Interview with South Rail
- by Dawn Reed
The Deli: How did the band start?
South Rail: Funny story! We all answered individual craigslist ads for a band called Crooked Tree about two years ago. After a year of playing in Crooked Tree, Ben, Jay and I started a smaller side project to take the gigs that Crooked Tree wasn't interested in. Turned out that people really liked the stripped down sound and South Rail took off pretty quickly!
What are your biggest musical influences?
Lara (Vocal/Keys): John Hiatt and Ben Folds are probably my two biggest musical influences, along with Norah Jones, Marc Broussard and Dar Williams.
Ben (Drums): I'm mostly influenced by drummers. Carter Beauford of Dave Matthews Band, Dennis Chambers, Steve Jordan, Chad Smith
Jay (guitar/vocals): So many! Just a few...on guitar, the three Kings (Freddie, B.B. and Albert), Clapton, Garcia, Marc Ford, Robert Cray, Ed Bickert, Wes Montgomery. Hendrix, of course. Muddy Waters and Delaney Bramlett are just a couple of my favorite singers.
What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?
Ryan Adams, American Aquarium, Jason Isbell, Wes Tucker and the Skillets, Matt Tarka, Norman Rockwell, The Walkaways, The Weathervanes, Belles and Hunters, Gov't Mule, The Tedeschi Trucks Band...
What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?
Lara: concert- Barenaked Ladies (it was awesome) album- it was a tape, but it was Mariah Carey's "Hero". I loved that song!!
Ben: concert - Rolling Stones, album - Green Day "Dookie"
Jay: concert - Hank Williams, Jr and Merle Haggard; album - either Beach Boys "Endless Summer" or Beatles "Love Songs."
What do you love about DC/VA's music scene?
We especially love that Roots/Americana music is...well...taking root in DC! We live in a transitory area of the country and it's been so nice to play with such amazing bands that are either passing through or also from around here. There is a wonderful sense of camaraderie between a lot of the Americana bands in the area, so much so that we go hang out at one another's shows if we have time. It's great to be a part of a family!
What would you like to see change in the local music scene?
I think more venues would always be a good thing. Talking to the touring bands that come through here, they've got it pretty rough trying to find venues that will take them without a built in crowd. South Rail loves playing out, and we'd like to do it as often as we can!
What are your plans for the upcoming year?
We've got big plans for this year. We're starting off with our first tour to the southern states coming up in two weeks- playing seven shows in six days through North Carolina and Tennessee and culminating back in DC at Hillcountry BBQ! Shortly after we're playing the Kennedy Center's Millenium Stage (Friday 9/27) which is something all of us are extremely excited about. After September settles down we're going to get back into the recording studio for some new listening material for our fans!!
What was your most memorable live show?
I'll preface this with saying that most of our shows are memorable because we love playing with each other, so every time we have a chance to hang out we're totally jazzed about it! Sappy, but true. In addition to that, I think my most memorable live show to date was our show with Sam Llanas, formerly of the Bo Deans, at Iota last month. Sam Llanas played before us and a lot of his fans stuck around to listen- they really enjoyed the music and were such a captive audience that it really gave us a chance to shine on stage. We also did a lot of new material that we don't normally do and it was great to get it out in a set!
Is there someone who has helped your band grow through support?
Definitely! Our families, Kickstarter supporters, Press i.e. Chris Richards (The Washington Post), Jane Roser (That Mag), Alan Haber (Pure Pop Radio), our amazing Street Team! We are very thankful.
Is there a piece of equipment you couldn't live without and why?
I think we would obviously have to say our instruments. Voice amplifies itself but we do need instruments to make the whole experience well rounded. Lara plays a Yamaha keyboard. Jay plays Fender and Gibson electric guitars as well as Gibson and Martin acoustic guitars. Ben plays Yamaha drums.