Stop Light Observations and The Vegabonds
Wed · April 12, 2017
Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm
$5.00 - $10.00
This event is 18 and overhttps://www.georgiatheatre.com/event/1437830/
Stop Light Observations’ inaugural performance took place on Sullivan’s Island. Among the crowd was Cubby’s childhood pastor—a man with whom he had once had a close relationship. As it turns out, Cubby’s former pastor was Will Blackburn’s grandfather. Divinity had served up fate. Cubby and Blackburn had been childhood friends, but never knew it. SLO was born, and the sky was the limit.
But things didn’t truly take off until a few years later when SLO released their acclaimed 2013 debut, Radiation. Metronome hailed the record’s “emotive and elegant” songs, which landed perfectly in the sweet spot between arena and indie rock. The band went from relative unknowns to playing Bonnaroo and selling out Charleston’s largest club, The Music Farm, in just a year.
Since then, Stop Light Observations have broken the record for most consecutive sold-out shows at The Music Farm and have toured across the country, playing standout festival sets at Firefly, Summerfest, and more. SLO’s most recent LP, Toogoodoo, saw coverage at major national outlets from PBS and Conan O’Brien’s Fresh Noise to Impose, PopMatters and Garden & Gun, the latter praising Toogoodoo as “a promising debut from the band, who have wowed audiences throughout the South.”
Now, following the successful release of Toogoodoo, and an ambitious year on the road in support, Stop Light Observations are poised to tackle their next major endeavor—an ongoing series of digital 45s, each with an A-side and B-side, entitled The Volume, which will disperse the band’s hard-hitting yet melodic songs in a more immediate fashion.
“The Volume is much more than just bypassing the mechanics of an album,” Cubby explains. “Its about inspiring ourselves and others with this approach that lends itself to complete creative freedom. The Beatles released 250-plus songs in 7 years without the technology we have today. If they can do it, why can’t we?”
At the center of the first volume is Stop Light Observations’ new single, “Coyote.” It’s a stunning, slow-building piano ballad that evolves strikingly through distinct dynamic phases, vocalist Will Blackburn’s effortlessly toggling between a delicate croon and an anthemic howl. With “Coyote,” the group distills its already potent arena-ready indie rock all the way through the song’s powerful crescendo of an outro.
Thematically, “Coyote” deals with loss—something the entire band has coped with many times over the years. “The situations and emotions behind our songs are extremely personal,” SLO guitarist Louis Duffie explains.
Cubby adds, “When I was 15, I started dating my childhood sweetheart—who is now my wife—and after our first year of dating we received the earth-shattering news that her best friend, Lizzy, had committed suicide. She was the sweetest, happiest, and kindest girl in our entire high school and to believe she would take her own life was unfathomable. ‘Coyote’ is that story for me—the story of the pack animal, still feeling alone despite its family joining in its howls of pain. It is the girl with the bright smile taking her life—the fallen angel. It’s the first time you meet up with all your friends and that person you all loved so much isn’t there.”
The first installment from The Volume also offers up “The Ghost of Larry Ford Jr.,” an instrumental track that tackles the next step of loss: the frustration, anger and anxiety of letting go, all seamlessly communicated sans lyrics. The stylized, labyrinthine track sounds like a Wes Anderson films looks, along the way deftly mapping the chaotic trajectory of a mind in mourning.
Stop Light Observations may be blazing their own trails, but they want everyone to join them on their journey—fans, friends and family, past and present. “The Volume releases will ultimately be defined as a series—a voice for the voiceless. A podium for those who have yearned for the opportunity to share their own stories of struggle, passion, and love,” vocalist Will Blackburn explains.
“We live in an era of polar divisions perpetuated by fear,” Blackburn continues. “And the divide seems to be growing exponentially. But if we turn off the cable news channel and walk out our front doors and speak to our neighbors, we may find that our struggles, while they vary, are often quite relatable. It is my hope that trough this style of releasing music that we may open up the conversations that need to be addressed most in today’s America. All are equal and all opinions should be heard with hopes of perpetuating peace and understanding. Love is the way and this is the path we have chosen to move forward.”
Some might assert that their sound is Americana, while others may consider them to be true rock ‘n’ rollers. Regardless of what fans like to call them, the Alabama-born, Nashville-bred quintet is pulling themselves up by the bootstraps just in time for 2018, forging ahead into the future by avoiding pigeon holes.
A group of five musicians with myriad influences between them, The Vegabonds are fronted by lead vocalist and songwriter Daniel Allen, with Richard Forehand (lead guitar/vocals), Paul Bruens (bass), Beau Cooper (keys/vocals), and Bryan Harris (drums) rounding out the quintet.
The Vegabonds released their critically acclaimed record, “What We’re Made Of,” with the help of Grammy-nominated producer Tom Tapley, whose portfolio includes that of Elton John and Bruce Springsteen, among others. Tapley returned to record The Vegabonds’ latest single, “Long Haired Country Boy,” now available on iTunes and Spotify.
“Long Haired Country Boy” gives listeners a taste of the upcoming album slated for early next year as they breathe new life into the Charlie Daniels Band’s country classic. Their modernized rendition of this legendary ballad pays homage to the hard-working, blue-collar lifestyle of the Deep South, but with an electrified, psychedelic intensity that only The Vegabonds can conceive. As they steadily become one of the most sought after, highly-acclaimed Southern Rock bands in music, The Vegabonds’ roots run deep, even alongside the fan base having now extended across the U.S. and Europe. Their devotion to music and their tireless tour schedule illustrates their laser-sharp focus on growing into one of the biggest names out of Nashville, while never forgetting their humble beginnings.
The Vegabonds got their start in 2009 by playing the college circuit across the Southeastern United States. Their popularity quickly burgeoned to the point that they found their fans singing along word-for-word to their first hits like “Georgia Fire” and “American Eyes.” From Ole Miss to South Carolina, students were buzzing about The Vegabonds’ authentic sound and their seemingly effortless ability to bring the house down. Through pure word of mouth, the group’s fan base grew rapidly, and the guys learned they had something distinctive with their eclectic mix of Southern Rock, Country, and earnest songwriting.
With a sound reminiscent of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers mixed with the grit and twang of the Allman Brothers Band, The Vegabonds give their fans a sensational performance with powerhouse guitar riffs and impactful songwriting night after night. Their hard work and unbridled talents have not gone unnoticed; the group has opened for such notable acts as Lynyrd Skynyrd, the late Gregg Allman, and Kid Rock, among others. Rousing performances at festivals like Peach Fest, Magnolia Fest, Sunfest, and Toadlick grew their notoriety nationwide, leading to a west coast tour that formed in-roads with the music and comedy community in Los Angeles. It’s no wonder that Live for Live Music has compared them to musical legends like My Morning Jacket and The Black Crowes, calling them “a force to be reckoned with,” complete with “gorgeous harmonies and impressive instrumental skills mak[ing] for a perfect combination.”
With their focus on growth, The Vegabonds have much in store for old and new fans alike. Upon returning from their third European tour, the band’s focus will shift to perfecting their highly-anticipated new album, slated for release in early 2018. With a new management and publicity team behind them, their New South Rock sound is destined to reach an even broader audience than ever before. The band is excited to bring in new blood to achieve their overall strategic vision.
Born in Alabama. Bred in Nashville. Seasoned by the Road. Celebrated the world over. Come let your hair down with The Vegabonds.
The Vegabonds are...
Daniel Allen (Lead Vocals)
Richard Forehand (Guitars/Vocals)
Paul Bruens – (Bass)
Beau Cooper – (Keys/Vocals)
Bryan Harris – (Drums)
215 N. Lumpkin St
Athens, GA, 30601