Last week, Vulf Records mysteriously released two tracks under a moniker The Fearless Flyers. The new band, comprised of Vulfpeck bassist Joe Dart, guitarist Cory Wong, drummer Nate Smith, and Snarky Puppy guitarist Mark Lettieri, put out two songs on Monday and Wednesday, generating huge response to the funky-fresh releases. The new project, which is produced, composed, and mixed by the “Vulfmon” himself, Jack Stratton (bandleader/multi-instrumentalist of Vulfpeck), will be pressed on a limited supply of 12″ vinyl—though the campaign to reserve your own copy closed on Friday. From the time of the announcement, it was not clear whether or not The Fearless Flyers would release a full record, or if only the two songs would appear on the pressing.
Then, on Friday, without much promotion outside of a few ambiguous posts on Vulfpeck’s social media pagges, The Fearless Flyers released the full EP on Bandcamp. In addition to the previously released “Aces of Aces” and “Under the Sea / Flyers Drive”, the self-titled debut record includes four additional tracks.
“Introducing the Fearless Flyers” showcases the tight musicianship between the four players, providing the style of playing that fans of Vulfpeck crave from the band’s earlier days. A sped-up, jammed-out, funkified rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” appears on the EP, featuring guitarist Blake Mills and gospel performer Sandra Crouch. A secondary version of “Barbara” also appears on the record, featuring Sandra Crouch again on the tambourine, as a follow-up to Vulfpeck’s 2012 Vollmich version of the song.
The six-track presentation closes with “Bicentennial”, a clear continuation of the closing groove from Vulfpeck’s 2017 “Grandma” from Mr. Finish Line. Vulfpeck’s soulful original version of the song features Antwaun Stanley on vocals, David T. Walker on guitar, and James Gadson on drums and closes with a 45-second groove that left fans wanting more. The Fearless Flyers’ “Bicentennial” is the extension of that groove and it features Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Elizabeth Lea on trombone and the voice of Jack Stratton as the “sibilant announcer.”
With clear ties between Vulfpeck and The Fearless Flyers, it’s safe to say that the new band is a real thing–and we want more. You can own a copy of The Fearless Flyers today for $6, if you didn’t already reserve a copy of the vinyl, here.
In other news, Apple recently released a new commercial for the Apple Pay feature, using Vulfpeck’s “Back Pocket” as the soundtrack. The commercial is in international circulation, positioning the song to get stuck in even more heads across the globe.
Vulfpeck has a light year ahead of them, with only four dates on the calendar so far. Following a festival appearance at Sweetwater 420 and two nights in New Orleans, the funk quartet will head to Morrison, Colorado, for their first-ever headlining performance at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre. With KNOWER and Kamasi Washington also on the bill, the 4/27 show is shaping up to be one of the most exciting to date. Head here for more information.