Tag Archives: Southern Rock

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- 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.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/themdirtyroses?fref=ts

Website: http://themdirtyroses.com/

You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3kA31jdEgsq7bN3ukqvg5w

“Shake It”: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3kA31jdEgsq7bN3ukqvg5w

“Cocaine and Whiskey” Live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3fO4IfgfmI