Rhythm Affair is an original band from Las Vegas that creates blues, psychedelic rock, and progressive rock music. Their current lead singer is a bluesman named Tulsa Flood. Born in Kansas City MO, singer-songwriter Tulsa Flood is the nephew of famed KC Jazz drummer Terry Hughes. Flood was also the former drummer for KC band KC WHAT, as well as for Las Vegas bands, Garrison and Gigglepig. Rhythm Affair comprise a muscular, flexible unit that’s dynamic, groove-obsessed, and able to command any track with authority.
The core unit features River Rhythm, Tulsa Flood, Chris Hernandez and Matt Brady, while for live shows they can switch between 6 to 9 piece line-up with the aforementioned members joined by Bob Vaden and Hambone Stumps, each showing off talents on multiple instruments. Tulsa Flood and Eden Caz alternate lead vocals, in the unique Rhythm Affair style.
The band can beautifully play quiet expansive pieces of introspective rock such “Moirai” written by Tulsa Flood, and “Her Grave”, where the players expands themselves during the instrumental bits, before contracting back beneath lead vocals which could at turn be Tulsa Flood, or Eden Caz. This is evidenced further on the emotionally poignant, “This Livens Up The Day”, also written by Tulsa Flood. The lead vocals are laid-back and soulful and the second voice which rides on the back of the main melody is especially sweet.
There’s also some conversational guitar and bass interplay during these moments that’s particularly enjoyable and unpredictable. The musicians’ close-knit musical kinship is powerful enough to sweep you away, on any one of these track. Rhythm Affair are also extremely able in putting a harder edge to their music, when they turn up the tempo a notch.
This happens on the bluesy groove of “Boulder Highway Hooker”. The band swings hard for the fences with dynamic performances on vocals and guitars, while the harmonica matches them step for step. Tulsa Flood just keeps unwinding his practically limitless vocabulary, and absolutely kills it. Not content, Flood brings us the guitar driven blues again on “Sold To The Man”, where he turns his eye on socio-economic issues, showing us that there is more to the music than just the sound:
“Supposed to be there at 8 but I’m gonna be late. Once I clock in I’ll probably just take a break. Gonna work real hard to do as little as I can. Won’t be sold to the man on an hourly plan,” says whole lot about the songwriter’s awareness of the world around him. “I’m tough as they come but I see what’s happening now. Only one guy is gettin rich from the sweat on my brow. Had enough abuse so now I’m taking a stand. Won’t be sold to the man on an hourly plan.” This is a fine piece of lyrical work on its own terms outside the musical oeuvre.
As a band, Rhythm Affair are clearly too experienced and too professional to record anything less than a listenable track or perform anything less than a very interesting show. So on “Subtle Tyranny” they pull out the horns, and change the template, on another Tulsa Flood composition, for an elegant and classy big-band jam. The sumptuous mix places the listener deep within the instrumental interplay of a band whose natural chemistry allows them to navigate richly structured songs almost effortlessly.