Rio and the Rockabilly Revival front woman Rio Scafone appears to be a living contradiction. She’s rock 'n' roll angel and brimstone incarnate; the preacher’s daughter meets sexy exotic raven-haired pin-up meets Bettie-Page-on-a-rampage. She takes the stage, and categorically destroys any preconceived notion you may have; unleashing her onslaught with a pure audacity that critics have described as “exhilarating” and “primal.”
The Revival's music is steeped in the fervor reminiscent of a whiskey-fueled Southern revival tent with the slowburn swagger of a young Elvis Presley and wailing abandon of Little Richard, they seamlessly weave the old with the new. 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, and carries on the family tradition of serving up spitfire Roots Rock 'n' Soul music.
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)
The Revival includes Junebug Harris on upright bass, Jarod Thompson on guitar, and Charlie Bongo on drums and washboard. Yana Levovna and Renee Turner 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.
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. Their original music satisfies Early Roots Rock purists while connecting with modern-day music lovers, proving that what is old is, in fact, new again.
Rio and the Rockabilly Revival released its first EP, “The Midnight Rebel Sessions” (ASCAP), after demo versions of the songs were shared over the Internet without permission. Scafone was blindsided when a radio DJ based in the UK contacted her, asking if he could play one of the songs on his show.
“I literally thought I might vomit. They were recorded on barely more than a hamster on a wheel in my little house outside Detroit. Listen closely and you can hear my dog barking in the background! We're talking rough.”
– Rio Scafone
As it turns out, Rio had little to worry about. Discerning ears heard the undeniable quality in the band, and six months
later the album was part of countless radio and Internet streaming playlists around the globe.
They continue to rattle cages and gain attention, including endorsements from Gorilla Ears in-ear monitors, Motives
Cosmetics, and Frankie C's clothing lines.
Rio and the Rockabilly Revival's latest release, “Runaway Train,” as well as “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 and RioAndTheRockabillyRevival.com.
"The venue's already filling up with a decidedly mixed crowd; elderly folk mingle with some of Ferndale's multihued transvestites, punks rub shoulders with the conventionally dressed, all to see Rio & the Rockabilly Revival.
...Then 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--
"On a 100 degree Sunday afternoon this past August, in a non-descript concrete block industrial building just off 8 Mile and Woodward, Rio and her band The Rockabilly Revival were practicing. The amps were cranked, a lone fan was blowing the only cool air to be had south of Nova Scotia, and Rio was dressed in her trademark flouncy red dress with white polka dots accented by a pair of petite black combat boots. Her raven hair was set off by a bosom glistening with sweat like a Gypsy woman ragged on crank, and when she kicked off her number “Save Your Soul” I must report that despite the pervasive swelter, goosebumps raised on both my arms, and a chill shot up and down my spine.
It’s technically rockabilly, but that’s like calling King Kong a common chimpanzee.
... That’s what you need to take away from this brief article, that 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.
...You have got to see her live show. There is nothing else out there quite like it, and let us predict that this glorious babe and her wailing wunderkind are tomorrow’s headliners, platinum recording artists and proof that Motown produces talent like no other."
--Tom Stevens, MetroVibe Magazine, October 2012--
"Miss Scafone and her band are instantly electric, mesmerizing and absolutely addictive. Literally, two songs into their set, I was trying to find out when their next show was. I can only assume that they guzzled down a case of energy drinks before taking the stage, because they played for two hours without a break and let me tell you, their energy is unmatchable. For those two hours, I could swear I was in Las Vegas. I couldn’t believe that I was watching a show of this level in a regular bar in Ferndale. Rio was so captivating that it didn’t matter if you were male or female, your eyes didn’t want to leave her for a second. I was completely locked in on her. Watching the band play felt like an honor, like we should be thanking them. I was convinced that I was witnessing a legend being born, seeing next generation icons ... this is a MUST SEE SHOW
... Knowing about Rio and the Rockabilly Revival now is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see one of the greatest bands not just Michigan, but in the world."
--Vera Kzhouz, HEAR Magazine, March 2012-- [+]