The Sh-Booms are a 10-piece Soul outfit with the heart of Motown from the sunny skies of O-town... Orlando, Florida that is.


The Sh-Booms will be out and about this month. Here’s where you can catch us:

Sunday September 7 - Orlando, FL at Rosen Plaza Hotel for Orlando City Soccer’s Awards Gala (hosted by Tom & Dan)

Friday and Saturday September 12 & 13 - Melbourne, FL for a two night engagement at Meg O’Malleys

Sunday September 14 - Orlando, FL at Will’s Pub as part of Will’s Pub’s 19th Anniversary Month


Detroit may me bankrupt, but its musical legacy lives on in one of the most unlikely metropolises in America—Orlando, the home of boy bands and breakbeat and Shamu and Disney World, the plastic tourist fantasyland where that bushy-tailed missionary in The Book of Mormon hopes to realize his dreams. None of this comes across in the music of The Sh-Booms, the exciting soul band that formed in Central Florida in 2011.

A lot of bands can make retro-sounding garage rock, punk and Britpop these days, but recreating the Motown sound circa 1965 is a more ambitious gambit. Founded by bassist and songwriter Al “The Thump” Ruiz—all of its members have succinct nicknames, such as “Spark Jiver” and “Skin Blaster”—The Sh-Booms have done just that, much to the surprise of Ruiz himself.

“My parents grew up in the soul scene of the ‘60s in New Haven, CT,” he says. “My teens and early 20s were rock and roll/indie stuff, anything to get away from what my parents were into. As I got older, I started looking up to my parents a lot more and going through their records. I started falling in love with the music I knew so well as a child, and took a stab at songwriting.”

The result, once Ruiz recruiting nine other musicians, including the dynamic lead singer Emily “The Chirp” Patterson, conjures sock hops and jazz clubs and cabarets, where big bands will huddle on small stages, and the charismatic female singers would wear dazzling dresses and her male players would don matching collared suits and ties and move in choreographed unison.

You get all of this at a Sh-Booms concert; listening to the band on tracks like “123,” (their first single, released last year) and “X to your O,” it’s as if the last 50 years of musical evolution (soul purists might say devolution) never really happened. In an era where most pop music is composed on computers and written by one- or two-man songwriting factories, the Sh-Booms have stood out among their peers.

“Many promoters, radio people, or whatever find this refreshing,” Ruiz says. “Not many bands are doing this type thing. It’s been three years now, we’ve gotten a lot tighter as musicians and honed our craft.”

The Sh-Booms Play Bamboo


Raising the roof in Orlando with music born out of Memphis and Detroit, the Sh-Booms revive the sound and showmanship (the look, the steps) of classic ’60s soul — boisterous, tight, and buttery smooth all at once. Two gigs coming up this week and next will mark the band’s debut in Palm Beach County.

Sh-Booms mainspring Al “The Thump” Ruiz, the group’s bassist and songwriter/arranger, told New Times his inspiration in starting the band almost three years ago was a hand-me-down.

"My parents were into the soul scene in New Haven and Chicago," he said, "record hops and that kind of thing. My mother appeared on Connecticut Bandstand, and her sister was onAmerican Bandstand. So I’ve been drawn to it for a long time, that ’60s thing, man, soul, garage rock…”

Built around a core group of six — Ruiz, vocalist Emily “The Chirp” Patterson, percussionist Kevin “The Skin Blaster” Connolly, alto saxophonist Samson Derrer, pianist Earl “The Spark Jiver” Hoback, and guitarist Davis “Twinkle Toes” Schleicher — the Sh-Booms lineup varies with venue, incorporating enough additional musicians at times to appear as a 12-piece. They’ve become a mainstay of Orlando-area nightlife, playing all the chief local clubs and garnering awards.

Patterson is the band’s not-so-secret weapon, both glamourous and earthy, with a voice that can rattle the rafters and shiver the spine. “I was looking for a vocalist so I could concentrate on songwriting,” Ruiz said. “We’d been looking for a while, but when we met Emily, we knew right away. It was Samson who introduced us, and I told him ‘What took you so long?’

"It’s not a full-time gig yet," Ruiz said. "But things are going really well, and the business side of things is coming together. There’s not a lot of bands going this route."

The Sh-Booms Bring New Life to ’60s Soul


For the October edition of Soundboard Talks, I chatted with Al Ruiz, a founder of Orlando R&B outfit the Sh-Booms. And then we shopped for some cabana-wear.

“There aren’t many people out there who dislike Motown,” Ruiz says when people ask him about The Sh-Booms, the horn-fueled, retro-flavored Orlando R&B revue that he helped create.

The band’s big sound made a splash on the Orlando scene in 2013, first with a February video-release party for the debut single “123’s,” followed by the March release of the song as a single in the appropriately nostalgic vinyl format. Upcoming gigs include an Oct. 13 set at the Winter Park Autumn Art Festival.

In this month’s edition of Soundboard Talks, Ruiz chats about the band’s influences, including the material in his parents’ record collection. “My parents always had Motown on, soul music,” he says.”The arrangements are simple and everything’s built around the vocals.”

What’s not to like?

Soundboard Talks: Al Ruiz of the Sh-Booms


Here’s an updated list of our upcoming shows for ya’:

Friday June 20 - St. Petersburg, FL at Green Bench Brewery Tap Room (Facebook Event)

Friday July 11 - Daytona Beach, FL at Ocean Deck Restaurant & Beach Club

Saturday July 19 - Deland, FL at Cafe DaVinci

Friday July 25 - Orlando, FL at House of Blues

Friday and Saturday Sept 11 & 12 - Melbourne, FL for a two night engagement at Meg O’Malleys

We’ve got some more shows in the works, so keep your eyes peeled right here for updates.


We’ve been getting ready for this week’s “The Freaky Friday the 13th A Soul, Rock & Roll Shakedown” with Richard Sherfey and All God’s Children & The Mud Flappers, and the press has taken notice. Here are some stories to get you as stoked for the show as we are:

Orlando Weekly - Get freaky this Friday with the Sh-Booms

aXis Soundcheck: The Sh-Booms get the Funk out @ The Social on June 13th!

You can get tickets to the show on The Social’s site, at Park Ave. CDs, or at the door night of, and be sure to RSVP to our show on Facebook. See you Friday!


New shows just announced, y’all! We’ll be celebrating Friday the 13th at The Social with some good friends. Later in the month, we’ll be off to the Gulf Coast for a brew jam.

Here are the details. We’d love to see you come on out!

Friday June 13 - Orlando, FL at The Social for "The Freaky Friday the 13th A Soul, Rock & Roll Shakedown" with The Sh-Booms.

Friday June 20 - St. Petersburg, FL at Green Bench Brewery Tap Room.



This weekend we’re playing Jazz Fest After Dark in Jacksonville. We’re on at Dive Bar Saturday night, but make sure to check out the full lineup and schedule over here. See you then!


Voting is still open for Orlando Weekly’s Best of Orlando 2014 poll. You’d be doing us a solid by putting us down for “Best Soul Act”.

If you need some convincing, catch us this Saturday at Tom & Dan’s 5 Year Anniversary Soulabration.


Voting is now open for Orlando Weekly’s Best of Orlando 2014! Last year, you voted us “Best Soul Act” and “Best Music Release Party”. Let’s rally and do it again! Spread the word friends and fans and vote for your favorite local color!