Southern Hospitality’s Easy Livin’ is a passionate 12-track ode to that laid-back, easygoing lifestyle of the South. Barreling onto the scene earlier this year with their debut album, Southern Hospitality has won the hearts of blues heads nationwide and has harnessed a strong international following. Comprised of lap steel guitarist Damon Fowler, guitarist J.P. Soars, and keyboardist Victor Wainwright, Southern Hospitality is a southern rock powerhouse backed by bassist Chuck Riley from Fowler’s former band, and Soars’ drummer Chris Peet. As three of blues’ most respectable artists, Fowler, Soars and Wainwright incorporate Delta Blues, Memphis soul and Boogie-Woogie to deliver a sound that is powerfully unique yet nostalgically familiar.
The opening track, “Southern Livin’,” sets the relaxing, pleasure-seeking tone of the album as Soars narrates an ideal afternoon drinking, fishing, and swimming in a creek. From this first track it is already obvious that the chemistry between Fowler, Soars and Wainwright is unmistakably genuine. “Long Way Home” features plenty of Fowler’s signature slides and Wainwright’s subtle yet crucial piano work. “Kind Lies & Whiskey” is a great bar-tune with an excellently easygoing solo by Soars, while the seemingly cautionary lyrics speak of that fine line between “a rich man’s pleasure and a poor man’s sin. Where does it start where does it end?” “Mile After Mile” is a slapstick, fun-loving track, directly followed by the slow ballad “Certified Lover” which showcases the band’s versatile sound.
Southern Hospitality changes it up a bit for the later half of the album, beginning with the Santana-inspired “Fried Neck Bones and Home Fries,” which is definitely one of the album’s strongest tracks. “Shoestring Budget” gets things moving a little faster with 12-bar piano riffs and an upbeat, positive attitude. “Don’t Feel Like Going There Today” is a reggae-infused, mellow and funky track in which laziness seems like a virtue and chillin’ is the greatest good. “Come Back Home” is a faster track in which Wainwright is the most prominent figure, evoking a saloon-like mood of high energy and good spirits. “Powered for the Mountain” is a heavier, deeper track, juxtaposed with the light-hearted and rebellious “Don’t Boogie Woogie.” The closing track, the acoustic “Sky Is What I Breathe,” is the album’s slowest and calmest track evoking nighttime and peace.
Southern Hospitality is a band that is quite obviously put together by a group of extremely talented musicians with an amazing musical rapport. The three friends—Fowler, Soars and Wainwright—created Southern Hospitality on a whim one night at an impromptu jam session at a post-festival party in Florida. After the jam, the three musicians were approached by the South Florida Blues Society and asked to perform at a prestigious pre-cruise party. Slowly Southern Hospitality was born out of a love for the blues, for great friends, and for “easy livin’.” With such a wide-ranging spectrum of musical influence, any blues fan is bound to find a track that they love on Easy Livin’, and every blues fan deserves to give it a listen.
The Review: 8/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Southern Livin’
– Long Way Home
– Kind Lies & Whiskey
– Fried Neck Bones and Home Fries
The Big Hit
– Southern Livin’
Review by Eileen Quaranto