Here's how it goes: Pick up any vinyl recording from 1971 and it’s pretty much guaranteed that there will be at least one track on there that completely justifies the $4 you just forked out. Why? 2 reasons: analog recording was at it’s peak - 2” tape, great tube gear - preamps, mics, compressors etc - pleasingly warm, slightly distorted tones abound. Every recorded thing from Glen Campbell to Humble Pie to Al Green to Deutsche Grammaphon opera recordings sounded great. Secondly: songs. There was an amazing cross pollination of popular musical styles in the late 60’s and early 70’s - soul/rnb, rock, country, gospel, folk - that hasn’t been repeated since, resulting in great song craft. It's why Aretha Franklin could do the funked out groovy "Rock Steady" and a cover of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" in the same year and the Staples could move away from pure Gospel into "Respect Yourself" and Donny Hathaway could take "Jealous Guy" and turn it into a soul classic (check it out if you've never heard it). Great songs, great recordings and of course great singers and players.
Dr Sigs attempts to emulate this to the best of their ability - not to become a throw back revival band but by trying to incorporate the aesthetic of that era into new material.
To a large extent, the sound and direction of Dr Sigs has been shaped by the following quite exceptional musicians:
Ed Cagnacci, bass, has been with Dr Sigs from the beginning adding the crucial James Jamerson, David Hood, Donald Duck Dunn element. He can sit in the pocket grooving or he can walk around for days. Ed is also a bonifide rnb/soul encyclopedia, in fact, he can usually make a creditable attempt at any song you throw at him from the awesome to the awful; Donny Hathaway's "I believe to my soul" vs "Afternoon Delight" by Starland Vocal Band for instance. It's quite something to behold.
Ronny Crawford, drums and percussion, brings an amazing musical sense to everything he does. He has been a touring musician for years, being the go-to guy for Lisa Loeb, Anna Mallik and others, yet a more enthusiastic and un-jaded fellow you will not find. Ronny is essential to the Dr Sigs songwriting process, providing a driving creativity and unbelievable chops that can transform a song idea.
Kenny Schick, tenor sax, baritone sax, is an incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist who began his musical life on guitar and is an accomplished guitarist as well as a top flight horn player. He performs in a successful duo with his wife, Sabine (Artemesia Black), has his own musical production company and is also a professional level photographer (many of the best photos on this site are his). Kenny and John Caredio make up "The Hairy Horns". They bring world-class power and punch that is essential to the Dr Sigs sound.
John Caredio, trumpet, flugelhorn, also has the thankless job of preparing the horn charts for Dr Sigs. His diligence and great ear all wrapped up in a totally humble and enthusiastic guy is an amazing combo which makes John a total pleasure to be around. It's difficult to overestimate the effect that John's skill and positive attitude has on the Dr Sigs project. John also lends his considerable trumpet talents to Phil Johnson and Roadside Attraction.
Dr Sigs has also enjoyed the talent, energy and good vibes of two great drummers: Craig Heitkam (The Spit Muffins, Jonny Manak) and Don Frank (Ronnie Montrose, Doobie Brothers, Marc Bonilla). Their contributions and support are very much appreciated.