In a Groove: A New Album from Boulevards

Musician Jamil Rashad releases Carolina Funk: Barn Burner on Tobacco Road, a catchy record filled with gratitude and live-performance energy.
by Josh Klahre

For over a decade, Boulevards — the stage name of performer Jamil Rashad — has been a fixture on the Raleigh and national live music scenes. He’s built a reputation on reliably delivering sweat-soaked shows, and on June 28, he’ll release Carolina Funk: Barn Burner on Tobacco Road, his fifth studio LP.

At this moment, the artist is really feeling himself. He’s found a producer, Sergio Rios (of Say She She notoriety), who gave him the space to make a record he’s been trying to make his whole career. He’s happily engaged to the love of his life. He’s found sobriety after struggles with substances and alcohol. He’s set up a home base in a cool historic home in nearby Fayetteville. And he’s holding onto the pure bliss of knowing how many people in his orbit stepped up to collaborate and to make this record happen.


Rashad recounts the time he heard the first round of mixes for Carolina Funk. It was the middle of the night; he’d been awoken by the buzz of a notification on his phone. It was the file “What We Live For,” a track off his new LP. “After I heard it, I just laid in bed and cried,” Rashad says. “My fiancée asked why I was crying and I just said, it sounds so good!”

As the title suggests, the album offers a heavy dose of funk, a musical genre that credits several notable North Carolina-bred artists to its formation. Rashad likes to think of his personal spin on the genre as “garage funk,” which he describes as “raw, energetic, fun and catchy, but with really good songwriting.” The sound — and Carolina Funk, in particular — is meant to feel like it was recorded live. “I wanted to make an album that echoes the spirit of my shows,” Rashad says.

This article originally appeared in the June 2024 issue of WALTER magazine.