Southern Rock

Written by on February 3, 2015

southern rock

Southern Rock–Soulful Blend of Rock, Country, and Blues

Rock music as a genre started in the Southern United States, with the first wave of 1950’s rock and roll stars like Bo Diddley, Elvis Presley, and Buddy Holly hailing from the Deep South. Southern Rock is a derivative of the larger rock genre, but many have questioned it as a label for the music it encompasses. If rock originated from the South, then isn’t that name redundant and equivalent to “rock-rock”? Labels are tricky subjects, but the label proves useful in denoting the uniqueness of sound coming from Southern bands in the 1970’s and on.

Early precursors to Southern Rock were bands like Canned Heat, Grateful Dead, Quick Silver Massager Service and The Band in the 1960’s, who drew heavy influences from Southern blues, boogie, and country music. The genre really took off in the 1970’s, however, with the formation of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, a sensational group who combined elements of jazz, classical, country, and blues into their unique rock sound. Their long, innovative jams made for legendary performances–their live album At Fillmore East would be considered one of the best live albums ever released. The Allman Brothers Band was signed on to Capricorn Records, with both band and company based in Macon, Georgia. The recording company soon took on other bands with similar sounds, like the Marshall Tucker Band, Wet Willie, and Grinderswitch (Allman Brothers Band Roadies), all drawing heavy influences from the Allman Brothers Band.

A second wave of rock bands from the South emerged in the early 1970’s, most famously Lynrd Skynrd from Jacksonville, FL, Molly Hatchet, and .38 Special. These groups emphasized boogie rhythms, fast guitar leads, and lyrics resonating with the aspirations, hardships, and values of Southern working-class young adults. Not only did these bands connect with the younger generation, they were also politically active and liberal–many played for and openly supported Jimmy Carter’s presidential candidacy in 1980.

The high of the genre faded out in the 80’s and 90’s, with both icons The Allman Brothers Band and Lynrd Skynrd broken up. But in 1989 the Allman Brothers Band reformed with the addition of Warren Haynes and Allen Woody in the group. Warren a magical guitar player has since formed Gov’t Mule and he is one of the most popular musicians in the world! The musical sound from that era continues to inspire artists and many continue to combine elements of the genre with their own. The legacy of Southern Rock lives on.

Deep Jams broadcasts classic rock, jam bands, and much more 24/7. Tune in to our Duane Allman Hour every Thursday at 5pm PST, and House of Haynes–4 hours of Warren Haynes, every Sunday from 7am-11am PST! Along with Warren Wednesdays every Wednesday…

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