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The Southern Music Scene in Review 2012: Bands, Venues, Media, & Fests to Know (MM)

26 Oct 2012

written by Mod Mobilian

The Southern Music Scene in Review 2012: Bands, Venues, Media, & Fests to Know (Mod Mobilian)

The Southern Music Scene in Review 2012

Regional Bands, Venues, Media, & Fests to Know

Part I: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida

In 2011 we asked if there really was such thing as a “Southern Music Scene” – or was it a figure of our imagination. However we posited – perhaps against reason and hope – that the South would rise again, musically.

When we did so (July 2011) – Alabama Shakes were still known as “The Shakes” and we had just heard about them.  They would not make their first “tour” to play Mobile at Callaghan’s until November.

As the Shakes’ fame spread nationally, we hoped the national spotlight might once again shine on the South.  It has to some degree, thanks in no small part to the Shakes themselves – such as when they picked Doc Dailey and The Pollies to open their “Dream Show” in Chicago. But no other bands have yet come close to catching fire like the Shakes.

IN the meantime though, some bands and media appear to have developed a Southern identity. Or maybe camaraderie is a better word. No longer do bands, fans and media in Southern cities only look to music coming out of New York or Los Angeles.  They have begun looking to Athens and Atlanta and Birmingham and Muscle Shoals (again) and New Orleans.

And the bands do not have to play “Southern Rock” (although some do it well) – they are musically diverse. “Southern music” is not a genre – but a network – due to the geographic fact that most up-and-coming bands begin by touring nearby cities. They realize that cooperating among ourselves to spread the word that we have great music in this quarter of the country is easier than waiting to be discovered by someone in California or New York or Chicago. Technological advancements have allowed us to “Do It Ourselves” (D.I.O.).

It’s about Southern bands – regardless of genre – being on equal footing with bands in the rest of the country.

It’s about people knowing and listening to musicians from nearby areas – bands they can actually hear live. It’s about giving our own area bands a chance – and not assuming since they didn’t move to California that they aren’t as good as bands on the radio or in the national magazines. They are probably better.

Regional alliances have been formed between bands, venues, media, and festivals.  SouthSounds 2012 was the combination of prior local & regional festivals in Mobile – and was put on with the help of many Southern bands, venues, record labels and media.  Likewise, we hope to announce very soon a cooperative effort among Southern music websites to produce a single hub for Southern music news, as well as an alliance between Mod Mobilian and a major Southern record label to produce and distribute music. And we have been honored to help present a Southern tour for a great New Orleans band – Hurray for the Riff Raff. That may have been unimaginable a year ago.

It is a fact (in our opinion :) ) that the South is the most musically rich area of the country. And we don’t need to lose that.

Criteria – Southern Regional Players:

    • BANDS: play original music and are actively recording and touring the Southeast region – the “Southern Circuit” (in the last year).
    • Venues: feature not just locals but also touring Southeast bands.
    • Festivals: feature predominantly local/regional rock-type bands
    • Radio Stations: have at least one local music show
    • Magazines and websites: focused on local/regional music primarily

If we miss anyone that fit the criteria above let us know in comments and we will add them. Mod Mobilian staff have lived in each of these areas at some point, but it has been some time ago in some cases – so just update us and cut us some slack.


New Orleans/Baton Rouge/Lafayette/Biloxi
Overview: Rock-funk acts such as  Trombone Shorty continue to grow into the nation’s consciousness and Dr. John’s album Locked Down, produced by Dan Auerbach, brought him back into the spotlight along with several other great albums from New Orleans bands. Simultaneously, New Orleans’ indie scene continues to develop.
Record Labels: Park the Van (local + national), Chinquapin RecordsCommunity Records, Basin Street Records, Fishbowl Records
Festivals: New Orleans Indie Rock (NOIR) Festival, Foburg Festival  (Local stages at Jazz Fest and Voodoo)
Magazines:  OffBeat Magazine
Websites: My Spilt Milk, Barryfest
Venues: Tipitina’s, One Eyed Jacks, House of Blues, Howlin’ Wolf, dba, Saturn Bar, Blue Nile, Circle Bar, Siberia, The Varsity Theater (Baton Rouge), The Spanish Moon (Baton Rouge)
Bands: Cowboy Mouth, Galactic, Trombone Shorty, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Lost Bayou Ramblers, The Revivalists, GIVERS, Generationals, Brass Bed, Quintron, MyNameIsJohnMichael, Funky Meters, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Soul Rebels, Bonerama, Flow Tribe, Tab Benoit, Theresa Andersson, Anders Osborne, Honey Island Swamp Band, Dirty Bourbon River Show, Eric Lindell, Sun Hotel, Empress Hotel, Caddywhompus,  etc.


Mississippi: Jackson/Oxford/Hattiesburg
Overview:  Oxford and Jackson continue to produce new indie bands.
Record Labels: Fat Possum Records (Oxford – national label with some Southeast acts), Elegant Trainwreck
Festivals:  Mississippi’s OTHERFest (Rosedale), Wigginstock (Private)
Websites: Music In The Hall (Oxford)
Venues: Benny’s Boom Boom Room (Hattiesburg), Nick’s Ice House (Hattiesburg), Ole Tavern on George Street (Jackson), Martin’s (Jackson), Hal and Mal’s (Jackson), Sam’s Lounge (Jackson), Proud Larry’s (Oxford), The Lyric Oxford
Bands: Colour Revolt, Zoogma, Cary Hudson, Blue Mountain, Spacewolf, Furrows, Dent May, Hartle Road

North Alabama: Birmingham / Tuscaloosa / Huntsville / Muscle Shoals / Auburn
Overview: Muscle Shoals has regained some of its luster in the past year thanks to the Alabama Shakes, while numerous fine bands from the area have released on This Is American Music and other labels.  Birmingham also continues to be one of the brightest spots in the South for new music – as evidenced in the list of bands below.
Record Labels: This is American MusicSkybucket Records, Communicating Vessels, Ol’ Elegante, Hackberry Records (Florence/Tuscaloosa)
Festivals: Secret Stages, BAAM! Festival
Radio:  Birmingham Mountain Radio, UAB Blaze Radio
Websites: Birmingham Free Press Music,, You Hear This? D.I.Y. Birmingham, Well That’s Cool (Tuscaloosa)
Television: We Have Signal (APT)
Venues: The Nick, Bottletree, Workplay, Rogue Tavern, Green Bar (Tuscaloosa), Egan’s (Tuscaloosa), Eighth and Rail (Opelika)
Bands: Alabama Shakes, The Pollies, Lauderdale, Belle Adair, Through The Sparks, 13Ghosts, Duquette Johnson, Banditos, The Grenadines, Jesse Payne, The Great Book of John, Delicate Cutters, Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires, The Gum Creek Killers, Baak Gwai, The Motions, Callooh! Callay!, Browan Lollar, Dai Kaiju, G-Side, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Doc Dailey & Magnolia Devil, Man Or Astro-Man?, Pine Hill Haints, Beitthemeans


Gulf Coast: Mobile / Gulf Shores / Pascagoula & Ocean Springs / Pensacola & Florida Panhandle
Overview:  We may be making some progress.
Record Labels: Mod Mobilian Records (coming soon!)
Festivals:  SouthSounds Music Festival (Local stages at Deluna Fest, Hangout Fest, and BayFest)
Radio:  92NEW with Emily Hayes (92ZEW), JAG Radio
Websites: Mod Mobilian (cough)
Venues: Alabama Music Box (Mobile), Callaghan’s Irish Social Club (Mobile), Soul Kitchen (Mobile), The Hangout (Gulf Shores), Government Street Grocery (Ocean Springs),  Mezo’s Juke Joint (Ocean Springs), Vinyl Music Hall (Pensacola), Handlebar (Pensacola)
Bands: Grayson Capps, El Cantador, Underhill Family Orchestra, Handsome Scoundrels, The Suzies, Johnny No, Sunshine Factory

And check out our 2012 Southern Sampler:

Bands: before jumping down our throat for not including you please make sure you have released an album and had a Southern multi-state tour in the last year.  And if you didn’t, please do so and we will be happy to include you.

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