Category Archives: musical review

Kirstie Lovelady: New Music, New Sound, And A New Kind Of Awesome

For the first time in over a year, powerhouse singer Kirstie Lovelady, released her new single and video “Cops ‘N Robbers” at midnight November 3, 2017.  The song is a play on the “define your relationship moment when you both are trying to figure out if your on the same page or somewhere different.” From the opening line of “We ain’t kids. This ain’t a game. Not just a place, to lay your blame” to strong chorus, featuring lines like: “Something about the way you keep accusing me.” and “Do you want to steal from me or be the shield for me?”, the song is packed with explosive vocals and clever lyrics.

Where has Kirstie been and where is the new sound coming from? I was able to speak to Kirstie earlier this week about all things new.  She talked about her recent break from constant performing as a need to heal her voice.  Kirstie also told me about taking time to reevaluate where she was going and what she wanted to say with her music.  With the new single “Cops ‘N Robbers”, you will hear a more edgy, grittier sound in her music.  She wants her fans and new listeners to have the same experience while listening at home to her music as they do during her live shows.  (For the record, if you have never seen Kirstie live, what are you waiting for?)

So we have a new single and video, what else can we expect from Kirstie? She is currently working on recording more new songs and getting back out performing.  I have heard previews of upcoming music from Kirstie and all I can say is buckle your seat-belts and get ready for an amazing ride.  “Cops and Robbers” is just the  beginning of a lot of great music to come.

You can download “Cops ‘N Robbers” on ITunes, Google Play, Spotify, and other online streaming services.  You can follow Kirstie Lovelady on her Facebook Page.


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!








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.

Lyrical Lists- “Head On” Video Review

So my two favorite music acts team up to produce one of the hottest videos I have seen in a long time.  The song co-written by Kirstie Lovelady and James Ford, from Them Dirty Roses, is proof once again, these musicians, are doing things on their own terms, in their own way.  Two unknown singers, team up to release a hot new video… “No one does that!” A female, trying to break into country music shoots a video in a boxing ring because that is how she sees the video…. “No one does that!”  Well whoever “no one” is has never met Kirstie Lovelady and Them Dirty Roses.  Just as the song’s message is about doing things, your way, not the way everyone else does it, this video follows that message.

When I talked to Kirstie yesterday, I told her “No one has done it this way, because they have been waiting on YOU to do it”.  This video was shot at GetFit615 and Music City Boxing and the locations could not tell the story any better than Kirstie and James do in the song writing.  The guys were lucky to have the video directed by Preston Leatherman who took the vision and brought it to life.

I cannot say enough good things about the first cut “Head On” from Kirstie Lovelady’s new EP “Weeds”.  The video is a clear portrayal of the fight to be your own artist, in your own way, in your own time, and feeling that strong about being you and not someone who the industry expects.

I hope that CMT and GAC will pick the video up and give their viewers the opportunity to see what a total badass, rocking lady looks like and how awesome Them Dirty Roses are and the void they will in fill in music today.

Give it a listen, call your radio stations, and music channels and let’s get this some airplay.  I love they did this their way.

Lyrical Lists – Imprint

Sometimes I am lucky to see a band perform live and ask them for an interview, other times I am trolling the internet to see what acts are promoting themselves on the music pages.  The next band I am presenting to you guys is one that I found one late night of trolling.  Imprint is full on, in your face rock and roll.  These guys brought out the inner-metal head in me.  I listened to 3 songs and sent an email to the band.  I had to know more about them and hopefully share them with my readers.  Well lucky for you and me, these guys were happy to talk to me about the band, their music, and the future of Imprint.

Imprint is from Alcoa, TN and have been together since the Spring of 2003.  The band is made up of Lones Lynn with killer lead vocals, Heath Devine shredding the electric guitar, Allen Burnete killing it on bass, Doug Jones smashing it up on drums, and Chris Gaumond adding more spicy flare to electric guitar.  The band is comprised of guys that were playing in other bands and were all looking for that “special sound” they were not getting in other bands.  Once the band members found each other, the sound and their ideas just meshed well.  The band told me that they had a song written within the first hour that they were together.  After that, the band was able to push out a song a week for the first month and half.  They were able to add Chris into the current line-up of the band.  They told me that “Chris filled a hole” and added the flare.  Allen, on bass, is the newest member of the band and at the time of our interview was getting ready to play his first live show with Imprint.

Imprint plays all originals at their shows and the crowds are growing.  “Of course, you always want more”, the band told me.  Imprint really enjoys the crowd and their response while they are on stage playing.  They are seeing 100% crowd participation and they are “Digging It”.  They have shows coming up outside of the Knoxville area to show that they are not just your average Knoxville band.

I asked Imprint if they are seeing a need or a missing hole for the rock sound.  They told me that they “want to be true to themselves”.  “Rock and Roll is about putting your heart and soul into a song.”   Imprint doesn’t want to be the band that is “doing what everyone else is doing”.  The influences of the band are all over the map including Iron Maiden, Dio, Dokken, The Ramones, and several punk rock bands.  That is what Imprint feels makes their sound so unique to the band.  Doug told me that he plays the drums like he hates them but knows that you don’t always have to play a 100 beats a minute to provide a quality sound.  They are providing the listeners an option and it is an option that I am glad to have!

One thing that impressed me about the band the most is that as you get into the heavier metal type of music, you get a distorted sound and the lyrics are very hard to understand.  Imprint has clear and concise lyrics that are easy to hear and understand.  I was able to start singing along to the songs after a few days.  The band told me that was exactly what they like to hear.  They said, “We look forward to the day when they hear the crowds over their vocals”.  It has happened once in a different band and they said it makes you play harder and it is the biggest rush ever.  They attribute that to the punk influences like The Ramones.

I love that they are not a musician’s band.  They define themselves finding a riff and just going off on that.  They don’t need to play 1 million beats a minute to be “in your face Rock and Roll”.  That lead into a conversation about the song writing process.  “Every song has a story and it is my job to that story to life”, Lones told me.  The song writing is truly collaborative.  One member may have a beat or a guitar riff down and lyrics come around that or lyrics come in and the music shapes around the lyrics.  Some songs come together really quickly and “you are not sure where that came from”.

Imprint is in the process of getting their EP together and have 9-10 songs that are ready for CD.  When you are listening to the music on ReverbNation, you will now hear more flavor with Chris’ guitar and are even more full.  Of course I had to ask about my favorite song, “A Prayer For the Hopeless”.  The song means different things to different people but was originally written to show that change starts from within and to change the world you have to look at yourself.  Imprint jokingly told me that it was their “Man in the Mirror”.  I would also like to mention that “Lucy’s Song” and “Monsters Like Us” are on heavy rotation on my playlist but there isn’t a band song that I can find.  Be sure to check the ReverbNation link to hear and appreciate Imprint.

Coming up for the year the band wants to get release a new CD, new merchandise, and more shows.  Imprint is looking to grow as a band and not just be known as your “local band”.  Taking steps to being in front of as many people as possible is the focus for the Imprint and I am hoping that is a reality that happens soon.  They have a great charity show coming up soon.  If you are interested in seeing them in Knoxville, you can attend Hydrocephalus Awareness Rock Concert (HARC 2015),Saturday, May 16 at 8:00pm,Open Chord Brewhouse & Stage in Knoxville, Tennessee.  The band will also be in Ashville, NC in June.  You can get a full schedule on the ReverbNation link I have listed below.  Maybe, just maybe, we can get these guys here in my hometown in Georgia.

Imprint on Facebook:

Imprint on ReverbNation:

Lyrical Lists- Them Dirty Roses

What can I say about this next band? I heard them on the Pepsi On The Rise tour as it made its final stop in Rome, Ga.  Their sound was a complete throwback to my preteen and teenage years, yet it was fresh and new.  The band I am talking about is a 4 member band from Gadsden, AL called Them Dirty Roses.  The guys have been friends for most their lives, went to high school together, and now all live together in Nashville, TN.  Them Dirty Roses are made up of 4 colorful, wonderful, and southern charming guys: Ben Crain, James Ford, Frank Ford, and Andrew Davis.  They have been together only a year and half and have one of the bests sounds that I have heard in a very long time.  They have a sound, showmanship, and electrifying stage show well beyond the time the band has been together.  I can honestly say that this band has whatever “it” is.  Every time I play their EP to someone, they automatically want to know who they are and where can they find more music.

Them Dirty Roses has a strong Southern Rock sound that has been lacking in the music industry since the late 1970’s.  Their influences range from The Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker Band, Black Crowes, Grand Funk Railroad, Otis Redding, The Allman Brothers, and many others.  Though they have a sound influenced by many but you really can’t compare them to anyone but Them Dirty Roses.  Their stage show is engaging, in your face, and non-stop energy from start to finish.  I cannot praise this band enough.  They are one of the most talented bands that I have come across.  If you ask Them Dirty Roses how they would classify their music they would say “southern roots rock and roll”.  They are trying paint a picture with their music and take you back to a “time when music was important”.  One of the coolest things they told me about their goals with their sound was to take you back to when music was “a movement”. “Music was Facebook, Twitter, and text messages.”  They just want to make music that tells a story and go back to the roots of music from decades ago.

When going through the song writing process, the range is all over the place.  It comes from someone humming a tune, a chord or musical progressions, anything.  The song writing comes from having something to say and telling story.  The intent when making their first EP was making something that you just want to put in the CD player and let it play.  They are all about the old school way of promotion of hanging the flyers, word of mouth, calling venues, and letting the hype of the band grow organically.   They told me that social media is a great avenue to promote the band, but there is nothing better than to “have someone in your face, telling you what you missed by not being at the show”.  Word of mouth is the best way to grow your band.

We talked at length about bands not playing Southern Rock anymore.  They are seeing some small pockets of radio play but they feel that there is a great need and they are filling that hole.  YouTube has been a great way for bands these days, but playing shows non-stop is still the best way to grow the fan base and that radio will catch up.

They have seen a great increase in the band’s name since being on the Pepsi On The Rise Tour.  They feel that the tour has been a great learning experience.  They are able to do music fulltime.  Them Dirty Roses will be joining many other bands at the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam and will be opening for Miranda Lambert.  I am in hopes that the readers of Lyrical Lists by Layla will also help get the name, Them Dirty Roses out there as well.  We know that Southern Rock is not dead and these guys are bringing that sound back.  I love that they are unapologetic of being “in your face.

The best way I can describe the live show is a full set of balls to the wall music, with hair slinging, crowd interaction, and unbridled fun.  They truly have a good time and are high energy.  Their goal is to make people to forget everything but the music for the length of their set and “dance like no one is watching”  Them Dirty Roses will continue to play their music and know that eventually radio will catch up.  They will always be true to their sound and the fans will show up.  Them Dirty Roses and I agree that there is a huge need for their music and have plugged into the hole that is missing.  Southern Rock is a staple of music that appeals to the working class that want to rock out after a long week a work.  It is a distinctive sound and Them Dirty Roses are true, new ambassadors to the sound.  Them Dirty Roses are writing, recording, and performing music that are the type of songs that will stand the test of time and not just be a splash in pan.  I told the band that I can hear, in their sound, that this will be the music that we are singing in 2015 and will be singing in 2045.

So we can expect Them Dirty Roses to be here a while and leave their mark.  They are wanting to bring the soul back to music and make good music.  If Rock and Roll is trying to roll over, Them Dirty Roses is here to bring the fun vibe, roll your window down, and jam out rock back.  Them Dirty Roses refuse to let Rock and Roll lay down and fade away.  The guys are going to be constantly touring, recording new music, and continue bringing Southern Rock to a town near you.  I have linked a couple of my favorite songs, ways to find out more information on the band, and their social media.  Like I said, these guys are one of my favorites that I have ever interviewed and one that is a daily play in my song list.  You can purchase Them Dirty Roses’ EP on I Tunes now.



You Tube Channel:

“Shake It”:

“Cocaine and Whiskey” Live:

Lyrical Lists – Kirstie Lovelady

What do you get when you combine Johnny Cash and Steven Tyler? Did I mention it is packaged in a 5’2 dynamite ready to explode on stage? You get Kirstie Lovelady.  This 24-year-old, ass kicking, in your face, rocking country singer from Nashville, Tennessee is blazing a trail all HER own.  I capitalized the word HER because this is only my second blog about a female singer and wow did I find a good one.  I recently met Kirstie at the Pepsi On The Rise Tour as it made its final stop in Rome, GA this past weekend.  I didn’t know of Kirstie until that night, but I will admit that she left an impression on me that was more than a breath of fresh air.  In a genre of music that has been coming under attack for not being “country” enough (whatever that means) and dominated by men, I find this wonderful young woman, doing her thing and hanging with the boys just fine. Kirstie Lovelady and I share something in common, people can’t seem to pronounce our names correctly.  I will help her by sharing that it is K-IR-stie, She will answer to variations but remember that you are pronouncing the “I” before the “R”.  Also, Lovelady is her real last name.  After the time I spent with her Saturday, a few text exchanges, and talking with her yesterday, I don’t think she knows how to be anything but 100% real!

Kirstie was born into a family that lived originally in Louisiana, but moved to Nashville when she was in 1st grade.  Her father is in the music industry and Kirstie told me she decided that she wanted to be a singer since she was a kid.   Kirstie’s dad, Rendy Lovelady, is in the music industry and she jokes about going to “bring your kids to work day” and knew that was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.  Kirstie’s parents were supportive of her decision to make music her career.  When she told them, they only gave her a couple pieces of advice. Kirstie’s parents told her, “That’s great! You can be a performer when you graduate college.”  Rendy also told Kirstie that she needed to write her own songs.  Kirstie finished Belmont College in Nashville with a business degree in 3 1/2 years and started her career immediately.  I asked her did she play a lot of gigs when she was in college, and she told me that she played shows, interned at a publishing house, got familiar with the business side of the business, and wrote songs.  She started assembling her band and has not looked back.

Kirstie is a dominating force on the stage.  She is captivates the audience and makes you not want to turn your head away from the performance.  She is rocking the crowd and letting them know that is one girl who is ready to play and even out perform the boys.  I asked Kirstie what it is like being a female in the country music scene that has been dominated recently by males.  Kirstie does find that it is hard to break into the industry as a female.  She said that she “isn’t Carrie Underwood or Miranda Lambert. They have a place in music.”  Kirstie feels that if she follows her heart”, plays her “rocking country”, and prays, her music will be accepted and be loved.  Kirstie says she can only be true to who she is and she thinks the fan base will continue to grow.  Kirstie wants to leave her mark on the music world by writing good songs, with real lyrics, and entertaining the audience.  She has a voice that draws you in from the first word.  Kirstie Lovelady will be built upon live performances and writing good songs.  If radio comes along, that is great.  Kirstie told me “I am not going to write a song because radio says it has to be played this way.  She loves to take the stereotypes that come along with being a female, especially in the country world, and prove everyone wrong.  She feels that her country rock sound is something that no one is doing right now.  It makes her set apart.

I love to know who influences a person, so I asked Kirstie about her influences.  Kirstie will quickly tell you that her biggest influences are Johnny Cash and Steven Tyler.  She grew up listening to Shania Twain, Trisha Yearwood, and Garth Brooks.  More recent artists that she is inspired by include Eric Church.  You can see all of these influences in her music but there is also something very organic about what she is doing.

I talked to Kirstie about her song writing style.  She said writing a song is so personal.  She also added “it could be about a boy, being pissed off, song writing is my place to vent.”  Her songs come about while she trying to figure something out be it a boy, life, family, etc.  Sometimes she can be driving down the road and start recording it into the phone.  “I think that is what is so beautiful about song writing, there is no right or wrong way to do it.”

I asked Kirstie that since she has been on the Pepsi tour, has she noticed more people knowing her or has she seen an increase in her followings on social media and crowds coming to see just her.  She told me a couple of really cute stories about the tour.  She said she was talking to a couple at the show in Rome and they told her that they drove 6 hours to see her because this was as close as Kirstie gets to them.  She also talked about being in the restroom at a show in West Virginia.  She heard two girls at the mirror, putting their makeup on, and talking.  Kirstie heard one of them say, “I hear this tour is good.” The other said “have you heard of this girl before?  I heard this girl on the tour is really awesome.”  Kirstie said that she wanted to go up to them and say, “That’s ME!”

Kirstie is making plans for the rest of the year.  She is going to be in the studio and start working on some new music.  Then she is doing a summer tour with Beau James.  Then she has Gulf Coast Jam where she will be opening for Keith Urban in Panama City Beach, FL.  Gulf Coast Jam is September 4-6, 2015 and will feature many artists over the 3 days of the festival.   Then she will get started with the fall tour schedule with Them Dirty Roses.  She will also be working on recording and shooting a video for “Bad for You”, which is a duet featuring James Ford from Them Dirty Roses. and recording it in the studio.  She isn’t going to take a lot of time off.  She wants to stay out and playing show. because she just wants to be on the stage.

Now that the article is coming to an end, I want you go to I Tunes, search Kirstie Lovelady, and buy her EP.  This is one rocking country chick that is going to be a force in the music industry for a long time.  I don’t think Kirstie will just have her foot in the door because I see her kicking the door off the hinges.  I love this girl and I know you will too.  I have a few links below to Kirstie’s social media, website, and links to a few songs.