Adam Searan: Inspiring Music

Adam Searan grew up in Nashville and credits his accomplishments on hard work.  He grew up in and around music.  His mother, father, uncle and others in his life were always musical.  They were in and out of music industry most of Adam’s life. Adam shared that his father played at the Opry and for Johnny Paycheck.  His uncle was a session player and band leader for several big names in country music.  Adam began singing in the church and around 11 years old, Oasis inspired him to learn the guitar.  Music was part of his high school years.

Adam is now 33 years old and has music his career.  He has an unique sound and even a more impressive way to  create that sound.  Adam has played in bands and played acoustic.  When he played in bands, he found that the music he gravitated to was not always conducive to the band setting.  In cultivating his sound, he started experimenting with Loops and it became a way for him to translate his acoustic sound and connecting with his fan base.  It gave him an outlet to give his fans a better show.

Adam has many influences in his musical taste that span across the board.  “I just love to listen to great songs.  If it is a little weird, I tend to gravitate towards it.” Adam said.  David Grey is a huge influence in his musical tastes.  Adam also said “I have always loved Keith Urban.”.  I told Adam that we sounded like kindred spirits when began to list other influences such as BB King, Ryan Adams, and Eric Church.  Adam told me that he “could list at least 5 musicians from every genre, including Christian music.”  Growing up, he could only listen to Christian music or music from the Opry.  He is still a huge fan of Hank Williams Sr.  “I could put on one of his records and listen to it all day.” (I agree with that 100%.)

When bringing up the topic of “what genre would you put yourself in”, Adam said “he loves to hear interesting new sounds” and wants to put out something out there that isn’t already out.  Adam and I talked about every genre having sub-genres, that are always evolving.  Adam wants to be inspired by music, honor the musician, and stay away from covering them.  He is looking to create the next thing, the next step.  Adam is not looking to market to one specific crowd, but put something out there that both parents and kids can enjoy.

Adam’s writing style usually starts with music first and then a word will come to him.  He tries to listen to what the song is saying.  He tries to name that feeling that only music can make you feel.

We talked about the culture and state of music today.  Adam wants to stay unique and speak his message.  He wants to create new music and not cover singer.  The industry needs to give more credit to the content creator.  Adam’s mission as an artist is to inspire people to create and keep the artistry in music.

When Adam made music is full-time career, no one really got what he was doing.  He was either too heavy for one group or too country for the other.  Adam prevailed in his career by holding to his truth.  That has worked well him in the last 6 months.  For all of those that didn’t get, there were many others that did.  That was evident by Adam being in Country Weekly magazine and playing a show at the Ryman.

If Adam had one message to give to everyone, it would be “be different, be yourself, be weird, and do it with all of your heart.  Give it every ounce of everything you got.”.  This message is what Adam lives by and is why he is continuing to gain new fans ever day.  “The day someone can convince you to stop being yourself, is the day you will stop being successful.” Adam is such an inspiration of how to stay yourself and good things will come.  Adam concluded the interview with these quotes, “Play it.Sing It. Mean It.” and “Start looking at the universe and stop looking at the sky.”

Adam is currently touring on his “Last Call For Summer” Tour.  He will be making several stops in our area soon.  You can check out his website at .   Adam will be at Rome City Brewing Company on September 8, 2017, as well as Rhino’s Smokehouse on September 21-22, 2017.  You can also catch him at Hopz and Haze in Summerville on September 23, 2017.  Click on this link for additional tour dates: Adam Searan Tour

Here is a link to Adam Seran’s video for “Last”: Last.



Matt Mason- Doing It His Way

Growing up in Indiana, in a great home, and finding a love for music in the Pentecostal church shaped Matt Mason into the person he is today.  Matt fell in love with Southern Baptist music and says that it has always moved him. (I am guessing from the red hymnals many  folks still use today.)  Matt use to crawl under the seats, during service, to play with cars.

Matt wanted a guitar.  He and his father were on the way to pick up his mom from the airport, one day, and his father stopped into Arthur’s Music Store to buy Matt his first guitar.  He took lessons from Carl Downy.  Carl would stay after church to teach Matt how to play.  At 11 and 12 years old, Matt played acoustic guitar at church.  He claims that because they didn’t plug-in to an amp, no one could hear how bad he was playing, but it gave him the confidence he needed to continue on.

Matt continued on and at 14-15 years old he went to an Open Mic at the American Legion.  His dad took him to the Open Mic and Matt played a couple of Merle Haggard songs.  The crowd responded to Matt’s performance.  It even led to him being booked for the Eastern States Exhibition in Massachusetts.  Matt went from playing an Open Mic Night at the American Legion, to opening for Charlie Daniels at age 16.  He remembers walking on stage and slipping due to the rain (and maybe a little case of the nerves).  He said, “I remember looking out and saying wow look at all the people. One foot took off and I caught it right before his pants split.”  After show, Charlie Daniel gave him his bow and ran back to his bus, looking at it with amazement, hoping he would sign his bow.  Charlie came out, after a little while, told the guy that opened the door for Matt “If anyone comes to my door like that, come get me.”, and took Matt on his bus.  Matt remembers Charlie taking the time to sign his bow, his cowboy hat, and talked to him for a second.  Matt knew that night that he got a taste of performing and that was the life he wanted to have.

Matt spent time playing fairs and festivals around Indiana, before moving out to Nashville.  A couple of weeks after moving to town, Matt got his first gig at Tootsie’s.  He had been standing outside because no one would let him after 6pm.  (He will still under age.)  Different guys would get him up to play throughout the day.  John Stone watched him stand outside during the day and finally asked him if he wanted to get up and sing a few songs.  Matt sang “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Are You Sure Hank Would Done It That Way?”.  He finished his set and looked at the crowd.  People were standing on each other shoulders.  Matt stood basking in what he thought was a kick ass performance, to only notice Hank Williams, Jr. standing in the back of the room.

The following 18 months, Matt continued to play in Nashville.  He learned what to do, how to stand in front of people. and say while on stage.  A friend, Berry Jeffrey, called and told him about a show to see if he would be interested in doing a show called “Nashville Star” and are you interested.  The auditions went well and Matt went on to place 4th in the competition.  Kacey Musgraves, Chris Young, and Miranda Lambert were a few notables that came from the show.

Matt left the show and did his thing until Barry called again with another opportunity from a CMT Relativity show called “CMT Next Superstar.  Matt was hesitant to do the show because he didn’t want to be “that guy”.   Matt was able to sign with Warner Brothers from appearing on the show and because a better writer.

Matt is now happy with his writing, guitar player, and being a better musician.  At the age of 31, Matt is learning this is a business.  If you are in it just to make money or just to have fun. you could fail.  Matt is in love with the music now after his journey.  He is excited that God has big plans.  If Matt’s music is helping folks and reach people, Matt says “It is awesome.” Matt finds himself just happy getting by and if more great things happen, he is content.  He feels he is in a good place and as long as the fans keep coming out, he will continue on.

I asked Matt about some of his influences and the list is long and distinguished.  Matt lists greats like Leon Russel, Kris Kristofferson, Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, and his all round favorites, Merle Haggard.

When it comes to song writing, Matt Mason has no process.  If you stick to a formula, you become stagnant.   Matt is not a fan of writing sessions.  He seems to be more of an organic song writer.  He has never tried to force a song.

I asked Matt Mason what genre to he would put his music in and the only genre he can come up with true life music.  Waylon once said that “Music should be classified at all.”  If I had to place Matt Mason in a “genre”, I would maybe place him in Americana.  Matt has never been a bar style band because he isn’t a karaoke band.  He likes to play his own music, staying true to who you are, your fan base will grow.  Matt has a few EP outs that are a must listen.

For information about Matt Mason, please click on Matt Mason.

I have linked some of Matt’s song and would like you guys to listen to them all.   I have my favorites like “E” and several others.  Matt Mason Music.








South of Heaven

South of Heaven
Always endin’ up
No matter how I try
I’m just south of Heaven
Don’t wanna’ think you can have it all
‘Cause all I need is just south of Heaven

South of Heaven, one of the up and coming bands in the Southern Rock genre, has been touring the south and will be performing back at home at River City Brewing Company (formerly The Brewhouse Music and Grille) on Saturday March 25, 2017.  I sat down a couple of months ago to talk with the band, what is coming up for them, and their out look on the music industry. Full disclosure, I have known some of the boys in the band for a long time. They were classmates with my daughter, but I promise, these boys kick some major ass.  It is like listening at young men with old souls. You might notice that I started the article with lyrics from the classic Lynyrd Skynyrd song”South of Heaven”.  This classic song, from one of the greatest Southern Rock bands of all time, was the inspiration for the name of the band.  South of Heaven is made up of these extremely talented musicians: TJ Lyle – Lead Vocals, Bristol Perry – Drums, Riley Couzourt – Lead Guitar, Zach Everett – Bass, Vocals, Logan Tolbert – Rythym Guitar, Vocals.  The band members are from Armuchee and Taylorsville, GA.

The band all came together from being friends and hanging out.  South of Heaven has been playing as a band for 3 or 4 years together but the line up changed recently with the additions of TJ as lead vocalist.  The band started playing one of the first gigs as a benefit for Erin Massey, as fellow classmate and cancer survivor.  South of Heaven were frequently featured at local restaurants around Rome including La Conquista, Schroeder’s, and WOW Cafe (a memorial concert for Colton Rood, who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident).  The band has moved from the local restaurant scene and is now touring the south.

The band describes their sound as Southern Rock. I have spoken to one of our mutual friends, Them Dirty Roses, about the void of Southern Rock in the music world, so it was only fitting that I get South of Heaven’s take on that void.  It is rare when you find musicians as young as these guys to have such deep passion and a clear voice in a genre that seems, at times, long forgotten.  In the music world of overproduced, mass appeal,big production, it is refreshing to see a new generation that appreciates a genre of real, deep meaning music stands the test of time and not just music for the fad of the week. South of Heaven agrees that a lot of the music today is so much of the same and no one wants to make their path of originality.  They not only see but hear the void of raw talent, singing songs that tell the story of the everyday man.  These guys want to work hard to make their own path of music without the electronic, overproduced, sound the same as everyone else music that seems to be flooding the radio.

South of Heaven list their influences to include greats such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, Blackberry Smoke, Led Zeppelin, and CCR.  That is evident in the amazing sound that these guys are producing.

I asked the guys if they feel that with the new “easier” path to success with reality singing competition shows has hurt the music industry.  These guys feel that it has hurt with musicians working hard and has made music become a smaller market for orgianilty.  We talked about music in the 1970’s how Southern Rock had a market in some of the country stations but now with the rise of “Bro Country”, stations are not as willing to give anything that doesn’t fit that mold a chance at air play.

We turned our discussion to how the guys are evolving from being a “cover band” to writing more original material.  The guys are wanting to get a new album out with their new sound.  The guys write about real life, real feelings, that are relatable to all ages.  TJ writes a lot of the songs but they collabrate together. Relatability plays a huge factor as well as storytelling.

South of Heaven will be hitting the road, promoting their music, and doing music that comes from the soul without fitting into a mold.  I know these guys are going to do great things.  I have watched these guys continue to grow into even more amazing musicans.  In a world that is craving honest music, that doesn’t fit into a nice box, these guys are the real deal.  If you are in Rome,GA on March 25, 2017 come on out to River City Brewing Company at 10pm and see these guys!








Lyrical Lists is BACK!!

I know that I took a longer break that I wanted, but I am back and more committed to the growth of my blog.  The blog was created to promote bands that are in the process of breaking big into the music scene.  I want to feature bands with a great sound, decent following, and deserve to have their music heard.

Over the next month I will be doing articles on South of Heaven and Them Dirty Roses. Yes, another TDR article. I will revisit one of my first interviews with Savannah Leighton and see what is new in her world 3 years since we spoke last.

Do you have a band or know of an amazing music act that should be featured here on Lyrical Lists? I am always looking for submissions.  I also hope to have a website up and rolling soon.

Lyrical Lists started out as a hobby a few years ago, but with the fast growth and loyal readers, I am ready to step up this year and really make it a must stop for all music!

Thank you for your loyalty and for helping my dreams come true.  I have always wanted to do something like this and could have never dreamed that it would be as successful as it has been.  I love you all for your support! Now, let’s go on to bigger and better things!


I cherish the love shown for my blog! I hope to keep it going for a long time.  I know with readers like you guys, Lyrical Lists by Layla will continue to grow.

Layla Shipman


Them Dirty Roses-Trouble

After two years from releasing their first EP, Them Dirty Roses released their second EP, Trouble.  It is a self funded project that tops the first EP by leaps and bounds. (If that is at all possible.) I have made no secret that these guys are one of my favorite bands out there today.  I call them Southern Soul with Gritty Rock and Roll.  I was fortunate to be one of the firsts to receive the new EP and I cannot begin to put into words how great this music is to roll your windows down and jam to.  I spoke to the guys a couple of months ago to talk about the new music and what is next for the Roses.

Fans have been waiting for two years for the new music and of course I had to ask, “Why did it take so long?”  The guys told me that they have been so busy on the road, spreading the name for the last 2 years, and self funded the EP.  They are so proud to do things on their own terms and put out quality music.  The writing on this EP was more personal.  Everyone would work together to get behind what was being written.

I have my favorite on the EP, which is “Fix You”, but of course I had to ask the guys which were their favorites.  “Back Home” and “Fix You” seem to be the common song among the guys.  Andrew and Ben told me that “when they laid it down in the studio, it surprised us.”  Frank told me that “Songs About You” was a fun song to play on drums, which I will say he does a phenomenal job on.  James said his favorite was “Fix You” because “that is the only song I wrote by myself and is more personal to me.” James also said that it turned out as close as it could to the way he heard it in his.  (I am glad that it was in his head, because the song kicks ass.)

I asked the guys to go through each song and the writing process.  James told me the inspiration for “Fix You” comes from having those people you have in your life and seeing the problems they have.  You beat yourself up because you can’t seem to make them happy and in hindsight as you get older, you realize it still isn’t you.

“Songs About You” was co-written by Brian Wesley as well as The Roses.  Andrew had the first line about the girl and the guys started throwing out things and changed it up to be about life.  So many songs are written about a girl and this one is for people who have that “southern belief” even if they are not from the south.

“Trouble” was written by a friend of theirs.  They listened to the song, tweaked it here and there and is about planning on doing the right thing but end up doing the wrong thing.  It is a song that anyone can relate too.

“Molly”, another one of my favorites, is an older song that was written a while back.  The idea of having a girl’s name, but didn’t want to use a name of a girl he knew.  (Please think back to “You’re So Vain”)  We can thank Molly, the Maltese puppy, for running into the room.

“Back Home” was written awhile back.  It deals with being away from home, not knowing anyone as well as contemplating the moves you made.  It is one of those homesick songs that make you think about life’s choices and decisions.

So what can we expect from Them Dirty Roses in the upcoming year? More touring, more songs.  The guys want to get better as writers and musicians.  They performed at Spring Jam in Panama City the early part of April with several big name artist.  The Roses are looking to get on XM and continue to expand the fan base.  The guys are always working in collaboration together trying to use everyone’s idea.  The Roses have seen the growth from the first EP to Trouble.  They are hearing a lot of feedback at how they have grown and want to always put out the best music for the fans.

I see the growth in the band.  I feel that being on the road together for the last 2 years has made the band a cohesive unit.  They have really gotten to know each other and helped with the growth.   In a world of cookie cutter, over produced music, people are starving for real meaningful music.  Them Dirty Roses is a band that is ready to bring back that music that has heart and soul.  They are bringing the music that makes you feel something and can I get a big “Amen” for bringing back songs with meaning.

If you haven’t checked out Them Dirty Roses, please visit their website, buy their EP, go to their shows.  I promise you this is one band that will not disappoint. I have played this EP on loop for a long time.  The music is well written, meaningful, gritty, true life Southern Rock. Trouble is a great representation of all that is Them Dirty Roses.

John “JR” Roberson of Big Foot Music and Outdoors

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to talk with John “JR” Roberson of BIG Foot Music and Outdoor about the services his company has to offer those in the music industry.  We covered a lot of topics concerning the insider workings of the music industry and what is on the horizon for John “JR” Roberson.

Now most of you know JR as a local Armuchee boy that moved to Nashville to live out the dream of a song writer, manager, developer, and consultant.  The story of how JR went from local football stand out to a music man is very interesting.

JR  is a 1997 graduate from Armuchee High School located just a little north of downtown Rome, GA.   Life throws a few curve balls and the straight path from point A to B to C and further, isn’t exactly the path you had planned.  JR had plans to play high school and college football, as well as going into coaching.  His back up plan was to go into engineering, which he had a great deal of success as an intern in high school.  His career path had to take an unexpected turn once his father was diagnosed with cancer.  JR continued working while putting his dreams on hold to help his family.

After graduation, JR was able to get into fiber optics by designing for telecommunications. He was making a nice salary and providing a nice life in that industry until 2013.  In 2012 he began dabbling in the world of music management finding that was where his passion truly was in the industry.  JR was an aspiring singer/songwriter as early as 2003.  His love of music started as a songwriter but JR saw that he had the ability, passion, and drive to manage and develop acts.  Of course, as any loving father will tell you, the duty of being a father called him away for awhile until he felt that he had the resources and network to go into it full-time.  His first artist that he managed was Preston Summerville in 2012.

Once again JR finds himself taking another leap of faith and moves out to Nashville and take up music full-time in November 2013.  He started his company Bigfoot Music and Outdoor off of his unemployment.  At that time he was managing Season 5 Nashville Star Runner up, Zac Hacker.  He has consulted fairs, record industries, and other management agencies.

Now in 2016 Bigfoot Music and Outdoors has merged with Banner Music in Nashville on Music Row.   They represent artists from all over the country. Trust me when I say, JR will be working with some legendary performers, platinum selling artists, as well as many up coming artists.  You will be truly impressed at the list he will be working with.

The aspiring songwriter in JR will also keep the drive for him to continue with showcases.  He wants to give people the tools needed to make it in the industry. The showcases are set up so the artist can consult with them about ways to improve, work that can be done, etc.  JR feels he excels by showing artists that they may have the deals, managers, you still have to get out and hustle.  Fans are the most important thing the artist needs and JR tries to consult the artists on making sure they are doing everything possible to draw fans.  JR also tries to show the “Georgia Effect” on the industry.  Georgia is taking over the country music and that building relationships with these established artists is important.

JR has the right to brag that his group of performers is packed with potential new artists that can break into the scene at any time.  Organic approach is the way JR likes to have an artist grow.  With the Organic approach, you are creating a product, growing a fan base, with pure and honest lyrics, sung with no help from the studio.  Chris Stapleton is a great example of what a pure, Organic, system to grow the craft.

JR knows the fans are going to be appreciative with the approach of hard work to produce quality music from the artist.

Big Foot Music and Outdoors will live their name well this year as “Come big or Go home”.  JR feels that he is finally in the position to leave his imprint on Nashville.  JR always refers to coming home, doing shows, as a great homecoming.  “It is a good feeling to come home and be able to entertain the folks I grew up with.” JR told me.  JR also told me that Rome is becoming a hotbed of music.

JR is always looking for ways to improve the music industry and I know that he is the one to help cultivate and produce great singers with the potential to have longevity in the business.