Eddie Willis and Drew Schultz

Eddie Willis and Drew Schultz

*Coming September 1, a new single, ‘Take It Slow’ benefiting the music programs of the Detroit Public Schools will be released. As part of Drew Schultz’ ‘Back To Class’ series, the song features famed guitarist Eddie Willis who was a member of Motown Records’ legendary house band, The Funk Brothers.

“Take It Slow” also features lead vocalist Delbert Nelson and saxophonist Brian Asselin. The two musicians were regular members of The Funk Brothers road band when the group toured after the release of the award winning documentary “Standing In The Shadows Of Motown.” Nelson and Asselin are also band mates in Delbert & The Commotions, whose debut CD “Let Me See Ya Dance” contains original material in the throwback-soul vein. The band that recorded “Take It Slow” is Schultz’ own New York group, The Funk Machine, consisting of guitarist Emilio Tostado, bassist Jent LaPalm, keyboardist John Guari, and vocalist Chris Ams. The Funk Machine is also the backing band on the original Back To Class CD.

Drew Schultz aka “Kid Motown” entered the music industry at the age of 19 performing with legendary Motown group The Four Tops, and appearing on stage with countless iconic soul artists including The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Martha Reeves, The Dramatics, The Miracles, The Contours, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, and more. In 2012 he released his debut album, “Back To Class.” The record consists of 16 songs written by Schultz, featuring performances by The Four Tops, Dennis Coffey, James Jamerson Jr., Melvin Davis, Spyder Turner, Pat Lewis, Lenny Pickett, and many more. Fifty percent of the profits go towards the music programs of the Detroit Public School System.

The Funk Brothers, with Willis as one of multiple guitarists, played the instruments on almost every song of Motown’s Detroit era, including iconic hits by Diana Ross & The Supremes, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, and The Four Tops.  “I met The Funk Brothers when I was still in high school,” Schultz recalls. “Uriel Jones, one of their drummers, was a mentor to me. He really helped me through some times when I felt like giving up on playing, and the music that Uriel and Eddie made was always there. The Funk Brothers are literally responsible for the soundtrack of my life.” Schultz’ band, The Funk Machine performed in Detroit in July to showcase the project at Don Was’ All Star Review for the Concert of Colors, and last December saw the first donation to the Detroit Public Schools Foundation of $1,000. The project – featured in international press including Modern Drummer Magazine, SoulTracks.com, and Big City Rhythm & Blues Magazine – prompted Susan Whitall of the Detroit News to dub Schultz “Kid Motown.”

Schultz is the proud product of a public school music program in Shaker Heights, Ohio, which groomed him for all the success he’s enjoying in the industry. He says, “Shaker’s music program was incredible! The public schools there had it all – concert wind ensembles, jazz bands, small combos, orchestra, musical theater, and a several-hundred member strong marching band. Studying music growing up taught me how to be diligent in practicing. It taught me how to succeed at something I cared about, and it taught me how to handle failures. It taught me how to work in a team, and how to be comfortable out on my own in front of others.”

After three years studying jazz performance in Manhattan at New York University, Drew was called to move to Detroit and join The Four Tops as their full time drummer. “It was a dream come true,” he says. “I grew up idolizing all of these classic soul artists, and to perform with them was my dream job.” However, Schultz still needed to complete his college degree, and in the fall of 2012 he left the road to finish his education. The “Back To Class” idea came about through his love for classic soul music, combined with the need to return to NYU.  “I had such a positive experience with the Shaker Music Programs,” he says, “I felt like this was a way to produce a passion project with some of my favorite artists while helping to ensure that other kids can have the same experiences I did. I couldn’t be prouder to continue the project with Eddie Willis. It means the world to me to be able to collaborate with someone who has influenced me so deeply, and to do my best to capture the spirit of the music that Eddie, Uriel, and The Funk Brothers gave us.”

Drew Schultz can be found at www.DSdrums.com and “Take It Slow” will be available digitally through iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and more on September 1st, 2013. The original Back To Class album is still available digitally and on CD through most music retailers.

Watch the song promo:

Click below link for the video on the first donation to the schools: