One of Kansas City’s up and coming bands isn’t jazz, rock or country. Their audience isn’t young or old, black or white, but is actually pretty diverse. And they just now started writing their own songs. The band is The Good Foot and week after week, they recreate that old soul sound.
The seven-piece band started after keyboardist Adam Wagner and guitarist Tim Braun were part of a play about Janis Joplin a few years back. They were around so much Motown and soul music it just made sense to start a soul cover band. Wagner says they all grew up with the music. He and lead vocalist Julia Haile have a deep admiration for it. They both say that if they could, they’d probably go back to the golden age of soul.
“I would have no complaints if I lived through this the first time around,” Wagner says.
“I might have some complaints if I were living through it the first time around,” Haile says, referring to being a female African American entertainer. “I think I’d have fun, though.”
Wagner and Braun got some of their friends and people they knew would be interested together. By 2008, The Good Foot was officially formed. Almost right away, they were a hit. Wagner remembers their first show at the Czar Bar.
“It was shoulder to shoulder people,” Wagner says. “I feel like everyone was ready for a band like us to exist.”
Wagner says there really weren’t many soul or Motown cover bands in Kansas City when they got started. He says people wanted music they could recognize and dance and sing along to. Haile says it helps they play all ages shows, so anyone can go and expect to have a great time.
“You know there’s going to be tunes of that era that you love. That’s my favorite moment in the show when someone hasn’t been moving the whole time and we play one song by one artist and they’re up dancing,” Haile says. “It hits them and they want to move to it."
Part of the reason for the success of The Good Foot is that they bring you what you want to hear: those classic moments in songs that bring you back to where you were when you first heard them. The Good Foot plays James Brown, Jackson Five and Aretha Franklin. In fact, they know enough material to fill a four-hour set. And without you even noticing, they slip in their own little touches to these classics.
“In each song we do, everyone has their own thing that they do that’s different from the original and that we’ve solidified in this band,” Haile says. “It’s cool to hear these moments and go back and listen to the songs in their original state. It’s cool to see how things have evolved.”
With shows booked basically every week and more than 2,000 friends on Facebook, The Good Foot is evolving, too. They’re now writing and performing their own songs. Perhaps surprisingly, they aren’t worried about alienating their existing fan base who know them only as a cover band.
“We’re pretty lucky in KC. We’ve got a ton of local love,” Wagner says. “People trust that what we’re going to do is going to be good enough for them. We’ve done our homework and we’re at least qualified to try some of our own thing.”
Because they’re sticking true to their roots, Haile says she thinks the transition from cover band to original soul band will be a smooth one.
“We want to be as great as those bands that we’re playing now,” Haile says. “I think that’s the goal.”
The Good Foot currently has about five or six new songs ready to perform and a music video for their single House. They’re working on building up their fan base in the Midwest. Besides their regular gigs, they say they’re excited to play the Kansas City Spring Dance on May 5.
A few weeks ago they co-headlined the Uptown’s Carnivàle du Soul. Hundreds of people attended. It was this night that they chose to release their newest original single, Bad Way. As the crowd danced and let loose to the song, it seemed as if The Good Foot would be just fine doing their own thing.
Click here to see a calendar of The Good Foot's upcoming shows.