On a bandstand, it’s not uncommon to leave space for band-members—and special guests—to solo and share their own interpretation of a song live for everyone to enjoy. But, during quarantine, while musicians and audiences are alone in their homes, that delicious sense of collaboration and in-the-moment improvisation can seem impossible to recreate. That’s where Seattle’s joyous, electro-swing band Good Co and their Quarantine Together Challenge come to the rescue.
With the music community feeling collectively glum – the band included – over missed performances, rehearsals and musical fun with their friends, the Seattle based six-piece got inspired to do something innovative to lift everyone’s spirits by creating and video for their original song, entitled “Quarantine.” At the center of the upbeat, relatable number is steamy vocals, funky horns, and a groovin’ rhythm section that could inspire even the most rhythm-deficient to get up and dance. Then, they took it a step further: in collaboration with musician’s financial relief non-profit, Sweet Relief, they’re asking musicians from Seattle and beyond to contribute their video versions of the song.
For this challenge, which Rayburn jests is like the “Ice Bucket Challenge meets celebrity ‘Imagine’ video,” Good Co just asks that contributors do their own thing with the original—replace or change the instrumentation, take a solo, remix it, write a new countermelody—and then share the video on social media with Good Co. tagged and a little blurb about Sweet Relief and its mission. They’ve also set up contributing musicians with everything they may need, like a Drop Box full of sheet music and notes on the song.
Since they began the ongoing project in early August, the band has received well over thirty videos, which include performances from Seattle’s own talents like saxophonist Kate Olson and jazz pianist Shawn Schlogel, as well as musicians from as far away as New Zealand and Hawaii.
“Quarantine” and this video challenge come on the heels of Good Co’s fourth full-length album, So Pretty, which dropped in early June. The high-octane 11-track album is fun and incredibly variable: there’s disco, ukulele swing, euro-pop, even clever nods to American pop favorites like the building trumpet line in Black Eyed Peas,”Pump It,” on “Home.” It’s the perfect soundtrack to a quarantine night many of us have had—so fed up with being home again, you’re getting dressed up in your sequins, fur and going-out jewelry just to dance around your living room and get back in touch with your night-out sexiness again.
So Pretty also documents Good Co’s current stellar line-up—including bandleader Carey Rayburn on vocals, trumpet, ukulele, synths; Jacob Sele on keys, vocals, percussion, and trombone; Benjamin Verdier on electric and upright bass; Joseph Eck on drums and percussion; Peter Daniel on saxophone; Sasha Nollman and Shannon O’Bent on vocals; as well as Rex Gregory on clarinet and Matt Williams on guitar. Rayburn says he’s enjoyed having some of Seattle’s brightest talent in the band, which has been the case throughout Good Co.’s many iterations since breaking out in 2012.
“Hands down my favorite thing is getting to perform with the other great musicians in the band and to share our music with audiences,” said Rayburn. “To tell the truth, it’s been pretty tough on each of us individually to not be able to play music, but we try to stay engaged. We’ve each been doing our own things to keep sane. Our singer Katrina has been writing new songs, I’ve been practicing a lot of trombone lately, and our band gets together for Zoom meetings just to hang out every couple of weeks.”
The Quarantine Together challenge has been a nice way to stay active, too. Rayburn is absolutely floored with the response to the project so far, which he hopes to continue for as long as people want to submit and raise funds or Sweet Relief.
“The most surprising thing, to me, is how much people have really enjoyed doing the challenge,” said Rayburn. “Several folks have told me that it felt like getting to collaborate with other musicians again, something that I think we all really miss right now.”
To get involved with the Quarantine Together project, visit the fundraiser website.