Top Ten Southern Rock Albums (Studio)
- Molly Hatchet – ‘Flirtin’ with Disaster’
- Lynyrd Skynyrd – ‘Street Survivors’
- Blackberry Smoke – ‘Little Piece of Dixie’
- The Allman Brothers – ‘Beginnings’
- Eat a Peach – ‘Bound to Shine’
- The Godz – ‘S/T’
- Blackfoot – ‘Marauder’
- Doc Holliday – ‘Rides Again’
- The Outlaws – ‘Diablo Canyon’
- Dickey Betts – ‘Pattern Disruptive
Top Ten Southern Rock Albums (Live)
- Lynyrd Skynyrd – ‘One More from the Road’
- The Allman Brothers – ‘Live from the Fillmore East’
- Molly Hatchet – ‘Live at the Agora Ballroom’
- Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam – ‘V’
- Blackberry Smoke – Homecoming – Live in Atlanta’
- Blackfoot – ‘Highway Song Live’
- The Outlaws – ‘Bring it Back Alive’
- Rossington-Collins Band – ‘Live in Atlanta 1980’
- Black Oak Arkansas – ‘Live! Mutha!’
- ZZ Top – Live in Germany 1980′
LET ME KNOW WHETHER YOU AGREE OR NOT – PLEASE POST ON THE BLOG!
All Words and Photos by: Tony Pijar
Rock, country, blues, gospel, folk, jazz, bluegrass, Texas swing, slide guitars, jam sessions, gentle southern trade winds, hell-raising on Saturday night, church on Sunday…Put this amalgamation in a musical blender and what you get is southern rock. It’s imperative that we start with the two progenitors of the genre; The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
But, first we need to lift up Capricorn Studios/Records, which was located in Macon, Georgia. many point to this label as the first to record a southern rock band (The Allmans). Phil Walden and Frank Fenter started up this independent record company back in 1969. And along with Jerry Wexler from Atlantic Records, Capricorn was born. Throughout the 70s, many southern rock groups recorded there including The Allman brothers, Wet Willie, Hydra, Grinderswitch, Elvin Bishop, The Marshall Tucker Band, Alex Taylor, and Stillwater, to name a few. When I asked renowned author and southern rock aficionado Michael ‘Buffalo’ Smith about the label ‘southern rock’, he replied by saying that it ‘is a misnomer. I believe the term came out of the mouth of Atlantic records guy Jerry Wexler. To me, southern rock is not geographically defined. it’s more of a felling, camaraderie, and spirit.’ While the origins of southern rock are tied to the south, it spans the four corners of the earth nowadays. OK, back to the two bands who started it all; The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
When Duane Allman jammed with Barry Oakley, Dickey Betts, Jaimoe, and Butch Trucks, and then brought in his little brother Gregg, The Allman Brothers Band was formed. They, out of Macon, Georgia, unknowingly, created the blueprint that would be tagged ‘Southern rock’; twin drums, the magical interplay of harmonizing guitars, raspy and gruff vocals, complex time changes, splashes of those Hammond keys, and let’s not forget some of the greatest slide playing ever. With the death of Gregg, The Allman Brothers were over. On March 10, 2020 at Madison Square Gardens, there was one last celebration of the band’s music through The Brothers. Comprised of Jaimoe, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Oteil Burbridge, and Marc Quinones, along with Duane Trucks, Reese Wynans, and Chuck Leavell, they played for over four hours! For essential Allman Brothers listening, I’d start with ‘Beginnings’ and one of the greatest live records ever in ‘Live at the Fillmore East’. With Betts being one of the greatest guitarists ever, you need to look into his solo material, which is every bit as good as the Allmans stuff. I’d jump head-first into Betts’ recordings by getting ‘Pattern Disruptive’ (which introduced the world to a very young Warren Haynes) and ‘Let’s get Together’. Regarding Gregg’s solo recordings, I’d start with his last record from 2017, ‘Southern Blood’, and work backwards.
According to Michael ‘Buffalo’ Smith (Gtitz and Kudzoo Magazines), the term ‘southern rock’ is ‘a bit of a misnomer. I believe the term first came out of the mouth of of Atlantic Records guy Jerry Wexler. To me, southern rock is not really geographically defined. It’s more of a feeling, a camaraderie, and spirit.’ How true! Southern rock flavored groups not only came out of the south, but from other parts of the US and across Europe as well (more on those bands later). That said, Macon and Jacksonville, Florida are the birthplaces of this sub-genre. Lynyrd Skynyrd, from Jacksonville, epitomized southern living. Ronnie Van Zant’s lyrics made the south come alive, especially for those of us who had never been there. The stories he told created a landscape that lifted up the south through songs such as ‘Gimme Three Steps’, ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, ‘Railroad Song’, ‘I’m a Country Boy’, ‘Simple man’, ‘Swamp Music’, and ‘Georgia Peaches’. Skynyrd’s three-pronged guitar attack has influenced countless bands across the all musical genres. Gary Rossington, Allen Collins and Ed King made a formidable trio. When King left, the versatile Steve Gaines adroitly filled in. When Skynyrd reformed and solidified their line-up, Rickey Medlocke and Hughie Thomasson joined Rossington. Mark Matejka came on board after Thomasson left to reform The Outlaws. Once touring resumes, Skynyrd will continue their ‘Last of the Street Survivors Farewell World Tour’. I can’t imagine a world without the incomparable Lynyrd Skynyrd in it. All Skynyrd albums are excellent, but the two that stand above the rest are ‘Street Survivors’ and the seminal live recording ‘One more from the Road’. After the plane crash in October of 1977, there really was no chance for a reunion, especially with Ronnie gone. The Rossington-Collins Band was formed in the late 70s and were led by the great Dale Krantz who sounded like Janis Joplin. She could seduce you with her voice one moment and cut your heart out the next. Her voice is best described as velvet wrapped in barbed wire. RCB released two great albums; ‘Anytime Anyplace Anywhere’ in 1980 and ‘This is the Way’ in 1981. I am not sure why RCB disbanded after two highly successful albums. In any event, Collins formed The Allen Collins Band and released ‘Here There and Back’ in 1983. Besides Collins, the undeniable gem in this band was vocalist Jimmie Doughtery. He was an incredible and highly underrated singer who sadly passed away in 2008. There’s a high-quality bootleg entitled ‘Live at the Lone Star Cafe’ (1983) that all Skynyrd and southern rock fans should seek out. Finally, Johnny and Donnie van Zant found the time to put out several albums with the best, in my opinion, being ‘Brother to Brother’.
Three bands that leaned heavily on country influences while creating and developing their own identifiable sound were the Charlie Daniels Band, the Marshall Tucker band, and The Outlaws. Daniels passed away on July 6, 2020, but left us with some amazing music. This South Carolinian was a musical virtuoso whose band played it all; bluegrass, blues, gospel, soul, and rock. Daniels, perhaps, is most widely known for his many Volunteer Jams. As the Master of Ceremonies, he always put together incredible line-ups with, perhaps, the most memorable being in 1979 when the remaining members of Lynyrd Skynyrd returned to the stage for the first time since the plane crash. It was such a pleasure to see Daniels play back in 2019 as a special guests on Skynyrd’s farewell tour. While Daniels is most famous for his earlier recordings, you should check out the great and rocking ‘Road Dogs’.
The Marshall Tucker Band, another band from South Carolina, were led by Toy and Tommy Caldwell, both of whom are deceased, and vocalist Doug Gray. Gray, as the only original member left, carries on the Tucker name with some stellar musicians including BB Borden and Chris Hicks. ‘Take to the Highway’ and ‘Can’t you See’ continue to get regular airplay on FM stations across the US.
The Outlaws, known as the Florida’s ‘Guitar Army’ due to their three-guitar attack, quickly scored hits with ‘Green Grass and High Tides’, ‘Hurry Sundown’, ‘There goes Another Love Song’, and ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’. Hughie Thomasson, who passed away in 2007, remains one of the greatest guitarists ever. Nowadays, the group is led by Henry Paul and original drummer Monte Yoho. Accompanying Paul and Yoho are guitarists Steve Grisham and Dale Oliver. Collectively, they rejuvenated the band with their latest album, ‘Dixie Highway’ seen as their best since the early days. This, along with 1994’s ‘Diablo Canyon’ are my favorites. Recently, I was sent the unreleased and ‘lost’ Outlaws record, and the last with Thomasson; it is fantastic! You can check out a couple songs on YouTube.
If you like your southern rock on the hard side, then look no further than Molly Hatchet, Blackfoot and, to an extent, Doc Holliday. Jacksonville, Florida’s Molly Hatchet took the three-guitar approach of The Outlaws and Skynyrd and put it into overdrive. While the band’s debut is excellent, they found their stride with ‘Flirtin’ with Disaster’, a southern rock classic if there ever was one. The momentum from the first two recordings was stifled when vocalist Danny Joe Brown (RIP) left the band (or was told to leave). He was the spirit of Molly Hatchet with an incredible stage presence and unique voice. Danny Joe promptly put together the Danny Joe Brown Band and released an incredible self/titled debut in 1981. it introduced the world to current Hatchet guitarist and band leader Bobby Ingram. For my money though, the other guitarist Kenny McVay was better. Danny Joe’s replacement, Jimmy Farrar (RIP), had the pipes, but it wasn’t Danny Joe. As a Hatchet fan, I was totally disappointed with ‘Beatin’ the Odds’ and ‘Take no Prisoners’. Thankfully, Danny Joe was back in 1983 for the ‘No Guts No Glory’ release. With ‘The Deed is Done’, the band hired the great Terry Manning to guide them. He altered their sound a bit and polished it up slightly. However, that familiar Hatchet sound was still locked in. Surprisingly, founding guitarist Steve Holland (RIP) left the band before ‘The Deed is Done’ and was replaced by keyboardist John Galvin. By 1989, guitarist Dave Hlubek (RIP), who drove the group’s sound with his blistering leads, left as well. With 1989’s ‘Lightning Strikes’, only Danny Joe, drummer Bruce Crump, and and Duane Roland (RIP) were left from the original line-up. Bobby Ingram took Hlubek’s place. I can imagine that Hlubek left because the record company demanded that the band bring in outsider composers to contribute material; five of the ten tracks indeed had outside participation. I rememebr seeing Hatchet live in 1995 at Toad’s Place in New Haven, CT. This show preceded 1996’s ‘Devil’s Canyon’ record. It was the new-look Hatchet with only Danny Joe remaining from the original band. One could tell, however, that Bobby Ingram was in the driver’s seat, as he took on all lead guitar parts. Complementing him was future Foghat guitarist Bryan Bassett. Singer Phil McCormack (RIP) hadn’t joined the band yet, but would take over as lead vocalist on the aforesaid ‘Devil’s Canyon’. It was a good, but uneasy show in that Danny Joe was not in good health. During every lead spot, Danny Joe would go behind the wall of amps and receive oxygen. He was gaunt, frail and emaciated. Nonetheless, his voice still sounded amazing. They aired three songs from ‘Devil’s Canyon’, including the title track, ‘Down from the Mountain’ and ‘Rolling Thunder’. Shortly thereafter, Danny Joe suffered a debilitating stroke. In 1999, former Hatchet bassist Riff West (RIP) organized the ‘Jammin’ for DJB benefit concert with a wealth of southern rock musicians, as well as former Hatchet band members joined together to raise money for Danny Joe’s medical bills. The show was recorded and every Hatchet fan should have this album in their collection. Ingram continues to seer the Hatchet ship (Hlubek rejoined for a short while before his untimely death), but under, perhaps, dubious means. It is said that when Danny Joe was very sick, Ingram convinced him to sign the rights to the band and name over to him. That, needless to say, caused consternation amongst the other ex-Hatchet guys including Hlubek and Roland. Since Ingram has overseen the band, they have released six credible studio albums. In 2019, the group introduced their new lead singer Jimmy Elkins through a live recording entitled ‘Battleground’. However, if you really want to see this band in full flight, I’d pick up ‘Live at the Agora Ballroom’.
Blackfoot, also from Jacksonville, released two unspectacular albums, ‘No Reservations’ and ‘Flying High, in 1975-76. Led by the incomparable Rickey Medlocke, the band hit their stride with 1979’s ‘Strikes’. Medlocke, along with Charlie Hargrett, Greg Walker, and Jakson Spires, were a formidable team. ‘Tomcattin’ and ‘Maurader’ followed and solidified Blackfoot as an international act on the rise. Their heavy southern rock sound ingratiated them to fans across the pond in England who were in full embrace of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement that was in full force. In fact, they were so beloved over there that they recorded their first live album, ‘Highway Song Live’, in England in 1982. As the same old story goes, their record company wanted the group to go in a more radio-friendly direction, and in 1983 they added ex Uriah Heep keyboardist Ken Hensley and put out ‘Siogo’ While it had its moments, it was a far cry from their previous three outputs. Subsequently, fans turned their backs on the band. After four poor releases from 1984 through 1994 (with only Medlocke remaining from the original group). With Gary Rossington asking Medlocke to join Skynyrd, that put an end to Blackfoot…That is, until 2016. The new-look Blackfoot , hand-picked by Medlocke, were in place and, subsequently, released ‘Native Son’. Led by Tim Rossi (lead guitar) and Jeff Shields (vocals), the new Blackfoot is quite good! I caught them back in 2019 at the Rock, Ribs and Ridges Festival in New Jersey and they are every bit as good as the original guys. A new album is forthcoming. Back in 2000, I was in Johnson City, Tennessee and caught Black Molly at Freedom Hall. The band was comprised of ex Hatchet and Blackfoot members, as well as other southern rock guys. It was just a few guys getting out and playing the classics. We had Jimmy Farrar on vocals, Randall Hall and Charlie Hargrett on guitars, Banner Thomas on bass, and Shawn Beamer on drums. It drew about 2,000 people, which was impressive considering Skynyrd were playing about an hour away.
Like the Allmans, Doc Holliday hail from Macon, Georgia. Their first two records, ‘Doc Holliday’ and ‘Doc Holliday Rides Again’, are full of classic southern rockers. Band leader Bruce Brookshire was and is the consummate southern songwriter. It seemed that every southern band had to have a ‘Freebird’-type song that culminated in a lengthy guitar-driven jam on the back end of the track. The Outlaws had ‘Green Grass and High Tides’, Blackfoot had ‘Highway Song’, Molly Hatchet had ‘Boogie no More’, and Doc Holliday had ‘Lonesome Guitar’. Like Blackfoot and Molly Hatchet, there was a change in musical direction with the release of ‘Modern Medicine’ in 1983. Their southern grittiness was replaced by an almost new wave sound with keyboards dominating many of the cuts and a drum sound that made me cringe. Only Brookshire’s excellent guitar playing saved some of the songs. I think the band is out there in some form or another, primarily playing in Europe where they remain somewhat popular. Brookshire remastered the first three albums back in 2019 and they are available on through Grand Union Records. I’d definitely pick up the first two and forget about ‘Modern Medicine’.
Other noteworthy southern bands from the 70s and 80s include Axe who put out several recordings, with the two best being ‘Offering’ and ‘Nemesis’. Bobby Barth always straddled the line between in-your-face guitars and a more AOR sound. This is quite evident on Axe’s latest opus entitled ‘Final Offering’. 38 Special, which had featured Ronnie’s brother Donnie Van Zant on vocals and Don Barnes on vocals and guitar, gave us a plethora of great releases. I’d say the three best and most rocking are ‘Rockin’ into the Night’, ‘Wild Eyed Southern Boys’, and ‘Special Forces’. Once Van Zant left and Barnes assumed the role as primary composer, 38 Special’s sound became more refined and radio-friendly. They still tour today with Barnes as the sole original member from the early days. The melodic Atlanta Rhythm Section scored two major FM hits with ‘Imaginary Lover’ and ‘I’m so into you’. Black Oak Arkansas, with the inimitable Jim ‘Dandy’ Mangrum on vocals, scored big with their cover of Lavern Baker’s ‘Jim Dandy to the Rescue’. As for their best studio recording, check out ‘Street Party’. However, if you really want to hear BOA at their best, give a listen to ‘Raunch ‘n’ Roll, easily one of the best live outputs in the southern genre.
Georgia’s The Black Crowes combined southern influences with early 70’s era Stones and some 60’s psyche. From 1990-2009, they released eight solid records before disbanding. It appeared that brothers Rich and Chris couldn’t work together anymore. The good news is that in 2019 the brothers and band reformed. Tour dates were in place, but due to Covid, those plans are on hold. it’s good to have them back again.
St. Louis’s Mamas Pride created some magical music, especially on their self-titled debut from 1975 and the follow-up album ‘Uptown and Lowdown’. the former should be a part of every southern rock fan’s collection. When Henry Paul split from The Outlaws, he produced two excellent solo albums with ‘Grey Ghost’ and ‘Feel the Heat’. Both had a similar feel to his previous band. I’d stay away from the next two solo releases, as they went way into AOR territory. Texas’ Point Blank put out several good albums, but their first self-titled piece was always their best. ‘Bad Bees’ is one of the best southern rock songs you’ll ever hear. I must say that their three ‘comeback’ albums; 2006’s ‘Reloaded’, 2009’s ‘Fight on’, and 2014’s ‘Volume 9’ are pure gold as well. Mississippians Pot Liquor merged southern grit with gospel better than most. Their first three releases are ‘must-haves’, especially their sophomore one, which boasts one of hte greatest tracks ever in ‘The Train’. Georgia’s Stillwater scored a minor hit with ‘Mind Bender’, but the true essence of this band can be heard in gems such as ‘Payback’ and’ Sam’s Jam’. James Taylor has the hits and the fame, but his brother Alex’s sweet southern music is much better. His nine-minute song ‘Southbound’ encapsulates what the south is all about. Let’s not forget about Alabama’s Wet Willie. From the early to late 70s, they put out several records that lifted up their collective influences; soul, gospel, rock, blues and country. While every album is spot on, if I had to choose a favorite, it would be ‘Wet Willie II’.
Southern rock stalled a bit in the 90s, but the much-needed resurgence came thanks to Atlanta, Georgia’s Blackberry Smoke. All of the sudden, it was acceptable and cool to dig southern rock again. Smith credits BBS with this reawakening of southern rock. ‘I really do think that the interest in what they call southern rock had been kind of waning. The artists who were considered southern rock were changing their direction. Those bands who were southern rockers started being country artists. But, because of BBS, there have been a lot of other southern bands coming out. But BBS…Charlie Starr and them boys deserve a lot of credit for keeping it real.’ Their debut album, ‘Bad Luck Ain’t no Crime’, came out in 2003, but they became nationally known with 2009’s ‘A Little Piece of Dixie’. Back in the summer of 2006, I went to Texas to cover a southern rock/biker festival that was held in an abandoned plane hangar in Alvarado. And that’s where I got my first taste of Blackberry Smoke. The headliners were The Outlaws and Molly Hatchet. Along with a few regional acts was this upstart band that no one had ever heard of. BBS went on at around 2 pm and there were maybe around 30-40 people in this cavernous hangar. As soon as I saw Charlie Starr’s Four Horsemen (a great southern rock band from the 80s and 90s) t-shirt, I knew they had to be good. And as soon as Starr, Paul Jackson, and brothers Richard and Brit plugged in and started playing, heads, eyes, and ears turned. The likes of ‘Testify’, ‘Sanctified ‘Woman’, ‘Train Rollin’, ‘Freeborn man’ and others killed. By the end of BBS’s set, there were a hell of a lot people in attendance and at the stage rocking out. With the addition of keyboardist Brandon Still, BBS has gone from strength to strength. ‘The Whippoorwill’, ‘Holding all the Roses’, ‘Like an Arrow’, and ‘Find a Light’ are all classic slices of southern goodness. You also need to look at their latest EP, ‘Live from Capricorn Studios’. On it, you will find fiver southern-dipped covers of The Allmans’ ‘Midnight Rider’ and ‘Revival’, Marshall Tucker’s ‘Take the Highway’, and two from Wet Willie; ‘Grits ain’t Groceries’ and ‘Keep on Smilin’ with Jimmy Hall guesting on vocals. Simply the greatest southern rock band since Skynyrd.
Let’s talk about this resurgence of southern rock. All across the US and abroad, there are many southern rock bands that deserve a mention. Below, I will present an exhaustive list of bands that all fans of southern rock need to look into (alphabetical order):
Alligator Stew – This California band was around in the early 2000’s and released one studio album and followed with a live recording entitled ‘To Monticello’. They were on the harder side of southern rock with Molly Hatchet as the primary comparison.
Asphalt Horsemen – These guys are from Hungary, but play southern rock like they’re from Jacksonville, Fla. They also vintage Molly Hatchet in their veins, but also some Black Stone Cherry as well.
The Aviators – Southern California southern rock with heavy doses of Zeppelin and Aerosmith. These guys have four albums out and they’re all quite good.
Bad Touch – This group is from the UK, but sound like a harder version of The Black Crowes. To date, they have five albums out, with the best being their latest called ‘Kiss the Sky’.
Bama Gamblers – Born out of Alabama, this band’s primary influence seems to be Tom Petty. To date, they have one album out called ‘Iron Mountain’.
Beau Weevils – Charlie Daniels and drummer James Stroud put this group together back in 2018 and ‘Songs in the Key of E’ is their only album.
Big Swamp – This German band play southern rock fused with Delta blues, and are heavy on the slide guitar. Slide guitarist Jan Strobel comes on like old-school blues musicians jamming with Foghat’s Rod Price (RIP).
Bishop Gunn – This group is from Natchez, Mississippi and play music that is a blend of southern rock nd Americana.
Pontus J. Back – This guy comes to us from Finland, but plays music straight out of Jacksonville, Fla. His brand of southern rock is on the harder side and is comparable to Molly Hatchet.
Black River Sons – Another great group from France! ‘Poison Stuff’ rocks hard like vintage Blackfoot. The title track is one of those ‘must hear’ tracks.
Bootleggers – Hailing from France, these guys have been around since the early 90s and specialized in southern/outlaw country music.
The Boyzz – Like The Godz, The Boyzz were hard-as-a-rock biker/southern rock gang. They put out the influential ‘Too Wild to Tame’ album in 1978 and then disappeared. I read that there’s an unreleased second album called ‘Midwest Kids’. Maybe one day it’ll see the light of day.
Scooter Brown Band – This band straddles southern, Americana, and country with aplomb. ‘American Son’ is an amazing release and has Charlie Daniels guesting on the title cut.
Bounty Hunter Gang – This Pennsylvania band have two albums out and sound similar to The Marshall Tucker Band; kind of laid-back southern rock best listened to while having a beer and watching the sun set.
Buster Cousins Band – These Floridians take their cues from Skynyrd, especially the ‘Nuthin’ Fancy’ album. The band’s country influences are at the fore, but they can rip when they want to.
Cadillac Three – This Nashville band has shared stages with Skynyrd and Metallica, and everything in-between. They describe their music as ‘country fuzz’, which happens to be the name of their fourth record.
Calibre 12 – France’s Calibre 12 have four albums out and could be cousins to early 80s Blackfoot. They have four albums out and each one rocks southern style.
Catawompus – They hail from Indiana and released five album to date. They remind me of mid-80s 38 Special with some country influences thrown in.
Charlie Tatman – The gravel-throated Tatman has a few records out there. He easily moves back and forth from classic southern rock, blues, country, and even some tear-jerking ballads. ‘Free and Easy’ is his best, to date.
Clarke County Drifters – Michigan’s Clarke County Drifters play vintage outlaw country/pure country. They have two albums out so far; ‘The Outlaw’s Creed’ and ‘To Road’s End’.
Copperhead County – Southern rock from the Netherlands. These guys have an EP and full-length album out, and they combine pure southern rock (The Outlaws come to mind) with Americana. These guys should relocate to Florida; they’d be right at home there. Great stuff.
Crossfyre – They’re best described as Texan biker rock with southern leanings. They come on like vintage The Godz and The Boyzz.
Deadstring Brothers – Detroit isn’t really known for its southern rock acts, but Deadstring Brothers do have those influences intact. A more immediate comparison, however, would be to the Mick Taylor-era Stones. ‘Sao Paulo’ is their best release.
Diesel Dust – Another southern rock band from France. They have two full-length recordings and an EP out. It looks like they’ve been inactive for about ten years. Shame too, because they’re really good, especially the slide playing.
Dirty Rock Revival – From the Blur Ridge Mountains of Ashville, North Carolina, these guys released one storming southern rock record, ‘Brave new World’, and then, inexplicably and sadly, broke up.
Dirty Sweet – Like the Deadstring Brothers, San Diego’s Dirty Sweet look to southern rock and early 70s Stones as their influences. Check out ‘Of Monarchs and Beggars’.
Dixie Desperados – These Gainesville, Fla, guys have been around since 1976, but only have one album out…and it’s quite good. Tom Petty’s influence runs through their music.
Dixie Horsepower – In 2017, Tesla’s drummer Troy Luccketta put out this great five-track EP, which merges Tesla’s blue-collar sounds with southern rock.
Dixie Hustler – From the gritty town of Flint, Michigan, Their album is chock full of southern/biker rock that typifies what Flint is all about.
Dixie Tabernacle – Their album, ‘Nashville Swamp, really says it all. Great southern rock with some cool slide playing. Skynyrd comes to mind while listening to these guys.
Drivin’ Sideways – This band from the mid-90s had short-lived Skynyrd guitarist Mike Estes on vocals and guitar. The lyrical content lifts up NASCAR. Southern Rock and NASCAR; a perfect marriage.
Drugstore Gypsies – These guys sound like they’re from Georgia rather than Houston, Texas. They combine the sounds of the Georgia Satellites and The Black Crowes. Of their two albums (both of which are good), I’d pick up ‘Easy Access’ first.
Drunken Rollers – Southern rock from Italy. They have a Grinderswitch Ghost Riders feel to them. To date, they have an EP (‘Chicken Run’) and a full album (‘Generation Boogie’).
Eat a Peach – Without a doubt, one of the best southern rock bands ever. They were every bit as good as your upper-echelon bands and were, needless to say, influenced by the Allman Brothers Band. Sadly, they only released two albums, ‘Turbulence and Thunder’ and ‘Bound to Shine’ and both are spectacular. Definitely essential purchases, if you can find them
Eclipse – From Indiana, these guys released one album in 1976 and then disappeared. If you can get past the lackluster production, you’ll hear some tasty southern rock in the vein of Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet. They reformed in 2010 and recorded another album entitled ‘Ride through the Badlands’. It’s not bad, but 2016’s ‘Freedom of the Ride’ is much better.
484 South – These Mississippians released one album back in 2009. They have a Skynyrd/Marshall Tucker kind of sound to them. They play blues, Americana, and southern rock.
Fifth on the Floor – They come from Kentucky and have three releases out there. Their last, ‘Ashes and Angels’ (produced by Shooter Jennings), is their best and sees the band comfortably move back and forth from country to southern rock.
Firewaters Down – After a long, long time away from the music world, The Danny Joe Brown Band’s guitarist Kenny McVay was reintroduced thorough his band Firewaters Down. it’s not bad, but I expected much better.
Firsthand – Deep in the heart of Alabama comes Firsthand. They play driving southern rock. To date, they have two records out; ‘Delivered’ and ‘Going all in’.
First ‘n’ Last – There’s really nothing out there about Oslo’s First ‘n’ Last. They put out one album back in 1987 and it comes on like an early and rocking Point Blank. It’s too bad there’s nothing else available because these guys were good.
Creed Fisher – To date, Fisher is six albums in and has that archetypal outlaw country down. ‘The Wild Ones’, to me, is his hardest rockin’ and best.
Flat Creek Band – From 1970-73, these guys were prominent in the Nashville, Tennessee scene. They released one S/T album that sounded just like The Allman Brothers.
Flatman – Another French band that has embraced southern rock, Flatman has been around since the 90s and delivers. They sound like they’re from Jacksonville, Fla. I’d check out ‘Bottle of Booze’ first to see what this group is all about.
Flynnville Train – Another great band from Indiana who plays some cool southern rock. While all four albums are good, my pick is ‘Redemption’.
The Four Horsemen – An unbridled, kick-ass band from California. They blurred the lines between biker and southern rock. Throw them in with The Godz and The Boyzz.
Freedom and Whiskey – And yet another cool band from Indiana. They have six albums out and sound like an amalgam of The Marshall Tucker Band and Skynyrd. Their debut recording is the one to look for.
Fried Goat – Georgians Fried Goat’s brand of southern rock sit comfortably alongside the country side of The Outlaws and the rock side of The Marshall Tucker Band.
Gasoline – This European southern rock band has a Doc Holliday feel to them, with the vocalist even sounding a bit like Bruce Brookshire. Even though I have their cd, there isn’t much information in it or on the Internet.
General Lee – Southern rock from Singapore. They’re a bit laid back with covert blues in place.
General Lee Band – This German band has four albums out, all of which are primarily made up of cover songs from the likes of Doc Holliday, Molly Hatchet, The Outlaws, and Skynyrd. Their originals, as sparse as they are, are also very good.
Georgia Shines Band – This Georgian band have two albums out and produce driving, old-school southern rock, but with a suspect production.
Georgia Thunderbolts – These guys are making waves. Their debut, ‘Southern Rock from Rome’, as well as their self-titled EP have been enthusiastically accepted on both sides of the pond. Their influences are wide-ranging from country, to gospel, to blues, to Americana…all under the umbrella of southern rock.
Ghost Riders – This was Steve Grisham (The Outlaws) and Barry Capp’s (38 Special) band. From 2003-13, they put out five excellent albums steeped in southern rock.
The Godz – Following in the footsteps of The Boyzz, The Godz took that biker/southern rock sound up to maximum overdrive, especially on their iconic first record.
Austin Gold – Country Rock, soul, blues, and, of course, southern rock. Heavy riffing akin to Black Stone Cherry.
Grinderswitch – This Macon band was led by Dru Lombar and released quality albums from 1974-82. They specialized in laid-back southern rock with funk and country rock at the fore.
The Hackens Boys – These Virginians combine country, Americana, southern rock, and even bluegrass and get a cool unique sound. Of the albums they have out, ‘I’d start with ‘On the Run’
Randall Hall Band – Hall came to light as a member of the Allen Collins Band. When Skynyrd reformed back in 1987, Collins asked Hall to take his place. After he left them, he formed the Randall Hall Band and, to my knowledge, only released one EP. A very solid three-track record with the incomparable Jimmy Doughtery (RIP) on vocals. This guy was amazing.
Highly Kind – All you need to know is that ‘Don’t Wake Albert’ was produced by the legendary Johnny Sandlin. What we have here is laid-back southern/Americana that has glimpses of the Allmans.
Highway – Hailing from Chicago, Highway plays Outlaws’ influenced southern rock that swings slightly towards country rock/Americana.
Highway Ryders – Ohio’s Highway Ryders are an ass-kickin’ southern rock band. They are a bit of a supergroup in that former members of Iron Butterfly, The Jimmie Van Zant Band, and The Bulletboys are in the group. They could be cousins to Alligator Stew or The Regulators. ‘Faith, Pride and Justice’ should be sought out by all southern rock fans – simply brilliant. They recorded a second album called ‘Southern Life’, but I don’t think it was ever released.
Sam Hill – This is a new band from Jacksonville, Fla. They play hard-nosed southern rock with a few spine-tingling ballads in there as well. Interestingly, Randall Hall was involved in the making of ‘Bringing it back Home’.
Hillbilly Vegas – These Texans have one album out, ’76’, and play driving southern rock with Texan grit.
Hogjaw – Arizonan southern rock that is hard-edged in line with early Blackfoot. They have six studio albums and one live recording out, and you should get them all.
The Holy Goats – Classic rock with southern tinges from New Jersey. I’d say they’re somewhere in-between The Black Crowes and, perhaps, Sweetkiss Momma.
Honey Island Swamp Band – They remind me, a bit, of fellow Louisianan Leroux. They’ve got an indigenous sound that incorporates funk, soul, gospel, and southern rock that is perfect for a lazy summer day.
Elias Hoth – His band plays a darker, hard-edged kind of southern rock/blues. He has six records out to date.
Hydra – This Atlanta band started back in the late 60s and released three albums, I believe on the Capricorn label. All three are hot southern rock albums, with the best being ‘Rock the World’.
Iron Bridge Band – New Jersey’s Iron Bridge Band play classic rock fused with southern soul. They sound like a group from Texas.
Shooter Jennings – Waylon’s son, Shooter has found the perfect balance between country and southern rock. Of his Ten albums, I’d definitely check out ‘Put the ‘O’ back in Country’. It is a masterpiece.
Caleb Johnson – An American Idol winner, Johnson is now steeped in southern rock that has feel and swagger. He has one album out so far – ‘Born from Southern Ground’,
Judge Parker – This great Tennessee band have three albums out with their debut being the pick of the bunch. Their sound is likened to Skynyrd and Blackfoot.
Toby Jugg Band – These Tennessee guys released two albums, one in 1979 and their latest in 2019 – sadly, nothing in-between. I’m surprised that their debut didn’t take off because it is a southern rock classic.
Ron Keel Band – Ron is best known for his mid-to-late 80s hair band Keel. From there, he moved to outlaw country with ‘Alone at last’ and ‘The Country Years’ before embracing his true love – southern rock – with ‘Metal Cowboy’ and ‘Fight like a Band’. His latest, ‘South X South Dakota’, is a southern rock covers album done dignity and pride.
Kentucky Headhunters – With eleven albums out and every one being fantastic, the Kentucky Headhunters have influenced countless southern rock, Americana, and blues bands over the years. They’re best known for their hit ‘Dumas Walker’, but there’s so much more to this stellar band.
Laidlaw – Their debut, ‘First Big Picnic’, was produced by Nikki Sixx and boasted a big production steeped in classic/southern rock. They put out two additional albums, but none nearly as good as that debut.
Little Dixie Revival – Another great southern rock group from Alabama. There’s not much out there on the Web, but I can tell you that their one and only release, ‘Chasin’ the Sun’, is pure country/southern rock.
Lizard – Germany’s Lizard has been around since 1991 and has released five studio albums and three live ones, with the latest called ‘On the Road Live’. They’ve got that Doc Holliday sound down pact.
Little Feat – California’s Little Feat sounds more like a Louisianan band. Their swampy, Cajun rock is part southern rock, New Orleans, part funk, and part blues. Their best and most recognizable records are ‘Dixie Chicken’ and ‘Feats don’t Fail me now’.
Lost Southern Boys – Georgia’s Lost Southern Boys have only one recording out, ‘Out on the White Line’, and it’s classic southern rock with some excellent slide playing. The production’s a little shaky, but overall a cool album.
Louisiana Swamp Donky – A very promising kick-ass band straight out of the backwoods of Louisiana. They, like Tennessee Champagne, rock hard like vintage Blackfoot.
Lucero – Memphis’s Lucero have been around since 2000 and are best described as Americana with balls. Of course, that inherent Memphis sound is intact. I would look into ‘Women and Work’ first. If you like that, you’ll enjoy the rest.
Ma Ferguson – To my knowledge, this awesome Texan band has only one EP out entitled ‘Texas Rebels'(released way back in 2000). The EP is split between two originals and two cool covers (the Allman’s ‘Good Clean Fun’ and Skynyrd’s ‘That Smell’). The originals are just as good.
Mad Jack – From upstate New York, Mad Jack put out three albums from 1984-2004, plus a greatest hits package in 2012. They were a very good southern rock band with a sound similar to early Doc Holliday.
Mammoth – Another good band from Florida who only released one album back in 1981. Following the sounds of the day in Fla., Mammoth sound like Molly Hatchet in places. The songs are decent, but the production buries the sound.
May’s Hounds – Southern rock via Sweden. This female-fronted band occasionally kicks up some dust coming on like The Faces if they were from Macon. To date, they have a S/T debut album and a sophomore release out called ‘Voodoo River’. Both are worth checking out.
Maylene and the Sons of Disaster – These Alabamians approach southern with a healthy dose of hardcore; Zakk Wylde comes to mind, but these guys are much better. Check out one of the most bad-ass songs ever in ‘Step up (I’m on it).’
Melonhead Man – There’s not much out there on these guys. The album, ‘The Good and the Bad’, is pure Americana with some Marshall Tucker Band congruencies.
The Mighty Jeremiahs – This is Jimmy Hall’s (Wet Willie) band. They only released S/T album and it’s full of stirring gospel-tinged southern rock and blues.
Moon Dog Mane – Tesla’s Frank Hannon released this one-off Southern rock album called, appropriately, ‘Turn it Up’. Pure, good-time southern rock.
Moonshine – This German band only released one record back in 1997 called ‘Roughhousin’. They combine the Allmans and Skynyrd sounds with aplomb. There’s also a coo cover of the mama’s Boys’ ‘In the Morning’.
Moonshine – These guys released two albums, one in 1998 and the other in 2014. I’ve not heard their debut, but the second record kicks southern ass. It’s a shame they haven’t put anything else out because they are that good.
Sam Morrison Band – West Coast southern rock at its best. They have been at it since the early 2000s and play in the vein of Skynyrd and early 38 Special.
Mozely Road – From Virginia, Mozely Rose play, like many other southern rock bands, have Skynyrd as a major influence (albeit on the softer less raucous side). One can hear Allman Brothers and Little Feat sounds in the grooves as well. To date, they only have two albums out; ‘The new Brew’ and ‘Low Down and Dirty’.
Muddy Moonshine – This Finnish band sounds like they were born from the depths of Mississippi. They have two albums out, ‘Distilled in Finland’ and ‘Muddy and Wild’. Just goes to show how southern rock transcends boundaries.
My Dynamite – These Australians use The Faces and The Black Crowes as their musical blueprints, but crossover into southern rock territory with ease. They have two albums out so far – their S/T debut from 2012 and ‘Otherside’ from 2017.
Natchez – Named after a small town in Mississippi, this French band are one of the more popular southern rock groups from the other side of the pond. They started in the late 80s and have eleven albums out. They sit comfortably between Molly Hatchet, Skynyrd and The Marshall Tucker Band.
National Dust – California’s National Dust are firmly rooted vintage Blackfoot territory and biker rock. They have three albums out with the best being their debut.
Nocturn – This German band has only one album out from 2001 and it is laced with some great honky-tonk piano with a feel-good Grinderswitch tone to their sound.
Old Union – From Nashville, Old Union have a couple albums out and they’re filled with good-time southern rock that is reminiscent of the Allmans with some excellent keyboards.
Ole Whiskey Revival – A new group out of the great state of Louisiana, Ole Whiskey Revival plays vintage southern/country music that takes me back to the glorious early/mid 70s. Their debut album is entitled ‘Brothers’.
Omega Train – This band from the Northeast have a full-length album out, as well as an acoustic EP. Regarding the debut, the songs are good, but the production is terrible – sounds a bit like mid-80s Doc Holliday, but more amateurish.
Oncle Jack – The French really love their southern rock. They tick all of the necessary boxes – we get some shuffling ZZ Top, some New Orleans swamp funk, and old-school southern rock. They have three albums out with ‘Will to Survive’ worth seeking out.
The Outlaw Orchestra – One of the more promising and unique bands to come out of the UK, The Outlaw Orchestra play southern rock, Cajun, blues, etc. with a stand-up bass and banjo as integral pieces to their sound. To date, they have three records out and all are great.
Outlaws and Moonshine – This Indiana-based band calls their music ‘New Southern Rock’, but to me it’s revved -up old-school southern rock with a bite. They have two recordings out, ‘1919’ and ‘Devil in the Moonshine’. Both are essential to your collection.
Pearl Handle – From Illinois, this band has only one record out, which can best be described as outlaw/contemporary country with splashes of southern rock.
Frank Pilgrim Band – Residing in both Tennessee and Florida, this band could lull you to sleep with some humble country or kick up some southern rock dust. He has two releases out there, with ‘American Dream’ being the best of the two.
The Pinx – This Atlanta band can be best described as Southern rock, Americana, and pure rock. They have two records out, with their debut, ‘Freedom’, being their best.
Polecat Boogie Revival – I love the band’s name. These Tennesseans play roughhouse southern rock with a bite. The vocalist sounds like Eric Moore (RIP) from The Godz. You need to check out their debut pronto.
Pot Liquor – A great band from Louisiana, Pot liquor came out on the early 70s and incorporated southern rock, blues and gospel in their sound, with ‘Levee Blues’ rising above the rest. That said, all four releases are fantastic.
Powder Mill – Outlaw country/Americana as authentic as it gets. These Missourians belong in the outskirts of Georgia, as that’s where their sound is aligned to. They have four releases out and they are excellent, but I’d go with ‘Land of the Free’ being their best.
Preacher Stone – From the great State of North Carolina, Preacher Stone play good-time, old-school southern rock with traces of Molly Hatchet and Skynyrd. here’s some cool outlaw country in the grooves as well. Every one of their four albums is good, with ‘Uncle Buck’s Vittles’ ranking as their best.
Ragged Union – Another UK band that sounds similar to Sons of Liberty. On their two albums, they move back and forth from country balladry to kick-ass southern rock.
Raisin’ Kane – Another cool band out of Tennessee. They released only one album back in 1978 called ‘It’s about Time’. They play typical 70s southern/country rock with some nice guitar harmonies.
Ram Jam – Of course, this band was most famous for their cover of Leadbelly’s ‘Black Betty’. But, there was so much more to this group than just that one track. Their debut and ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ram’ are two prime slices of pure rock ‘n’ roll with southern touches.
Raging Slab – New York’s Raging Slab played bas-ass southern rock with bite. When their S?T debut came out in 1989, their music was described as Skynyrd meets Metallica. With succeeding releases, the group became more rooted in classic southern rock. In remembrance of long-time slide guitarist Elyse Steinman, they’ve just put out some unreleased material under the title of ‘Sister Slab and the Boogie Coalition’.
Ransom – From the great town of Memphis, Ransom only released on S/T EP back in 1982 and then were never heard from again. Shame because is pure old-school classic/southern rock.
Don Ray Band – Another Tennessee band embracing energized southern/biker rock. They have five albums out and I think the best is ‘Kickstands up’.
Rebelene – All the way from Sweden, this band put out one excellent, hard-edged southern rock album back in 1993.
Rebel Pride – it must be in the Floridian water. Rebel Pride rock Blackfoot style; hard and with an edge. They have six records out and they’re all worth seeking out.
Rebel Storm – All the way up there in Washington State comes Rebel Storm. The CD says that they are the recipient of the 2002 Southern Music hall of Fame, as awarded to them by the great Michael ‘Buffalo’ Smith (Kudzoo Magazine). If Rebel Storm get’s his approval, then you know it’s got to be good!
Rebel Syndicate – Hailing from Florida, this band has a Hank Williams Jr. and early Doc Holliday flavor to them. They are two albums out; ‘The Family Album’ and ‘Welcome to the South’.
Rebel Train – Missouri-based band borders on hard rock, but with southern likeability. They have three albums out. So, if you like your southern rock with a crunch, then this may be for you.
Redneck Roots Band – Another excellent on-the-hard-side French southern rock band. I have one of their cds and it’s great. The band’s vocalist Bruce sent me six tracks recently that sound like they were done live in the studio – great stuff. Sounds like ZZ Top, Molly Hatchet, and even the great French band Trust during their early days.
Red Nose – Add this to the ever-growing number of French southern rock bands. As far as I know, they only released one album back in 2002 and then faded away. A solid band that showcases their love for Molly Hatchet and Doc Holliday.
The Regulators – West Coast southern rock that is aligned with harder-edged Blackfoot. Three released three albums that are still accessible and one that is on their Facebook page called ‘Got Smith & Wesson’ available as a download – and I believe it’s their best to date.
Revelry – Revelry is a brand new five-piece southern rock band from the great state of Tennessee. To date, they have one single out, ‘Dirty’, and it is a wonderful, guitar-oriented piece of southern rock gold. It has all of the trademark southern sounds; raspy vocals, cool slide, a driving rhythm, and a sticks-like-glue chorus; a recipe for success! I can’t wait to hear some new music from these guys!
The Riffing Cowboys – A tribute band created to lift up the legendary Hank Williams’ music. The band, comprised of Dan Baird, Warner Hodges, and Jason and Jason Ringenberg, took Williams’ music, plugged in the guitars, turned up the amps to ten, and rocked. There’s only one album out by these guys and it is fantastic.
Righteous Hillbillies – Great southern rock from Illinois. They have four albums out, with ‘Playing with Fire’ released in 2020. Every album is full of good-time southern rock.
The Road Dawgs – These West Virginians play vintage and solid southern rock with touches of The Marshall Tucker Band and , of course, Skynyrd. ‘Fire on the Highway’, I believe, is the group’s only album.
The Roadside Band – I’m not sure where these guys are from (sounds like it could be South Carolina), but they play pleasant southern rock similar to The Marshall Tucker Band and Grinderswitch. They only released one record back in 1981 called ‘Storms about to Brew’. Nice, clean guitar harmonies.
Robert Jon and the Wreck – These guys have several albums out and, finally and justifiably, are gaining in popularity. Their latest release is called ‘Last Light on the Highway’ and every discerning southern rock fan should have this (and their other records as well).
Rock Road Rebels – From the Heartland, These guys only put out one album entitled ‘Horsepower’. They specialize in, needless to say, Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet, guitar-driven southern rock.
The Rooster Band – Indiana’s The Rooster Band dig in with some crunchy, driving guitars one moment and poignant ballads the next. They have two albums out; ‘Cocked’ and ‘Open Road’. I’d jump on ‘Open Road’ first.
Rufus Huff – Kentuckians, Rufus Huff love early Blackfoot and have a similar bite to them. They only have one record out from 2009 and it’s worth finding.
Saint Jude – This English band are all about early Stones and The Faces, but with a cool, southern swagger. Sadly, they only released one album entitled ‘Diary of a Soul Fiend’.
Samerkind – A band from the UK that combines classic rock, blues, and southern rock. They have one album out and it’s an excellent debut.
Christopher Satterfield – This Floridian comfortably straddles the southern/blues rock fence on his debut record called ‘6 Strings – 9 Lives’. What stands out is how good a slide player he is.
Second Chance Band – From Kansas, this is modern and hard southern rock. These guys have two albums out; ‘Waitin’ in Line’ and ‘Carry on’. If the original Blackfoot were around today, they might sound a little like Second Chance.
Screamin’ Eagle Band – Connecticut’s own southern rock band that melds together vintage Blackfoot and Skynyrd. Johnny Neel sits in on keyboards. Their debut album is called ‘Asphalt Warriors’.
Shanytown – Fronted by the nephews of Donnie and Johnny Van Zant, Robbie and Ronnie Morris are reminiscent of Skynyrd. To date, they only have one record out.
Christopher Shayne – Coming out of Phoenix with a hard southern sound that is as hot as Arizona’s desert heat. Akin, at times, to the harder side of Blackberry Smoke. ‘Turning Stones’ is his debut title with the sophomore release ‘Ten High’ out in late January, 2021.
Skinny Molly – Mike Estes and Jay Johnson’s band, they, of course, bring it like vintage Skynyrd. They have three albums and a liver DVD out and all are excellent slices of pure southern rock. A must-have purchase.
Simple Southern Boys – They call their brand of southern rock ‘swamp rock’. Whatever it’s called, it rocks. They have two albums out; ‘All Revved up’ and ‘Eyes on the Prize’. Both are essential purchases.
Smokey Fingers – Southern rock via Italy. These guys sound they’re from the deep south. Their two albums, ‘Columbus Way’ and ‘Promised Land’ have the usual influences; namely Skynyrd and Blackfoot.
Smokin’ Gunnz – There’s not much out there on this band from Pennsylvania. They have two albums out; the debut has six covers and two excellent originals – ‘Raise a Little Hell’ and ‘Lost Heroes’. Definitely for fans of Molly Hatchet.
Smith & Harley – This duo specialize in outlaw country/biker rock sounds. They have one record out called ‘Ride to Live’. There’s another album called ‘Freedom’, but it has the same track listing as ‘Ride to Live’.
South Paw – Another cool Louisianan band, South Paw had a Little Feat sound to them, but could crank it up into Skynyrd territory as well. They put out one studio album in 1980 and a live release in 1985, which is quite good.
Southbound Band – From Lakeland, Fla., ‘Road House’ is the only album by these guys and there are similarities to The Atlanta Rhythm Section.
The Southern Experience Band – North Carolinian band plays rocking, but smooth southern rock. I love the inobtrusive use of the banjo in some of their tracks.
The Southern Locomotive Band – This new trio is from Georgia and merge southern rock and blues nicely. The songs are pretty good, but the production is a bit on the tinny side.
Southern Outlaws Band – This brand new Ohio band has two singles out, ‘Southbound Train’ and ‘Louisiana Water’. They have an Outlaws’ quality to them, but an original sound as well.
Southern Rebellion – Hailing from the great Johnson City, Tennessee, these guys specialize in authentic outlaw country with hints of classic southern rock. Their debut record is called ‘Southern Man’.
Southern Rock All-Stars – Comprised of members from some of southern rock’s greatest bands including Blackfoot and Molly Hatchet. They released two studio records, ‘Crazy Again’ and ‘Danger Road’. In addition, they put out a double live album called ‘Trouble’s Comin’ Live’. Truth be told, these records were less than impressive with productions that were terrible.
Southern Souls – A Skynyrd tribute band from Sweden. This live recording covers Skynyrd’s greatest hits with self-assurance and vigor.
Sons of Liberty – Along with The Outlaw Orchestra, Sons of Liberty are the most popular band in the UK. They have three albums out and all are excellent. Molly Hatchet fans will love these guys.
Sons of Servants – These Texans are pure hard southern rock with classic rock leanings as well. There’s some great slide guitar herein and fans of Skynyrd, Blackfoot, and Molly Hatchet will love Sons of Servants.
Splitcrow – A UK band from the early 80s that played kick-ass southern rock/boogie. Shame they only released one barnstorming record called, appropriately, ‘Rockstorm’. The slide guitarist was totally influenced by the late Rod Price (Foghat).
Spoondfed – This band from Arkansas released one album called ‘Rock n roll Rowdies back in 1983. A great, stomping band that sounds like early 38 Special.
Stateline Mob – Alabama’s Stateline Mob only put out one record, ‘Ruckus’, and it’s great. The duo lead vocal team of Phillip Crunk and Dana Crunk delivered in aces. Pure outlaw country/southern rock of the highest order.
Jeffrey Steele – From sunny California, this man has four southern-country-fried albums out, with the best being ‘Hell on Wheels’.
Steelshot – Another one and done band, these Virginians boasted a heavy southern sound that sounds like Zakk Wylde is guesting on lead guitar.
The Steel Woods – From Nashville, Tennessee, this band has two high-quality outlaw country rock out; ‘Straw in the Wind’ and ‘Old News’. I love their cover of Sabbath’s ‘Hole in the Sky’.
Stillwater – The two best recordings from this Georgian band are ‘First Album’ and ‘I reserve the Right’. Both a great guitar-oriented pieces with ‘Mind bender’ a minor hit for the guys. In 1998, the band reunited with ‘Runnin’ Free’, which carried on the tradition/sound of those first two gems.
Stolen Rhodes – An Americana/southern rock band from Philly. They have three albums out and all make for an enjoyable listen. I saw these guys in concert a couple years back and they rocked.
Eddie Stone and Friends – This 2004 solo album from the Doc Holliday keyboardist is quite good. And his friends include Bruce Brookshire, Chris Hicks, Ronnie Hammond, and BB Borden.
Jackson Stone Band – Another great, but short-lived band. The band’s only studio release, ‘Risin’ High’ is a stomping southern rock masterpiece. Conversely, the double-live album that followed was a letdown, as every song was a cover tune – no originals.
Street Survivors – Germans love their southern rock and these guys, Skynyrd-influenced of course, released their one and only album back in 1997 and it is chock full of southern grit and spirit.
Sulentic Brothers Band – Between 1994 and 2003, this band of old-school southern rockers released three good albums, with the best being ‘South Bend’.
Swamp da Wamp – Another great band from North Carolina. Their four records are full of southern rock greatness. Great guitars, great choruses – great everything. I’d check out ‘Rock this Country’ to see what this band is all about.
Alex Taylor – James’s brother, Alex (RIP) never got out of his brother’s long shadow. His music was cool, laid-back southern rock/funk/country. Of his six releases, the two best are ‘With Friends and Neighbors’ and ‘Dinnertime’.
Tennessee Champagne – Of the new breed of southern rockers, these guys are near the top. Combine the feel of the Allmans and the grit of Blackfoot and you’ve got this great band.
Tennessee River Crooks – This band only released one album and it is typical second-tier 70s southern rock. There are glimpses of brilliance, but those moments are fleeting.
Them Dirty Roses – From Alabama, this group has one album out and it is an amalgam of country, Americana, and southern rock.
Thirteen Stars – This UK band has one EP out followed by their first fill-length debut. They combine contemporary south rock with Americana. I’d say Tom Petty has to be a major influence here.
The Banner Thomas/Steve Wrench Project – I miss Banner Thomas (RIP). To me, he was not only the backbone of classic Molly Hatchet, but the soul of the band too. This one-off project with Steve Wrench was both a country and southern rock offering.
Thousand Horses – Another newish band out of Tennessee, these guys have two albums out and specialize in southern Americana. I love their debut called ‘Southernality’. I’ve not really connected with their sophomore output ‘Bridges’ yet,
Thunderhead – A hard-as-nails 70s southern rock/blues band from New Orleans. Johnny Winter was a huge fan of the band and often sat jammed with them when he was in New Orleans. Guitarist Pat Rush sounded a lot like Winter, especially when playing slide. An essential purchase.
Tishamingo – From Atlanta, this soulful southern band had touches of the Allmans along with Americana. They have three albums out with the best being their last called ‘The Point’, which is a more upbeat record.
The Toler Brothers – David and Dan Toler (RIP), collectively, played with some great southern rock musicians including The Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker Band, Gregg Allman’s solo band, and Dickey Betts’ Great Southern. This album is more blues-based with occasional nods to The Allmans.
The Curt Towne Band – It’s in the water. Another great Jacksonville, Fla. band. They have one full-length release out called ‘All or Nothin’ plus a new single out entitled ‘Cyclone’, which, to me, is their best track yet.
Silver Travis Band – Add another excellent southern/country band to come out of the great State of South Carolina. These guys are wholly endorsed by southern rock guru Michael ‘Buffalo’ Smith. Their two releases are fantastic, with ‘Traveler’ being the better of the two.
Tumbleweed Highway – This band is from Nevada and, to my knowledge, only out out one album, which is mostly country with slight glimpses to southern rock; a laid-back album.
Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Light – On the fringe of southern rock, Dallas’ Jonathan Tyler is more aligned with rock fused with Americana. They have three albums out with ‘Pardon’ being their best.
Van Zant – Comprised of Johnny and Donnie Van Zant, this vocal duo released four albums from 1998-2007. They comfortably moved to and fro from southern rock to outlaw country. ‘Brother to Brother’ is the pick of the bunch.
Jimmie Van Zant Band – The cousin of Johnny, Donnie and Ronnie, Jimmie (RIP). He released, arguably, one of the greatest southern rock albums with his S/T debut (also called ‘Southern Comfort’) in 1996. He, then, veered into outlaw country with his last three records; ‘Feels like Freedom’, ‘My name is Jimmie’, and ‘Cut from the Same Cloth’. All are necessary purchases.
The Johnny Van Zant Band – His brand of southern rock was more on the AOR side. The first two albums, ‘No more Dirty Deals’ and ‘Round Two’, are classics. The last two releases, ‘The Last of the Wild ones’ and ‘Van Zant’, are heavy on the AOR side.
Robert Vaughn – Signature outlaw country/Americana, he released several albums with two standing high above the rest – ‘Songs from the River House’ and ‘Robert Vaughn and the Dead River Angels’.
Voodoo Lake – A new southern rock band from the UK. They have a three-track EP out and it is like Blackfoot at their heaviest. A great band in the making.
The Western Sizzlers – In 2013, the Georgia Satellites’ manager, Kevin Jennings, and Satellites’ guitarist Rick Richards started this band. They enlisted Blackberry’s Smoke’s Charlie Starr and Steve Marriott’s son, Toby, to assist. And what you ended up with is one of the bad-ass southern rock/boogies records ever with ‘For ol’ Times Sake’. The band’s follow-up, ‘145 Go’, wasn’t as good, but still deserves to be heard.
Whiskey Brown – Sounding more like a Texan southern rock band, these guys actually come from Georgia and can kick up some dust or play unplugged on some front porch; both done very convincingly.
Whiskey Myers – This Texan band is the real deal and are as good as Blackberry Smoke is. They have five amazing releases out with their most recent S/T album being the best. ‘Die Rockin’ is one of the best songs you’ll ever, ever hear.
The Whiskey River Band – This Connecticut band, whom I had seen several times back in the 80s-90s, played southern rock with conviction. They sound like Skynyrd, 38 Special, and a bit of the Allmans as well. They have two albums out; ‘It’s about Time’ and ‘Northern Lights in the Southern Sky’. Good stuff.
Zach Williams and the Reformation – These guys come from way down in Arkansas and play electrified southern rock with feeling. They have two albums out; ‘Electric Revival’ and ‘Southern Offering’. Both are great.
Winters Brothers – Another stellar act from Tennessee, The Winters Brothers formed in the 70s and put out five records, with the best being their debut and ‘Southern Rockers’. They are reminiscent of The Marshall Tucker Band with extra bite.
Whiskey, Stills and Mash – Born in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, WS&M’s music is steeped in southern rock, but with some diversity (classic rock, Americana, boogie, etc.). They have two cds out; ‘Southern Grooves: The Leadbelly Sessions’ and ‘True Grit Southern Soul’. Both are excellent!
4 thoughts on “Southern Rock Bands: Past and Present”
Hey Tony! Congratulations! This is a fantastic masterpiece! It is the most comprehensive article/post/blog I have ever seen or read about southern rock! I love your coverage and listings of the bands of this genre! This is a ‘must read’ for anyone, especially those of my generation that grew up and rocked with the music ! Thanks for your diligence in bringing this forth! Rock on!
Hello, I’m a very good friend of french band, Natchez. I can send you some picture (i’m the photograph of the band) and also Redneck, Calibre 12, Tuckers, Diesel Dust, and many other southern french rock band
Hello! That would be great! I can post the pictures next to the band’s descriptions! If you would like, please send me any other French southern rock bands’ names and photos. I’ll check out their music on YouTube. I’ll definitely include them! Thank you so much! What is your full name? I’d like to include your name next to your photos.
Hello thanks for all
Diesel Dust is back with an anthology LP « Just before… » this month and a new album in May named « MMCXXI »
French southern rock is rising again😎😜