STARS & BARS
Southern Rock Compilation
(Z-Rox) England, 2001
A SOUTHERN ROCK PLANET
If there’s one type of music that is loved the world over, it’s Southern Rock. From its humble beginnings in Jacksonville, Florida; Macon, Georgia; and Spartanburg, South Carolina in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the whiskey soaked, blue collar genre has grown to global proportions, unleashing a wave of proud Southern style bands from West Virginia to Los Angeles to Germany and Poland. Bands who remember with respect those early recordings like At Fillmore East by The Allman Brothers Band; Pronounced by Lynyrd Skynyrd; Where We All Belong by The Marshall Tucker Band; and other great bands like The Charlie Daniels Band, Molly Hatchet, The Outlaws, Point Blank and Grinderswitch.
This year, as our GRITZ Magazine celebrates its fifth anniversary (from its beginnings as a web magazine), one look into the archives shows the breathtaking variety of artists and bands that have contributed to the face of Southern Rock, many of them no longer with us. Who can ever forget Ronnie Van Zant, Steve and Cassie Gaines, Toy and Tommy Caldwell, Duane Allman, Berry Oakley or Allen Woody? But in the light of those sad losses there emerges a brave new world of Southern Rock bands. Groups like Ghost Riders, Rebel Storm and Flatman. Bands filled with Southern style and heartfelt pride over being a part of such a proud musical legacy.
With this compilation, Z-Roxx and Alice’s Records proudly present just a few of the current offerings from around the world. So get a cold one from the fridge, put this disc on the stereo, turn it up to eleven, kick back and enjoy the vibes. And if you feel the urge, let out a loud “Hell yeah!”
ABOUT THE BANDS
Formed in 1973 in Warner Robbins, Georgia, Grinderswitch was one of the pivotal forces to emerge from the original Southern Rock scene around Macon and Capricorn Records. Following the release of their debut album Honest to Goodness, the band hit the road non-stop, touring alongside fellow brothers of the road like The Allman Brothers Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Charlie Daniels Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Built around the powerful guitar work of Dru Lombar and a masterful band that included the late Joe Dan Petty and Steve Miller, Grinderswitch , the original band toured and recorded until 1983. After a break from the road, Lombar formed Dr. Hector and the Groove Injectors, releasing six albums over the next 15 years. After 25 years, a decision was made to reform a new version of Grinderswitch, and the boys were back on the road. “Dixie Flyer” is an all-new, unreleased track . Website: www.grinderswitch.com
Ghost Riders are a new band filled with old Southern souls. From the Hammond B-3 of Barry Rapp (Henry Paul Band) to the screaming guitar of Steve Grisham (The Outlaws), this Florida based bands is one of the very best of the new breed of Southern Rock purists. Their debut album, Fortune Teller, features everything from Outlaws inspired dual leads to smoky Allmanesque B-3.
Michael Buffalo Smith is based in Greenville, SC where he is Publisher of the Southern Rock magazine called GRITZ. He is also a long time songwriter and performer. His fourth album, Southern Lights features the awesome band The Crawlers from Alabama, along with Southern Rock icons Bonnie Bramlett, Tommy Crain, Pete Carr and Johnny Wyker. Smith is already writing songs for a new album due out in 2005, and featuring a wide array of Southern rock legends. Website: www.michaelbuffalo.net
Chigger Red is a power–trio based in California that have a great “Southern Rock meets metal” sound that leaves the audiences begging for more. Imagine a redneck rebel-flag waving Molly Hatchet type band combined with the screaming metal of vintage KISS shows. With three hot albums under their belts, Chigger Red is out there week to week kicking ass and taking names. Website: www.chiggerred.com
Rebel Storm is one of the best Southern Rock bands of the 21st century, no doubt, and the fact that they hail from the other side of the country makes no difference at all. This Washington state based band gives it 110 percent every time the floodlights hit ‘em, as proven on back to back European tours in 2002 and 2003. The guitar of Billy Moss and the bass of Don Swensen are top drawer. Website: www.rebelstorm.com
Southern Rock Allstars are five of the hardest working guys in show business. The band is made up pf Jakson Spires (Blackfoot;) Jimmy Farrar (Molly Hatchet); Dave Hlubek (Molly Hatchet); Jay Johnson (Rossington Band); and Charles Hart (Radio Tokyo). The group tours relentlessly in support of their latest album, Danger Road. After the new album was released, Hlubek was replaced by Duane Roland (also of Molly Hatchet) on guitar. Website: www.southernrock.com
Flatman is one of the hottest Southern rock bands in Germany, performing constantly and giving consistently top-notch performance. Bandleader Stefan Kossman says that his original inspiration was the late great Ronnie Van Zant, which may be why Flatman originally took the stage as a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band. After numerous personnel changes, Flatman hit on just the right combination of good vocals, driving rhythms and dirty slide guitar, recording their critically acclaimed Bottle Of Booze album. Featured here is the previously unreleased “Mama Told Me.” Website: www.flatman-music.de
Savannah, Georgia’s Bounty Hunter was formed in South Carolina in 1982 after touring as backing band for Danny Joe Brown (the former lead singer of Molly Hatchet), Bounty Hunter has toured extensively throughout the southeast and has been the opening act for such groups as Blackfoot, .38 Special, The Outlaws, and Molly Hatchet. Website: www.bountyhunterrock.com
Alligator Stew, based in Los Angeles, California embodies the true Southern spirit, all the way down to the swampy, Louisiana funk that beckons memories of Lynyrd Skynyrd. The band features Gary Jeffries on vocals and guitar; Johnny Andrews on slide and lap steel; T.C. Markle on drums; Doug Richardson on bass; and Eric Larson on pedal steel. The band’s recent live album captures their professional style at its best. Website: www.alligatorstew.com
Blackberry Smoke is a hot new Atlanta-based band signed by Jackyl's Jesse James Dupree. They have just been on tour supporting the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and 38 Special. Their heavy-hitting Southern rock mayhem will have you on your feet, pumping your fist and yelling “Hell yeah.” Website: www.blackberrysmoke.com
Medicine Hat was formed out of the remnants of U.K. rock band 'Mournblade', Fusing their respective roots into the band's hard driving yet emotive genre-defying style. After recording a demo CD in 1993 and playing the London club scene, the band secured a record deal. After several years, and personnel changes, the band continues to perform and record. Recent coups include a 4-track promo video shot & interview for Sky TV, and interview and play for a new track 'Lightnin' for Sky Sports, and a documentary filmed by Image Wizard TV charting the bands' work. Website: www.medicinehat.co.uk
Messenger was founded in Sumter, SC in 1987. The band purchased the former East Avalon Recorders studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and relocated to the area in 2000. The title track from their latest release, Rain, is currently receiving airplay in the Southeast United States and Europe. The band has had the opportunity to open for many national acts as well as playing festivals and fairs in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Website: www.cleardaystudio.com
Dave and Tom Sulentic from South Bend, Indiana, founded The Sulentic Brothers Band in 1993 with the goal of creating a band that concentrated on playing and writing their own music. The Sulentic Brothers have been called "classic rock with a Southern twist." Every member of this band has lived their lives in love with music. Spending their growing up years working on their craft, and then perfecting it together for over a decade, the Sulentic Brothers Band is pursuing their dream with their eyes wide open and their guitars blazing. Website: www.sulenticbrothersband.com
The Road Dawgs are a hard rocking group based in West Virginia that has the soul of the South in their hearts for sure. Produced by Hughie Thomasson (Outlaws/Skynyrd) and Ean Evans, their new album Fire On the Highway, features an outstanding cover of Toy Caldwell's "Can't You See.” Website: www.dawgrock.com
Dukes Nitemare is a blend of Southern Rock ala 38 Special with a tinge of 80's Classic Rock ala (early) Bon Jovi. Hailing from North Carolina, they are a group of seasoned musicians born and bred in the proud South. The band's "southern" flavor comes from their heritage/surroundings and not a marketing ploy. In fact, the band did not bill or promote themselves as a "southern rock band" at all, until after reviewers began applying that label to their sound. Website: www.dukesnitemare.com
-Michael Buffalo Smith Publisher/Editor GRITZ Magazine www.gritz.net