Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Brand New Bag / Fat Metaphysical Thing

Evan Gillespie

Whatzup Features Writer

Published February 22, 2001

Heads Up! This article is 22 years old.

The Best R&B or Hip Hop Band category in last year’s whatzup Readers Poll was expected to bring in votes for the substantial number of rap acts around Fort Wayne. The actual voting results were a little surprising; it seems that the R&B tastes of whatzup readers are a little more old school. The winner in the category was Brand New Bag, a band whose R&B tends much more to the 70s side than anything you’re likely to hear on MTV. Now Brand New Bag finally has a CD in stores so those who aren’t already fans can find out what all those voters were talking about. Brand New Bag’s musicians are an eclectic bunch. Keyboardist Jim Steele is a jazz player who brings an energetic, vibrant flair to the pop-R&B tunes, and bassist Adam Martin is smooth and funky enough to provide nice support. Drummer Todd Harrold and guitarist/saxophonist Brandon Rentfrow fill out the sound. Vocal duties are handled soulfully by Stephany (who, apparently, is now a Cher-style one-namer). Harrold helps out on “Your Heart Like Today” and takes the lead on “Palm Sunday” and “Another Ohio.” Rentfrow is out front on “Blackout Mardi Gras.” A nice touch is the use all-star backup vocals (Rose Lazoff and Jane Palajac of the Chronics, David Todoran, Dan Mihuc, Aaron Craig) on “Palm Sunday”; it’s a who’s who of Fort Wayne music.

Anyone expecting, after seeing the results of whatzup’s poll, hardcore hip hop from this band will be disappointed; that’s not Harrold’s bag. However, anyone looking for easy, cool pop-R&B 70s-style will find it on Fat Metaphysical Thing.

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