Royal Jelly Jive brings ‘pure bliss’ to Railroad Square Music Festival
When Lauren Bjelde takes the stage as lead singer of the eclectic combo Royal Jelly Jive, she does more than just sing the lyrics. Never standing still for a moment, she leads a celebration of all that is good and joyful in life.
The singer has her own name for the band’s vibe: “the pure bliss of just being there.” The sextet’s signature song, “Stand Up,” repeatedly moves audiences to do just that, with grins and cheers.
Bjelde and the band will share the bliss Sunday as headliners, along with singer-songwriter John Courage, at the free Railroad Square Music Festival in Santa Rosa.
“I think this could be our first time to be a headliner at a festival,” she said.
Royal Jelly Jive has been a festival opener many times, most recently in a return visit to the annual BottleRock celebration. The band also opened the inaugural Sonoma Harvest Music Festival in Glen Ellen, introduced last September by the producers of BottleRock.
“We kicked off the second-day mainstage lineup at BottleRock this year, which was a super-cool big moment for us,” said Bjelde, 29. “People were trickling in at the start of the day, but we had a nice group of dedicated fans.”
Originally formed five years ago in San Francisco, Royal Jelly Jive has been building a regional and even national following, while Bjelde and bandleader Jesse Lemme Adams gradually moved north by stages, most recently settling in the city of Sonoma. Adams, a Petaluma High School grad, met Bjelde at San Francisco State University.
The band has played major San Francisco venues, including the Boom Boom Room, The Independent, Slim’s and the Great Music Hall, and has toured to Seattle, Chicago and New York.
With original songs and lively new arrangements for accordion, keyboards, clarinet, trombone, acoustic bass, drums and sometimes fiddle and guitar, Royal Jelly Jive has a sound all its own, with Bjelde’s high-energy presence always in the forefront.
Ever playful, the band has just released its third CD, “Limited Preserve No. 3,” complete with a limited-edition line of 8-ounce jars of jelly from Lala’s Jam Bar and Urban Farmstand in Petaluma.
“Royal Jelly Jive is finally selling jelly,” Bjelde quipped.
The band recorded a new batch of material while touring in Louisiana and plans to put that on its fourth album.
“We’re headed in a bit more of soul and rock direction. We’re always writing new material,” Bjelde said. “We can’t help but be inspired by everything around us.”
You can reach staff writer Dan Taylor at 707- 521-5243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @danarts.