Big Atomic -- a funky group of west Kentucky ex-pats -- was once a staple of the Paducah and Murray music scenes. The band, which relocated to Louisville in 2017, just put out their first record, "Activator," after over five years of playing together.
On the record the combo is made up of Micah Greene, Shannon Vetter, Matt Robinson, Morgan McCall and Andrew Stephens, with some contributions by Chris Grezch, Brandon Bell and Rick Benedetto.
"The record encompasses a lot because everybody on the album is the group that moved up to Louisville, but not all of them are playing with us anymore," said Vetter, who plays saxophone and guitar in addition singing in the band. "Some of these songs have been written for years and we're really happy to finally be able to get them out."
Formally released on June 21, "Activator" is available on Apple Music, Spotify, CD Baby and, physically, wherever Big Atomic plays.
The 12 tracks on "Activator" vary quite widely, flirting with galactic funk on "Cosmic Interstellar Funky Mustache Ride," skittering into a sort of jazz fusion on "Showdown in Odessa," while "Face the Music" is more of a straight-forward guitar driven rock tune.
This, Vetter explains, is just the way Big Atomic is.
"We tend to lean towards jam band music -- big guitar solos and drum breaks, saxophone solos," he said. "We're just a rock band, but with elements of jazz, funk, dance and big band tossed in."
During the recording of "Activator," the band brought in a couple extra horn players to contribute to a section of particularly brassy songs and ended up making a permanent addition to the band.
"That was really exciting," Vetter added. "It was almost like the record was the first time became fully what we thought it could be."
Transitioning into Louisville has been good for the group, allowing them to play on more bills with bands that are playing in the same genres.
"Since the move, we've just been working on the record and playing in Lexington, Louisville and Cincinnati more. There's just so many more bands to play with that are in our style - funks, jam and horn-based bands."
While the group isn't actively working on a new record, Vetter and Greene, the band's other main songwriter, are building up a catalog of songs and song ideas to move forward with.
"These piles of songs have just been growing and growing, but they haven't necessarily translated 100 percent to the live set," Vetter said. "We still feel like we're playing the album a lot."
This summer will see the group continue promoting the new album, in addition to playing festivals and individual dates around the region.
To keep up with Big Atomic, visit https://www.big-atomic.com.