The music scene in the southern US is often pigeonholed as just country, but the South is rapidly diversifying to more than just twangy acoustic. From Arkansas to Virginia, the Bible Belt is producing plenty of up-and-coming bands who are anything but Toby Keith wannabes.
This emerging music scene is being spearheaded by people who have no qualms about making tunes that stand out from the crowd in any region. These bands, playing everything from rock to pop, prove that southern music can mean anything. Prepare for your preconceived ideas about southern music to be shattered, because the fact that they didn’t come from the coasts means you probably haven’t heard of these awesome bands. Your Spotify will soon be filled with more (geographic) diversity than electro-pop duos from Brooklyn.
Tennessean band Colony House can literally bring the house down. Don’t let their Southern charm fool you, they can rock out.
Their tunes are a pleasant mix of heartfelt acoustic and drum heavy, synthesized tracks. But even though their studio albums are excellent, Colony House’s best attribute is their live set.
Recently, they played a sold-out LA show at the Troubadour on Saturday, March 25. The intimate venue briefly installed an LED stage screen for the band, who utilized the tech to elevate their show and make it visually interesting. Despite the Troubadour’s 500 person capacity, Colony House played a set worthy of an arena.
Colony House is trailblazing Nashville’s sprouting indie rock scene. With two albums under their belt, they have the experience and material needed to capture an audience’s attention for hours.
Knox Hamilton is currently supporting fellow southerners, Colony House, on their North American tour. Hailing from Little Rock, Arkansas, Knox Hamilton has set themselves apart from the Arkansan pack with pop-ish, rhythmic tracks like “Work It Out” and “Washed Up Together.”
Their debut album “The Heights” is the soundtrack for every summer roadtrip. Boots Copeland (vocals), Cobo Copeland (drums), and Drew Buffington (guitar) were even able to draw a large number of fans to the Troubadour, despite being openers.
He looks like a lumberjack but Copeland’s vocals are more reminiscent of Mark Foster (Foster the People) than Ray LaMontagne.
In short, Knox Hamilton is playing sunny indie pop that can transport you to summer while you are suffering from the allergies brought on by this year’s Super Bloom.
This band, comprised of Chase Lawrence (vocals), Ryan Winnen (drums), Joe Memmel (guitar) and Zachary Dyke (bass guitar), all met at Belmont University in Nashville. Unlike most Belmont alumni and Tennessean musicians, COIN plays catchy indie pop records.
Their infectious sound is characterized by undisturbed guitars and vocals: a departure from the current trend of strange vocal breaking and lo-fi.
COIN’s newly released singles “I Don’t Wanna Dance” and “Malibu 1992” have elements of synth pop: a slight departure from the guitar heavy sound of their self-titled debut album. Geographical prejudices be damned, COIN makes bangers.
Yes, the majority of southern music is still country, and there’s nothing wrong with country music, but the stereotype of the average southern musician and the music they play is unfair and inaccurate. In the coming years, the independent music scene might be less Los Angeles and more Nashville. Disregarding geography, all of these bands release excellent music and have an even better live set.