About five years ago, Simon Okely had a chance encounter with Wilson Pickett — well, a Wilson Pickett record. On vacation in Chicago, Okely stumbled upon a copy of the soul legend’s 1968 album, “Midnight Mover.” It was a transformational experience for the musician, best known at the time in his native Australia as the guitarist for the rock band Oh Mercy.
Okely grew up listening to the classic folk and pop music of the 1970s. So when he launched his solo project, Slow Dancer, the resulting music was a combination of those influences and his newfound love of R&B. Slow Dancer’s sophomore release, “In A Mood,” came out in June on ATO Records. The record is filled with lush, crooning vocals, subtle production and propelled forward by a collection of incredible walking bass lines.
Okely joined us in OPB’s Portland studio to play one old song (“Leave It To Me”) and two new tracks from “In A Mood” and sat down for a conversation with us that you can hear below.