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I discovered Slydell at The Mint, a small venue in Los Angeles on Pico Blvd. famous for being the stage that hosted artists such as Jeff Buckley, Ben Harper, the Wallflowers and Jack Johnson long before they were on the radio.

Playing The Mint doesn’t guarantee a band success, but they don’t book just anyone. It is the best sounding small-room in town, with a friendly staff and an old Hollywood, speak-easy vibe. While only ten minutes from the Strip, it seems like a world away.

I had been to a Slydell show before, but it was at The Mint, when they did a residency last summer, that I became a fan. There they were, a incredibly solid bluesy, rock band, with two beautiful brunettes singing backup straight from their souls, fronted by a man possessed with the fires of damnation, but with a voice from above.

I’ll always remember the evening, much like when I saw Jack Johnson play there, his mellow vibe flowing through the room like water. We all knew he was on his way.

I feel the same way about Slydell, but their road will be a little bit more interesting, more like the “slow overnight success” that Ben Harper now enjoys. Slydell might never be exactly “mainstream,” but the struggle towards success will make the band’s journey that much more rewarding.

How do I know that Slydell is special?

It might be the way guitarist J. Soda’s fingers move across his old fashioned electric guitar, nailing every song without a touch of ego, despite his brilliance. Or it might be the way Davey Latter pounds his skins with ferocity, without ever playing too hard.

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