Thursday, April 29, 2010

Interview: Andy Brewer of Taddy Porter talks the 'Southern sound'

Andy Brewer embraced the "Southern sound" early on.

"I remember as a kid driving to go fishing with my dad and hearing Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers, and loving it," said the singer for Stillwater, Okla.-based rock band Taddy Porter.

"I remember the songs sounded pretty and explained what we were doing at the time. I was just fishing with my dad, and it all fit together. I like holding onto the nostalgia of that."

He's not alone. Southern rock is entering a new era of appreciation. Just look at the upswing of Southern-flavored bands on the radio: Kings of Leon, Blackstone Cherry and the Black Keys.

Soulful groups like Taddy Porter are hotter than ever.

"I think Southern rock has been around for awhile, but it wasn't really prevalent in today's music, except for country," he said. "But now, I hear lots of bands coming up that have a Southern sound. It's great."

Taddy Porter, which plays shows in both Grand Rapids and Flint this week, has a fuzzy-warm success story that starts with the guys playing tiny, 10-person shows in Oklahoma and ends with them landing a tour with major-label rockers Saving Abel.

That tour was a turning point.

"When we were out with Saving Abel, they brought big crowds," Brewer said. "We were the opening band and didn't think we would get a positive reaction because we're a different genre. But they dug us."

MySpace plays and Facebook fans went up. Way up.

"After that, we realized this was something special and that we could get to a point where we could hold the crowd in our hands a little bit," he said.
On the agenda now: Finishing up the band's yet untitled full-length, due out in April or May.

The album's debut single, "Shake Me," harnesses a close-to-the-bone, gritty blues-rock sound with heart.

Also on the horizon: Rock on the Range this May. The two-day hard rock, alternative and metal fest is held every year in Columbus, Ohio, and the 2010 lineup includes the Deftones, Slash, Limp Bizkit, Rob Zombie and, yes, Taddy Porter, among others.

It's an honor. Even for a Southern guy.

"I had actually never heard of the festival until I found out we were on it, because we're not from around there," he said, laughing. "But I researched it, and the acts that play it are major. Plus, it's just a huge show."
By Anne Erickson, Gannett NOISE/LSJ

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