Rio and the Rockabilly Revival was built on the vision of Rio Scafone. Rio believes in the power of honest music; the kind of music found back in the day, when players had to earn the title, “Professional Musician.” Back when they couldn’t slap tracks together on a laptop with simulated instruments or depend on autotune to correct their performance. They didn’t need special effects to create the illusion of a seasoned performer, they were seasoned performers. There was no short cut or easy way to the top. Singers had to SING, players had to PLAY. Performers once knew this plight. Their names are the thing of legend now; artists like Little Richard, Big Mama Thornton, Johnny Cash, Wanda Jackson and Carl Perkins. It was that kind of music and work ethic that haunted Rio and would not let her be. It was that kind of music that made it easy for her to decline a major label recording deal that would have her churning out uninspired material. And as the niece of Rockabilly pioneer, Jack Scott, it was the kind of music that was in her blood. She partnered with Junebug Harris to share in this vision, and RIO AND THE ROCKABILLY REVIVAL was born.
Front woman Rio Scafone seems to revel in contradiction. She’s rock ‘n roll angel and brimstone incarnate; the preacher’s daughter and raven-haired pin-up. Hopeless romantic meets Bettie-Page-on-a-rampage. She storms the stage with a pure audacity that critics have described as “exhilarating” and “primal.” The Revival’s music is steeped in a fervor reminiscent of a whiskey-fueled Southern revival tent. With the slow-burn swagger of a young Elvis Presley and wailing abandon of Little Richard, they seamlessly weave the old with the new, coupled with a bombastic live stage show that features Scafone in full tilt Rock and Roll persona, backing vocalists, and choreography. Taking cues from the founding fathers of Rock ‘N Roll, they blend it together with modern aesthetics that will satisfy the traditional American Rock ‘N Roll purists and contemporary music lovers alike.
“… Rio Scafone is a firebrand; a hell-spitting minx whose core, however, is hope and salvation. And, frankly, enough earthy sex appeal to move tectonic plates. Whipping an audience into a frenzy worthy of a revival tent is akin to water rolling off a duck’s back for Rio and company.” -Tom Stevens, Metro Vibe Magazine, Oct 2012
Born into Rock ‘N Roll royalty, Rio came up under her famous uncle, early rock pioneer Jack Scott. She carries on the family tradition of serving up spitfire Roots Rock ‘N Soul music. What was also instilled in her was that the audience owes you nothing. You must EARN their respect, and they deserve nothing less than your everything. The only way to do it honestly is through hard work, blood, sweat and tears. Known for their bombastic live shows, Scafone offers herself up as host for the sin and redemption within us all. With unstoppable energy, their live shows have been dubbed “the Church of Rock ‘N Roll” by critics and fans alike.
“… Scafone’s on stage, twisting, gyrating and owning every inch like some sort of possessed, evangelical-satanic dervish. It’s at once nostalgic performance art, killer show band and a rock ‘n roll wonder.” -Brett Callwood, The MetroTimes, March 2012
Rio was inspired to perform Roots-inspired Rock ‘N Roll, and Junebug signed on to be a part of it. Before she knew it, Junebug had already booked their first gig — before they had even hired a band! They went straight to work on writing, arranging music and hiring musicians. Their very first show in August of 2011 sold out the venue in downtown Detroit, and drew a large mixed crowd. The 20-somethings in the audience were blown away with something that felt absolutely new and unique to them, and the older crowd felt something they hadn’t in years. One member of the audience, an 80+ year old woman, found herself in tears, swept up in the moment; inspired by the power of Rio’s performance, and Rockabilly Revival’s infectious energy. “I was caught up in the spirit,” she told Rio candidly after the show, tears still in her eyes. “I can’t believe what I just saw. I haven’t been to a show in 20 years, but I’m so glad I came out tonight!”
Their inspiration and musical formula clearly works and resonates with fans and critics alike! Not only have they been wowing audiences and earning new fans around the world, they’re received a long list of accolades from reporters and DJs, and awards honoring their successes. In April of 2015, they took top honors in the Americana category at the renowned Detroit Music Awards with a win for “Outstanding Americana Artist/Group.” 2016 won Detroit Music Awards for Outstanding Americana Artist/Group, as well as Outstiand Americana recording for their release, “Testify.” They also were voted “Best of Detroit Original Band” in Hour Detroit Magazine’s independent readers’ poll in 2014, 2015 and 2016, as well as listed in the iconic Music Connection Magazine (Los Angeles) in the Hot 100 Live Unsigned Artists of 2014.
Rio serves as songwriter, and her partner Junebug as musical director, incorporating many founding musical styles that became Rock ‘N Roll: Gospel, Jump Blues, Country and Hillbilly Swing. Building on those early genres, they also filter today’s influences into their work, creating a defining sound. They do not simply duplicate songs from yesteryear. They bring a fresh approach to Rockabilly standards and push the boundaries of the genre with their original songs. When Rio asked her uncle, early Rock pioneer Jack Scott (The Way I Walk, Goodbye Baby, etc), for his blessing on covering some of his work he smiled softly and said, “You do not need my blessing. All I ask is that you make it your own. Give it your own voice, your own style.” Rio and the entire Revival embraced that sage advice and never looked back. Their original music satisfies Early Roots Rock purists while connecting with modern-day music lovers alike; proving that what is old is, in fact, new again.
The Revival includes Junebug Harris on upright bass, Mike Boyd on guitar, and Anton Filyayev on drums and juice harp, and Paige Grinderon Sax. Renee Turner and Simone Winter on backing vocals blend with Rio to make harmonies that are at times haunting and spacious, then tight and rich—reminiscent of the Andrew Sisters on an all-night bender.
With three well received albums to their credit, “The Midnight Rebel Sessions”, “Runaway Train” and their latest release, “Testify,” Rio and the Rockabilly Revival have found a fiercely loyal fan base that spans a very wide demographic. Playing clubs, music halls, festivals as well as television and radio shows, the Revival resonates with fans from all walks of life.
They continue to rattle cages and gain attention, including endorsements from Empire Ears in-ear monitors, Mystar Pro Audio Cables, and Remic Acoustic Instrument Mics.
Rio and the Rockabilly Revival’s latest release, “Testify,” as well as their previous albums “Runaway Train” and “The Midnight Rebel Sessions” is available now on all major digital distributors. CDs can be found in select music retailers, and online through CDBaby.com andRioAndTheRockabillyRevival.com.