Read Southall, lead singer of his self-titled band, discussed the heart and soul that has gone into all of his lyrical projects, including the band’s most recent album release, “For The Birds,” in an interview with The Statesman.
The album dropped Oct. 22, containing songs that both adapt and cherry-pick from a multitude of genres — from classic rock to early grunge — but the expressive amalgamation can best be described by Southall himself:
“I would probably say rural rock and roll,” Southall said of the band’s sound. “Individually, everybody in the band is from … very rural areas, everybody went to school with a handful of people and had the small town vibe.”
Though Southall credits his music style to the humble upbringings of himself and his fellow bandmates: John Tyler Perry, Reid Barber, Jeremee Knipp, Braxton Curliss and Ryan Wellman. The creation of the band’s music is heavily influenced by the wider offerings of the world.
“Being able to go out into the world and experience things really really stacks your firewood … if you think of the creative process as a fireplace … to heat the home,” Southall said. “You’re gaining experience to even be able to feel.”
Thus, Southall is incredibly grateful to be back on tour after the pandemic pinned everyone, fans and artists alike, to their homes. Referring to the band’s latest tour stint, which began Aug. 28 in Denver, Colorado, Southall said, “It’s been incredible; it feels so good to be out on the road again being able to do what we loved, and it took a long time … it’s been really nice to kind of get some of that energy that was cooped up over a year of sitting at home.” That being said, Southall did find the time indoors to be creatively beneficial, as “Inspiration strikes when you’re more comfortable.”
“For The Birds,” the tour’s piece de resistance, began during the confined days of the pandemic. The refreshing and rejuvenating period at home allowed Southall and the band to churn out a masterful collection of music that involved a nuanced process between lyrics and instrumentation.
“This album in particular, a lot of it was instrumental and then lyrics,” Southall said.
The crew began with a set of demos, wherein Read’s lyrical genius “filled in with blanks.” Due to the combination of the produced instrumentals and novel lyrics, many of the tracks “change[d] a lot more sonically after the fact.” Southall enjoyed this particular process of creating music. “It kind of allowed me to have a lot more fun with it, rather than being [dragged] down one path,” he said.
As the tour has progressed, two tracks in particular have stood out in Southall’s mind as the most enjoyable to put together on stage: “‘DLTGYD [Don’t Let Them Get You Down]’ and ‘Rose Gold’ would be my two favorites to play live.” Southall was confident in the former’s success on the tour scene, stating that, “We started playing [DLTGYD] live before … it was ever out, and I think that it’s the one that I’ve been the most excited about.” The latter, however, came as a much appreciated surprise for Southall, despite the eagerness of his bandmates: “Rose Gold is the one that I kind of slept on, and everybody else in the band was like, ‘This is gonna be a favorite.’”
Read Southall Band — especially on their latest album — makes music for anyone and everyone. The elegant interactions between the vocal and the instrumental create a dozen mini masterpieces any baker would be jealous of, a set of songs that appeal to any listener, because, in Southall’s words, “music is so … universal.” Universal it is.