Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wrenwood hits their stride with new EP, Wrenwood Live

Wrenwood Live is the new 3-song EP from Charleston-based King City Records act, Wrenwood. Recorded during a live session at Ocean Industries Studios on April 20, 2013, the EP is now available for purchase at the band's live shows and on Amazon and iTunes.

Opening with a kazoo solo and the feverish guitar work of Dan Rainey, the first track on Wrenwood's new EP , "Apples and Oranges", would be right at home on the Squirrel Nut Zippers record Hot. If your head isn't bobbing and your foot isn't slapping the floor, someone needs to check you for a pulse. With its hot jazz vibe, it's easy to lose yourself in this song about a pair of uniquely matched lovers. "Whiskey and water / bourbon and Coke / I bring the laughter / you bring the jokes / Send me a signal / it's time to go / Hiding in the afterglow," Corbett sings in her best Tin Pan Alley trill. The flip to a half-time tempo at the end is a brilliant move - it gives the song some room to breathe, while showcasing Rainey's impressive guitar finger work. 

Equally impressive are the talents of Rainey's band mate and girlfriend, Dallas Corbett. She picks up the guitar and plays rhythm; she also plays bass. She's even been known to shake a mean tambourine. But here, it is Corbett's voice that steals the spotlight. Singing with a maturity beyond her twenty-six years, this modest frontwoman leads the band through the beautiful and heartbreaking "Cheap Shots". With a voice that is at once smoky and yet smooth and elegant as honey, Corbett will have you believing that this is an old country classic, with its tender word play and pedal steel. Wrenwood really hits its stride with this one, and while I would be remiss in categorizing them as a "country" band, this crooner is definitely the pinnacle of the Live EP.

The last song on the disc, "Somethin' Special", transports listeners to the wooden stage of a gritty roadhouse. The chugging bass and punchy drum fills keep a rock steady beat, while Rainey's searing guitar cuts through the inevitable smoke in the air; his solo near the two-minute mark is classic rock n roll. And Corbett gives another stellar performance, this time channeling the likes of Alannah Myles with her throaty beckon to "Just gimme somethin' special."

While the brevity of Wrenwood Live leaves me wanting more, it is perfect in that it allows every facet of Wrenwood to shine. As songwriters, the band has really come into its own, and I'm eager to hear what Wrenwood's future holds.

Find Wrenwood online:
w ~
f ~
r ~

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The summer of electro-funk duo, Stereo Reform

Greenville duo Stereo Reform has been getting a lot of attention lately, from a major electronic drum endorsement and high honors at the Music Video Asheville Awards, to getting their own Pandora station and participating in an innovative music and graphic arts festival later this summer. They are bringing their "Dance-a-Funk-a-Rock-a-Tronic" sound to The Pour House this Saturday, July 19th ($8, doors at 9p), and took some time to talk with us about what it's like to be an electronic band in the folk-heavy South.

RnR: Big things have been happening for Stereo Reform lately. The group was recently endorsed by electronic drum company Pintech USA, and Stereo Reform now has its own station on Pandora Radio. Tell me about the process for getting onto Pandora, and what this and the Pintech endorsement mean for the group.
SR: The process of being considered for Pandora starts with a simple submission. We submitted our album, The Future Started Yesterday, in late 2013. They reviewed the album and in a very short time (around six weeks), accepted our submission! This is very rare given that we aren't on a label and are nearly completely independent. We were very excited. A musicologist then picked our songs apart (which took a few months), looking for 450 specific features and then they put us out there. Being on Pandora is extremely beneficial to a band like us because we could pop up on an untold number of other, more established artists' stations. Giving us a thumbs up tells Pandora to have us pop up on even more stations, more often! It's exciting to see Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Capital Cities, Daft Punk and more, pop up on our station.

Pintech USA is the premiere company for electronic drums, kits, cymbals, pads and more. They sponsor drummers for the likes of Elton John, Nine Inch Nails, ZZ Top, No Doubt, Hootie & the Blowfish, Beyonce and many more. A few months ago, they made it known that they liked what we are doing and appreciated our sound so the extent that they chose to sponsor us. It's an honor to be included on a roster that can claim such successful and talented artists. From here on they will help us continue to "up" our live electronic percussion possibilities. Anyone that has seen us live knows we love to have a 3-man drum solo at least one time per show... Pintech is about to help us turn it into something very, very special. We are excited about our future working with them.

RnR: Stereo Reform's most recent album, The Future Started Yesterday, was released in May of 2013 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. All of the tracks are available on the group's website for a "name your price" download. Did you decide on this option as a way to give back to the fans for helping with teh Kickstarter, or was there another motivation?
SR: The decision to go with "name your price" is really a Thank You to everyone that loves music in general. On iTunes you can get our album for around ten dollars, but offering it for whatever you feel on our site will hopefully drive more folks to purchase from us directly, which can increase their interest in us as a band and as people. We love to meet new people. If you only have one dollar and want to buy music, that dollar is just as good as any other amount. Music is ultimately priceless and if a price has to be put on it, we would rather the consumer do so in a way that makes the most sense for them...even if that price is zero. We don't mind giving our music to anyone willing to listen. By lending an ear to what we have to offer, they are gifting us just as much as we are them.

RnR: Do you guys write songs together, or is there a main songwriter?
SR: We don't ever complete a song without consulting one another. We will both have music ideas and may write or record some, half or most of a song, but before it's said and done we both add our own ideas to make it a Stereo Reform song. Lyrically, the dynamic has always been that Neil handles in that sense, there is kind of an established lyricist, but both Will and Neil seal up all songs together.

RnR: The Future Started Yesterday has been getting a lot of attention. It was one of the big winners at the Seventh Annual Music Video Asheville Awards, with your self-produced video for "Fire" winning the People's Choice award and Best Editing award. Tell me about that experience.
SR: "Fire" was a project that took several months of writing and preparation. Shooting and post-production took a total of three more months. Since it was a self-produced video, there was a huge amount to be done by only a couple people (just check out the credits). Once it was finished we had a release party and took a few days to relax. We submitted to the MVA Awards and were accepted. We showed up to red carpet treatment which was neat. After screening the videos, the voting took place. Once the awards started going out we were nominated for several...Best Cinematography, Best Song, Best Wardrobe and Best Editing. After we won Best Editing, which was a big honor because it was a beast to edit, we thought that would be the end of us receiving awards, but it wasn't. We won People's Choice which was the top honor and came with a cash prize. It felt so good to walk up there and thank everyone. It was a very reassuring experience. We felt like we aren't crazy for doing what we do. And it created excitement for the future. What will the next video be like? It felt wonderful. This was our first real attempt at making a video and we learned a great deal. We have also been accepted to the Sprockets Music Video Festival in Athens, Georgia! They will be showing "Fire" at the 40 Watt this Friday night, July 18th. We are, again, very honored to have been selected to take part in such an event.

RnR: When people talk about the Southeast music scene, most think of the folk and Americana acts that have been gaining in popularity - and number - in recent years. But there is also a rising tide of electronic and experimental pop music, such as Michael Flynn and Mechanical River, and of course Stereo Reform. What has your experience been like when you play in cities such as Charleston, Charlotte, Atlanta?
SR: The experiences are varied, but the response is usually positive. It seems that many cities have particular venues that cater to music more in line with what we do. A great number of venues do have primarily rock, country, cover and Americana acts, but then there are those that are more diverse. There, we seem to always make new fans and friends. We would lie to play those places more often. Many of the venues that embrace what we do are also higher profile and book more national and international acts, which means it's tougher to get on the bill, but not impossible by any means. The Pour House is one of those places and we absolutely love it and Alex (Harris, Owner of The Pour House) for all they do to promote social and musical diversity. 

RnR: What are the Top 3 favorite venues that Stereo Reform has played? What are the group's Top 3 "Wish List" venues?
SR: We love playing Fly Me To The Moon Saloon in Telluride, Colorado (phenomenal venue and town); it was great playing the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood (mostly for its rich history); and The Pour House will always be a favorite venue for us. Man...Wish List venues... Well, Red Rocks is definitely on there. The Tabernacle would be great. The Brooklyn Bowl would be awesome as well. But big festivals are kind of the top of our dream list at the moment.

RnR: How did you enjoy performing at last month's Solust Music Festival? I understand the group will also be performing at Nershfest in August, an all-streaming graphic arts festival. What are you looking forward to at Nershfest, and how do you anticipate that experience being different from Solust?
SR: Solust was a lot of fun. The production for the event was top notch. I could see it becoming a very big draw for Charleston in years to come. Nershfest is super unique. It's a streaming music festival, first and it's basically a giant party with music split into "sets", just like a festival would be. They added in the visual arts element and are ultimately trying to achieve a full festival atmosphere. If it continues to do well it will likely become a full-on live music festival at some point. We are happy to be a part of something so unique. They reached out to us and we feel we have made a strong positive connection with the production team. We can't wait to see how it goes!

RnR: Musicians often cite their favorite or most influential artists; instead, we would like to know what are some of your guilty listening pleasures?
SR: This is a great question! So these are pretty much artists you might jam out to in your car until you come to a red light...and then quickly mute or change it up, haha. For Will, it would probably be...Katy Perry. Lady Gaga. Iggy Azalea. "F*#@ her for putting out the 'Fancy' song," Will says. NKOTB! Kenny Loggins...

For Neil, some are...Katy Perry. Snow. "Informer...a ticky toky bicky boom a bayo, a licky boom boom down!" Wham! actually had some good tunes! Michael McDOnald. Some Madonna. Devo. Even some Cranberries, haha. Bruno Mars is definitely on the list as well...I'm just gonna go ahead and say that little dude is damn good. Guilty pleasures are always a good time!

Find Stereo Reform online...
T: @StereoReform

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Music Industry According to Travis Groo

Travis Groo is a veteran of the music industry across the Southeast, serving time as a booking agent, manager, and now as the head of Music and Marketing for Autumn + Colour, an Atlanta-based indie label. A+C has quickly grown from a grassroots music label to a multi-platform business, continuing their musician services while also offering manuscript publishing and film making.

The Music Industry According to Travis Groo

Being involved in the music industry in one facet or another over the past 15 years, I have seen and learned a lot. One thing that really stands out is that it hasn't really changed all that much, or at least not in the mindset of the people involved. It's trying to change, it really is. We're in the twilight zone as far as the evolutionary cycle of business goes. What used to work doesn't work anymore, and it's having a really tough time evolving. A large majority of the people running the show are operating on a 50+ year old business model that's not relevant, but they think it is. Unless an artist is super desperate, it's not even worth entertaining this old model. Making "killer profit" on music isn't happening anymore. What is working is giving away free music in exchange for true fans. No artist can do anything without fans, and I'm not talking about friends and family, although they are important supporters. 

Artists still think that they will make tons of money on their songs because some of their favorite artists seem to be, and to be fair, very few of them are doing quite well. Unless you're in the top 2% of sales, trust me it's not big money, not enough to pay rent on a decent place. It definitely can't support a family. It's a rat race for the artists that most likely they will never win. It's much worse than the corporate world, because at least there's money to be made there. Even the artists at the top are making less than ever before, because people aren't buying music like they did even five to ten years ago. Labels still think it's a good idea to pay for the recordings, tours, artwork, PR, advertisements (none of which are very cheap), and keep 100% of whatever profits come in, thinking they might have found the next Bon Jovi. As if this was a good investment? I don't think so! All this does is create an unrealistic dependence on labels to do everything for the artists, thus creating really lazy musicians. It's a really poor business model that is hopefully falling apart. What is working is a business  model that is artist-friendly and that streamlines the fan base, thus creating bigger crowds and more merchandise sales. Give the artist 100% of their music sales, it's their songs. The profit margin on non-music related items such as t-shirts, hats, beer koozies and sunglasses are much higher anyway. The music is just a marketing tool. The merchandise table needs to be overflowing with new products. 

This approach of owning the music and owning the artists needs to go away. I've even pondered if music should even be sold at all, and if so, for what price...and why? Work ethic goes out the window because really they have nothing invested in the making of their album except for time and passion, and unfortunately you can't put a dollar value on that. If all there is to the industry is money, then what's the use for passion? If any of you know me very well, I do like to pick on bands a little too much. Not all bands, just the ones that make everyone mad by their ridiculous requests. I think some of you know what I'm talking about. At the same time, labels, managers, booking agents, venues and publicists have made some pretty outlandish requests as well, one being the whole "Go out there and be the greatest D.I.Y. band you possibly can, so that you make us look better" thing. I'm actually a huge supporter of the D.I.Y. model, but every serious band needs a good team around them to help guide and support their decisions, without getting too deep into their pockets and taking from every point of profit. I tell artists all the time that they can get a much better R.O.I. by going to their own bank and taking out a loan and paying for everything they need than they will by signing to a major label or an indie. They will be broke for a long time doing if the old fashioned way. What is working is artists who work hard, tour hard and pay for their own recordings and keep their profits, which brings a strong level of ownership to their work. Nobody gets in their way when they're on this path. Watch out for a band who put their blood, sweat and tears into their products - they are unstoppable. 

With all of this said, I know I'll step on some toes here, but it won't be the first or last time. It doesn't stop here. Because of the entitlement program that the industry has developed, artists feel that they deserve some kind of popularity that they didn't earn, and really can't handle. Just because someone puts out a new album, it doesn't entitle them to press: reviews, interviews, front page features, etc. If there's no real movement then nobody really cares to take the time to talk to you or write about you. All in all, in the end it's the ones with the most money that win. This is a sad reality, but it's true. It's very expensive to be involved in the music industry, and if you don't absolutely love it, then please do something else. Don't have a "gimme gimme attitude either, because that's the quickest way to be shut down immediately. What is working is giving stuff away and being thankful for everyone who has ever helped out in any way, or is currently helping to reach goals. The quickest way to promotion is having gratitude. Try it, it works! 

"Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character." ~ Albert Einstein

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Red Honey rocks Charleston with a week of shows

Hailing from the hills of Asheville, Red Honey is an electrifying 4-piece and they're kicking off a string of Charleston shows this week with a performance at the Awendaw Green Barn Jam on Wednesday, June 25th.

A little bit country, a little bit rock n roll, Red Honey is led by fiery front woman Erika Jane, who has been making a name for herself across the Southeast as a bold and bluesy torch singer. Brad Pope (lead guitar), Jarrod Perkins (drums) and JP Hess (bass) fill out the sound, which the band has described as "the secret love child of Johnny Cash and Grace Slick." The foursome recently ordered a second pressing of their debut EP, Red Honey and the Pleasure Chest, and took time out of their busy schedule to talk with us and answer a few questions. 

RnR: Is this Red Honey's first Charleston show? If not, how often does the band get to Charleston, and how did you get hooked up with the Barn Jam?
RH: This isn't our first Charleston show. We aim to get to Charleston about every three months or so. We were introduced to Eddie White and Wade Malloch [with Awendaw Green] by our friend and musician, Pierce Edens. He spoke really highly of how much love and community surrounds Awendaw Green Barn Jams and how well they are put together. They have been incredible to us. Coincidentally, our lead guitarist Brad Pope mowed the lawn there for years before the Jams began.

RnR: The band's website states that the first Red Honey EP has been recorded and mastered; has an anticipated release date been set? Where will fans be able to purchase and/or download the EP?
RH: We actually did a very quiet release of our album, Red Honey and the Pleasure Chest, in October of last year. We only sold the albums at shows, not digitally at all - an underground release as we've been entertaining the idea of singing to a label... We sold out of albums in three months (it's wild). We've just ordered more and will have them for sale at these shows. Red Honey and the Pleasure Chest will most likely be online and available for download in the new moon but we've got to check on Mercury before we make any anything online, that is.

RnR: There has been a big boom of strong female singers emerging from Charleston (Rachel Kate, Jordan Igoe, Lily Slay, Lindsay Holler - to name a few). How are things in the Asheville community?
RH: We've heard good things about the women of Charleston. We've seen a girl named Danielle Howle when we've been [here]. She could howl. I wonder if she knows Lindsay Holler!?!?!? The Asheville community is very much a community and there are some amazing ladies. Every year, we put on a festival that showcases the very best of what is emerging out of the Asheville music scene with a few of our friends, called DIGFest ( Last week we released this year's line up - check it out! It takes place on August 22nd and 23rd this year. 

RnR: The Southeast circuit has grown to be very supportive of its regional sister cities and touring acts.  What are the best things about going on tour? What are the worst? 
RH: The best things about going on tour? We love the people you meet and the adventure of the road. Just last week we met a Wildman named YaYa who had all sorts of wisdom from his years of catching trains that he wanted to share with us. We would also like to note that we'd love to have a Bigfoot encounter. It's a goal and it drives us. Gas station impulse buys are a good part, too. The worst? JP never wants to stop to let anyone pee while we're on the highway.

RnR: Do you guys write together as a band, or is there a main songwriter among the group?
RH: As of right now, Erika is handling the brunt of the pen duties. And she does a fine job at that. I think Erika not only has a unique flavor for words, but also the decisions she makes in the construction of her songs really starts to pile up the goodness. We're working on new material, though, and we're excited to see what we'll come up with. We have a saying in the band, "Gunna Get 'Em Wild", and it is certain that we will continue to keep that idea in the forefront of the process.

RnR: What are the Top 3 favorite venues that Red Honey has played? What are the band's Top 3 "Wish List" venues?
RH: Top three? We've played? That's hard. Umm...probably Snug Harbor in Charlotte (Benji Hughes played with us), the Orange Peel in Asheville and the Barn Jam at Awendaw. I love miniature animals and the pygmy goats run amok there...but there's so many shows that have been wildly amazing for all sorts of different reasons. Wish list? Well, we're proud to play any place they'll have us! I would definitely put Red Rocks on the Wish List, though. Ha. And  maybe on a big ass boat. Or a Virgin mega plane. Or anywhere in Europe or Japan. 

RnR: Singers and musicians often cite their favorite or most influential artists; so instead, we would like to know what are some of your guilty listening pleasures?
RH: Guilty listening pleasure includes Olivia Newton John, Neil Diamond, Outkast, Willie, Wayon, Yoakam, Dolly, RL Burnside...Milli and Vanilli.

You can catch Red Honey around Charleston this week at the following shows:

Wednesday - June 25
Awendaw Green Barn Jam @ 4853 US 17 North
6p ~ $5

Thursday - June 26
The Mill @ 1026 E. Montague Avenue
10p ~ FREE

Friday - June 27
Palmetto Brewery @ 289 Huger Street
early show
Home Team BBQ (SI) @ 2209 Middle Street
10p ~ FREE

Saturday - June 28
Chico Feo @ 122 East Ashley Avenue
?p ~ $?

{ Photo by EarthMusic }

We're BACK!

Hello, friends and fans!

The RnR blog has been on a bit of a hiatus as our writers tended to some personal business, but we're back on board and it's time to get this thing fired back up! Be on the lookout for new album reviews, band interviews, upcoming show promos and lots more! 

Thanks to everyone for sticking with us ~ it's going to be a kick-ass summer!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Loners Society sign to Autumn + Colour Records

January 10, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Loners Society sign to Autumn + Colour Records!

Watch the King City Sessions promo video

We are extremely excited to announce that Loners Society have signed with Atlanta, GA/Raleigh, NC-based independent label, Autumn + Colour Records. (View the official press release.

Autumn + Colour will be releasing the next Loners Society record, King City Sessions, on Tuesday, February 11th!  Pre-order for King City Sessions begins on January 21st, and when you pre-order the album, you will receive the first single, "LaGrange", instantly!

In celebration, Autumn + Colour will be discounting EVERYTHING in their store 15% today (1/10/2014) only, when you use the coupon code: ILOVELONERSSOCIETYSo check out their site and stock up on some A+C merchandise on the cheap from Loners Society!

King City Sessions was recorded on Saturday, April 20, 2013, at Ocean Industries Studios in the band's hometown of Charleston, South Carolina.

"We put together a bill of good bands (Wrenwood and Tyler Boone also joined Loners Society on the bill)," says Loners Society's Matt Megrue, "got a bunch of beer, and invited a small group of our close friends and fans out.  It was a really special night for us for so many reasons: the crowd was great, it was one of Brian's (former Loners Society drummer) last shows with us, and we put together a set list of songs we don't typically play live.  I'm just so happy we were able to capture the night in the form of an album."

And while most "live" records are typically re-tracked, re-worked, and re-produced with studio technology to the point where the set becomes anything but "live", Megrue says that is not the case with King City Sessions:

"When we took the mixes to Don (McCollister from Nickel & Dime Studios in Atlanta, GA), we wanted to be very careful not to lose the energy and the feel from that night.  So instead of incessantly re-tracking and re-recording, we put our focus into making the best out of what was there.  We wanted this record to truly represent what we sound like if you were to see us live...warts and all."


Live Shows / Autumn + Colour Showcase

On the heels of the King City Sessions announcement, Loners Society will be performing at the Autumn + Colour Showcase in Raleigh on Saturday, January 18th. 

TONIGHT!!! Friday, January 10th
Matt Megrue (Solo, acoustic) 105.5 The Bridge/98X's Acoustic Sunset
The Wreckfish  |  7690 Northwoods Blvd., North Charleston, SC 29406
Show at 5:00pm, FREE

Saturday, January 18th
Loners Society / Autumn + Colour Showcase
Deep South  |  430 S Dawson St., Raleigh, NC 27601
Show at 6:00pm, $5 (tickets) Age 18+

Loners Society

Friday, November 15, 2013

Clear your calendars for ROCKABILLAQUE this Saturday, 11.16!

Fast Cars and Faster Music - Rockabilly meets barbecue at this weekend's inaugural Rockabillaque festival

Charleston is no stranger to themed musical events and other niche gatherings. The world-renowned Spoleto keeps the classical crowd pretty content; the JailBreak series represents the hipster indie scene; beach music and shag festivals can be found in abundance; and the Southern Ground Music and Food Festival has the Americana craze covered. 

But what about a festivus for the rest of us?

Clear your calendars for this weekend's Rockabillaque festival in Park Circle, a rockabilly music and classic car show event that combines some of the best elements of Atomic post-war American nostalgia - a 1950s fashion show, rat rods and restored cars, whiskey tastings, barbecue, and of course, classic rock n roll. 

This all-day event is scheduled to last long into the night, so get your pomade and your livers ready! The classic car show kicks off at 1p and is sponsored by Nostalgia Garage and Creek Rats Kustoms. Trophies will be awarded later in the afternoon for Best of Show, Participants Choice, Longest Distance Traveled, Preservation Class, Best Rad Rod and Best Paint Job. The Exchange Factor is sponsoring a 1950s fashion show at 2pm, featuring custom designs from retro clothing line, Sabrina Michelle. Ten classic beauties will be modeling Sabrina's styles, followed by a pin-up contest at 4pm hosted by Jonny Cosmetics, which will also be providing pin-up makeovers throughout the afternoon. PBR will be on hand, giving away koozies, sweat bands, trucker hats and more, with sale proceeds benefiting The Music Initiative / This is Noteworthy. Whiskey tastings will be provided by Ivy Mountain Distillery, and The Barbecue Joint will be serving up steaming plates of their beloved Park Circle barbecue.

But let us not forget the music. Rockabillaque organizer Simon Cantlon, producer and director behind the nostalgia documentary "The Motels of Route 66", knows a thing or two about good music and hand-picked all of the bands who will be performing. Throughout the day along the street, music will be provided by DJ Greasy Gregg, Whiskey Diablo, Skunk Ruckus (Asheville) and Sean K. Preston and the Loaded Pistols (Baltimore). At 6p, the shows move inside with Pierce Edens (Asheville) playing on the patio at Madra Rua. At 8:30p, The Mad Tea: Krekel & Ami (Asheville) start things up at The Sparrow, followed by surf rockers Jason & the Juggernauts. At 9:30p, get over to The Mill to see one of the Southeast's favorite rockabilly bands, The Defilers, play their first hometown show in close to a year. The Bo-Stevens (Winston-Salem) rounds out that bill, while Carnivalesque and Sean K. Preston wrap the night at The Sparrow.

Admission to Rockabillaque is free, as are all of the daytime performances and events. There is a $10 door charge to see the four acts at The Sparrow, while The Mill and Madra Rua are free. So patch up your leather jacket, tighten those victory curls, and get ready for a solid day packed with food and booze, cool cats and cars, and lots and lots of good ol' rock n roll. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013
East Montague Avenue - Park Circle
1p - 2a

DJ Greasy Gregg (aka, Worship the Sky)