The Right On Band uses music to bridge political gap

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Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon has the details on the The Right On Band.

When you think about music and politics, you probably think of bands with a political message. But one rock band has made a name for itself by playing good-time tunes for all politicians, including four presidents.

It's is a story about bridging the divide between Republicans and Democrats, one song at a time, using the sounds of the 1970s.

A keyboard player and a singer originally from the New York area have found a measure of fame playing for both sides of the aisle in the Washington DC area. They are the keepers of the flame of funk, with Motown in the mix, and a big dose of disco.

"It's music that makes your heartbeat," said The Right On Band's "Diva Extraordinaire," Arline Burton.

But that's not what makes the group so unique.

"Pretty sure we're the only band that can say we've played for four sitting presidents," founder Nigel Holland said.

The group played an Inaugural Ball for President Donald Trump, and one for President Barack Obama before that. They've also been to the White House for the Congressional Ball during the administration of President George W. Bush, who Holland presented with a unique pair of cowboy boots covered in gold glitter to match the platform shoes he wears onstage.

Burton presented First Lady Laura Bush with one of the singer's trademark boas, for which the musicians received thank you letters on White House stationary.

"They loved our outfits," Burton said.

President Bill Clinton declined their invitation to play the saxophone, but he remain's Burton's favorite president.

"He just made us feel at home, because he was a musician," Burton said.

Burton grew up in the South Bronx, while Holland was raised on Long Island. They've been performing together for two decades now.

"It's not about us," Holland said. "It's about the crowd. We want to make sure they have a good time."

And a good time is had, even by those who weren't born yet when the music they play topped the charts.

"It's not a spectator sport," Holland said. "You got to get involved, and that's what really separates us from other bands."

And it turns out that what works at the White House will work in any house.

"It's about getting emotion out of the crowd, getting them to feel something," Holland said. "If you want to hear music played perfectly, get a DJ."

"Have a good time" is the only message in their music, and what could be more bipartisan than that?

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