Hold on: Felix and the Soul Cats are coming | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Hold on: Felix and the Soul Cats are coming

Tim Parsons

Felix and the Soul Cats are heating up some gigs at McP's Pub Tahoe. From left, Felix Odion, Omar Martinez, Billy Slais and Art Rodriguez.

The chill Felix Odion felt in church had nothing to do with a heating system.

He was just a boy walking in Seattle when he heard music coming from a church. He went inside.

“I was the only white kid in the place and that music just sent shivers up my spine,” Odion said about the day he discovered how music could reach his soul.

Odion as a junior high school student started playing in rock bands covering Cream and Jimi Hendrix. Decades later in 2002 he had an epiphany.

“I finally realized that if I wanted to play the kind of music that I really loved that I would have to form and manage the band,” said Odion, who started Cold Sweat, named after the James Brown song.

Odion’s latest band, Felix and the Soul Cats, has an impressive lineup. Longtime South Shore player and Lake Tahoe Community College instructor Art Rodriguez plays bass. Keyboardist from Reno Billy Slais formerly played with the Bay Area band Omega with Dave Matthews. The newest member is drummer Omar Martinez, who played 20 years with Paul Revere and the Raiders and the Righteous Brothers. He continues to play with Sam Moore, who was a member of the legendary Stax Records band Sam and Dave.

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“He just returned from New Orleans from a show with Sam,” Odion said. “The guy is an incredible singer. He sings with Sam.”

Felix and the Soul Cats play soulful renditions of Motown and classic and contemporary blues. They play two covers of Northern California’s soul-blues ambassador, Tommy Castro, “Like an Angel” and “Nasty Habits.” They also cover Wilson Pickett, the Blues Brothers, the Righteous Brothers and, naturally, Sam and Dave.

Odion lives on 13 acres in Coloma and has two massive Irish wolfhounds. He owns two hearses.

“I just love hearses, man,” he said. “They ride like a frickin’ limo. You can’t beat the ride. You can’t beat the power and it holds all my gear.”