Uncle Nef

Uncle Nef - Long Songs Image - Cover Image no Text - Final 0065aa.jpg

Drummer Shannon Powell stands tall in the lineage of New Orleans’ rhythmic giants; he is a torchbearer of the city’s culture and one of the finest drummers in the world. He’s also a great singer, his vocals invoking styles that echo the churches, street parades and jazz clubs of his hometown. Known for his contributions to traditional and modern jazz idioms, having worked with Danny Barker, Harry Connick Jr. and Wynton Marsalis, Powell is also a veteran of New Orleans' rich rhythm and blues scene having backed up such greats as Snooks Eaglin, Earl King and Dr. John.

Darren Hoffman is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer originally from Miami, Florida. He grew up playing guitar in his youth, greatly influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Albert King and Nirvana, but switched to drums when he was bit by the jazz bug in his early twenties and relocated in 2007 to study percussion at the University of New Orleans.

Hoffman began hanging out with Powell at places like Donna’s Bar & Grill on Rampart Street; the pair hit it off and began a friendship that ventured far from the classroom. While Shannon guided Darren in music and street-smart professionalism, Hoffman introduced Powell to new technologies and 21st century music industry practices. While many students of music today study almost entirely in the world of academia, Darren had the unique experience of being mentored by a living legend in a more traditional way, doing odd jobs and handling business for Shannon in exchange for knowledge and musical guidance.

When Darren enrolled at UNO, he had all but forgotten the guitar, focusing on his career as a professional drummer. One afternoon in 2009, Darren pulled out his guitar and jammed through some blues tunes with Shannon. Taken aback by what he heard, Shannon proclaimed, “Man! We gotta record!” This chance riff resulted in the 2017 release simply entitled Blues, a stripped down interpretation of raw blues with a modern edge. The success of that record led to a natural progression toward their new collaboration, Love Songs.

Here we find Powell and Hoffman stretching out, but not relaxing at all. The mood is highly charged and powerful, with Powell hitting hard and Hoffman shredding like a chainsaw on razor wire. There are some subtle love songs on Love Songs, but many tracks that speak to the full experience of love - the energy, the tension, the elation and the agony.

Love Songs is a concept album telling the story of the interpersonal relationship: starting with the end of one love, the discovery of a new- and the inevitable passing once again. Classic tracks are included to keep the concept in context - from Louis Jordan’s “Caledonia” and Nirvana’s “tourette’s,” to Fats Domino’s “Sick and Tired” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Jam 292.” It’s a wonder to see this unlikely Uncle/Nephew duo chart new territory with full appreciation of the past.


Shannon Powell | drums & vocal

Darren Hoffman | guitar & vocal

Topsy Chapman, Yolanda Robinson & Jolynda Phillips | supporting vocals

Morgan Guerin | saxophone

Kyle Roussel | organ & piano

Paul David Longstreth | organ

Abby Swidler | violin & viola

Kristen Dymala | cello

Mixed by Morgan Guerin

“Beat To Eat” mixed by Devin Hoffman

Mastered by Morgan Guerin

Recorded by Darren Hoffman, Tim Stambaugh, Adam Kiel & Paul McDonald

Produced by Darren Hoffman & Shannon Powell

Recorded at Word of Mouth Studios, Marigny Studios and The Music Shed in New Orleans, LA; and at Guava Records in Brooklyn and Holmes, NY. Mixed and Mastered at Guava Records

Love Songs

Release Date: April 19, 2019

uncle nef - blues

release date: october 27, 2017

Uncle Nef

Shannon Powell | Drums & Lead Vocals

Darren Hoffman | Guitars

The Family

Sami Stevens | Backing Vocals | Tracks 1 & 3

Lead & Backing Vocals | Track 4

Kyle Roussel | Organ | Tracks 2 & 4

Noah MacNeil | Piano | Track 3


Recorded at The Word of Mouth Studio, The Music Shed in New Orleans, LA & Guava Records in Brooklyn, NY. 

Recorded by Tim Stambaugh, Darren Hoffman & Adam Kiel

Mixed by Steve Reynolds

Mastered by David Farrell

Executive Producer: Darren Hoffman

Album Photography by Liz Charky | Style by Yara Travieso