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Oklahoma Band Southall Reinvents the Country Wheel in Self-Titled Album (Review)

Oklahoma band Southall has been digging out their own auditorial vein since their early records FOR THE BIRDS and SIX STRING SORROW. Composed of Reid Barber, Jeremee Knipp, Braxton Curliss, John Tyler Perry and Ryan Wellman, the six-piece group has once again raised their game on their self-titled work, SOUTHALL.

Formerly known as Read Southall Band, the group has decided to rebrand itself as an authentic collaborative effort. Dubbed “a young Merle Haggard,” their newest body of work exudes nothing less. SOUTHALL fuses honky tonk and early rock components reminiscent of their earlier works while offering a brand new side of themselves.

The album opens with rockin’ “The Score” latent with Oklahoma Red Dirt lyricism and twang, while “When You’re Around” picks up the pace channeling more of the band’s rock makings. It’s lively and is driven by the guitar while fiercely complemented by Southall’s vocals.

”By Surprise,” written by drummer Reid Barber, is melodiously straightforward as they sing, “It’s right in front of you, it’s in disguise. / The More you look for it, the less you’ll find. / Between your fingertips, before your eyes / You’ve gotta learn to let it take you by surprise.”

Previously released single “Scared Money” set the tone for the rest of the album when it emerged over the summer. Produced by Eddie Spear who has worked with Zach Bryan, Cody Jinks, and Brandi Carlile, this tune was the first under the band’s new moniker and incorporates a bluesy tone familiar to the band. They’re putting their money where their mouth is as they set a soundtrack for the working man.

The album is riddled with differing musical pieces such as the fragments of metal you hear on “Out Alive,” the alt-rock guitar fret-work on “All I Have,” written by guitarist Ryan Wellman, and the bluesy, slow reverberation highlighting the song’s darker lyrics undertones on “Spit It Out.” Deceit, lies, and cheating. All the makings of a conventional country outlaw song. They sing, “I gave you everything you ever wanted / And you tore it all down.”

”Short and Sweet” closes out the record with a simple message, “Our story isn’t over until it ends.”

This collection will take you through a number of genre-bending bodies of work but is a must-listen for music fans all over.

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