Tag Archives: Southern Rock

Scooter Brown Band Impresses

The Scooter Brown Band Impresses Opening for Charlie Daniels Band

Upon arriving at the Florida Theater to see the Charlie Daniels Band perform, I did not know there would be an opening act performing. After discovering who The Scooter Brown Band was, I ended up being more than pleasantly surprised by this new act’s bold southern rock sound and sexy yet down-home stage charisma.

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RIP Butch Trucks

RIP Butch Trucks, Longtime Allman Brothers Drummer

RIP Butch TrucksI suppose it is ineveitable as our classic rock heroes close in on their 70’s (and 80’s), but it’s never easy losing a rock music legend.  Today the ock universe lost the man who defined Southern Rock drumming.  Butch Trucks was the freight train who powered  Suthern Rock pioneers as one of their original drummers.  He passed away earlier today of unknown causes.

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Sweet Guitar Rock from Brother Hawk

RARAsFarm JB Brisendine of Brother HawkStraight-forward Southern guitar rock seems to be a sadly diminishing genre these days, but this weekend, I had the chance to enjoy some sweet, bluesy rock when Atlanta’s Brother Hawk made a soulful tour stop at Will’s Pub in Orlando.

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The Curt Towne Band plays Killer Acoustic Show

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The Curt Towne Band

Welcome Southern Rock Music fans, HappyJack is back with another article on one of the South’s favorite new Southern Rock bands.

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I was born here and I still live here in Jacksonville, Florida, home to many popular artists, particularly Southern rockers. Many bands and artists in this town are connected – like family – to each other, because of the music and the friendship this genre brings.

This is the hometown of Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 Special, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, The Curt Towne Band and many more great artists.

I was raised on the West Side of Jacksonville, where most of these bands were formed, and I ran into members of these bands all the time. When I  was 16, I actually bagged groceries at Winn Dixie each week for Lacy Van Zant, father of Ronnie, Donnie and Johnny Van Zant.

I remember running into Larry Junstrum (.38 Special ) every month at a local restaurant on Normandy Blvd. and running into Donnie Van Zant at a Grainger’s Lumber store and Johnny Van Zant at another grocery store in the same area. For a Southern rock fan, life is great in this town of Jacksonville.  Seeing these guys around town, not hiding themselves, and acting like normal people was so cool.

And, there are plenty of others who were raised with Skynyrd connections, like local rocker Curt Towne.

Curt has enjoyed the friendship with members of Skynyrd since he was knee high, as he lived just a couple of doors from Allen Collins, and he was able to talk and become friends with him, along with other members and many other bands.  Growing up with these Southern Rock Music Legends, the personal journey of Curt Towne is seen deeply in his new band, The Curt Towne Band, with every song they play.

And of course, this band has opened recently for the best in the industry – Montgomery Gentry – along with a benefit show with hometown heroes of Southern Rock, Molly Hatchet (Bobby Ingram, Tim Lindsey, Dave Hulbek). The Curt Towne Band has been busy recording new tracks in between concert dates – getting down the final touches on the new CD.

I had the chance to catch up with them again recently backstage on tour with Montgomery Gentry and I was surprised to see them announce a special intimate acoustic show to showcase the talents of each member of The Curt Towne Band.

As I stood backstage, I also ran into Bobby Ingram (Molly Hatchet) and his wife who were also there to support The Curt Towne Band and witness the history the band was making tonight in front of 6,000 fans who came from many miles away to see the band and hear the music that has been missing from real Southern Rock. A fantastic double bill show, The Curt Towne Band and Montgomery Gentry, which was a sell out.

The band starts off the show with a great upbeat song instantly bringing fans up out of their seats to dance to the music. The crowd was wonderful with so many in attendance tonight wearing a limited edition black tee-shirts. These black shirts were purchased at earlier shows and no longer in print; seeing all of those shirts showed all in attendance that this band has a following long before the major acts started calling them to open their shows.

We saw hundreds in attendance wearing the black shirts and then watched new fans grabbing everything they could from the merchandise table. The band offered CD’s, shirts, and other great items – while fans stood in line patiently waiting their turn to order, this band gave the headliner a run for the money on total tee shirt sales.

Meanwhile – the band itself is playing song after song from their debut EP, and also added in new unreleased material into the mix, instantly gratifying everyone in attendance. The music was outstanding, in full acoustic sound, with all of the songs that this band has recorded, along with a few new ones – a treat!

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Lead Singer / Songwriter / Guitarist – James Aaron has such a good voice, like a young Bob Seger. He boasts a perfect range with a rough balance. Watching him, you see how passionate he feels about his work, belting out verses that hooks you and grab your attention. He has the ability to put it on the line with a powerhouse voice. The fans listened and when each song is over they all instantly raised there hands in appreciation. It feels so good to be witnessing the beginnings for this much sought after band tonight.

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Lead Rhythm Guitars – Curt Towne, the man with all the experience, all the chords, all the hooks that make this band rock. I’ve met him a few times and he is one of the nicest guys, always receptive, always caring about your conversation with him. He instantly proves his roots with the first song, a dedication to the Southern Rock music genre as he follows in the footsteps of his industry elders. Ronnie Van Zant would be proud of his songwriting, and the fans have made it clear, they love every song he performs with his hard working band. The ability to play chords and change the feelings in each song is simply amazing to see and hear. This band’s music reminds me of the “Nuthin’ Fancy” era recordings of Lynyrd Skynyrd – All classics, all heartfelt. The Curt Towne Band will be around for a long time.

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Bass Guitars – Greg Wilson Thompson is as versatile as you can get. Greg plays heavy bass and has experienced playing and touring with many bands including a band called THE LESLIE HAWKINS BAND formed by one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s back-up singers. The solid foundation he plays today at this event makes the band stand out as a contender in the highest regard for a new Southern Rock music era.

The band closes with “Long Live My Country”, a must hear tribute song to the beliefs of this band: freedom, religion, gun rights and life.

This song means so much to many people already. It is their anthem, the type of song that any band would want to have as a closer. This song grabs everyone that hears it and brings them in closer. It builds with excitement on every verse and ends with a feeling of being blessed.

I was blessed myself to be part of it all.  I can’t wait for the new album and another great tour from this band.

Thank you to The Curt Towne Band for standing out in this showcase concert for the fans tonight, and the industry reps in attendance.

I’ll be back again with another great story from the band soon, in the meantime look for their music on iTunes and other fine retailers.

HappyJackthe insider on what’s happening in music in Northeast Florida every month right here!
92.1 FM Radio

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“Southern Thunder Project” – CD Review

Full Throttle Heart Album Review

Hello Rarasfarm.com Fans – HappyJack is back with another cool CD Review: Southern Thunder Project’s – “Full Throttle Heart” 

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Southern Rock ‘n Roll has been getting a lot of attention across the world lately, and I am excited to have the chance to review a CD from this music genre. I, along with millions of others, have enjoyed the attitude and heartfelt songs many famous Southern Rock bands have recorded over the years. So many great bands – Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker Band, Outlaws, Molly Hatchet and Charlie Daniels to name a few; we love them all.

Now, a new generation of wonderful Southern Rock Bands have emerged on the music scene – bringing the fans new songs and stories.

Today we have a compelling new album, the Southern Thunder Project, featuring the following esteemed contributors:

Gary STP Gary Jeffries Lead Vocals / Guitar / Harmonica / Gary Jeffries Band – based in Ohio
 Boone  STP Boone Froggett  Lead Vocals / Guitar / Slide / OTIS Band – based in Kentucky.
 Chris STP Chris Walker – Guitar / Chris Walker Band – based in England.
 Larry STP Larry Velez – Guitar / Studio Musician – based in Indiana.
 Steve F STP
Steve Fletcher – Bass / Gary Jeffries Band – based in Ohio.
 Steve J STP Steve Jewell Jr – Guitar /  OTIS Band – based in Kentucky.
 ME STP John Rehmel Guitar / Songwriter / Founding Member / Asst.Producer /  based in Indiana.
 Randy STP Randy Trent – Drummer on 11 songs / Gary Jeffries Band based in Ohio.
 Andrew STP Andrew GilpinDrummer on 2 songs / OTIS Band – based in Kentucky.

The CD was recorded in Lewis, Indiana at Chief Lemon Head Studios and is produced by Curt Hall


Track #1 – Full Throttle Heart

This is the title track – think Southern Rock , Biker Rock, and Blues. Nice opening song for the band – great classic gravelly vocals – lead guitars sneak into the bridge wonderfully.  Listening to this song makes you interested in every song on the CD – very organic – great bass guitar hook. Drumming is not rushed – and played with exactness making every hit pronounced perfectly – a treat to hear.

Gary Jeffries –Vocal and guitar, Steve Jewell Jr.-guitar, Steve Fletcher-Bass, Randy Trent-drums, Chris Walker-Guitar solo.  Song written by John Rehmel / Steve Jewell Jr. / Gary Jeffries


Track #2 – Daisy

This is a great second track on the CD making you want to jump up and do something – a fun song. High energy – using the coolest slide guitar along with the rhythm guitars – playing power chords together. Bass guitar is really working the hook – and sounding great all the way through – nice petals. Song has a Boogie Woogie style that grandpa would be proud of – a toe tapper indeed. The drummer had to be exhausted – bam bam bam bam – nonstop sweaty fun. Vocals feature a rare voice that commands attention – Southern style!

Boone Froggett-Vocal and guitar, Steve Jewell Jr.-guitar, Steve Fletcher-Bass, Randy Trent-drumsSong written by John Rehmel / Boone Froggett


Track #3 – Nothing To Hide

Fine storytelling – great vocals with excitement builds slowly to the last word. Rhythm guitars are in full force, playing together as one – and breaking off to solo – wonderfully executed. The harmonica brings out the flavor of the South – with a strong vocal to back it up during the song. Drummer and Bass player lay the foundation on this song – thick and crisp – a magical beat. This is the perfect song to listen to while fishing, or any sport you love.

Gary Jeffries-Vocal, guitar and harmonica, Steve Jewell Jr.-guitar, Boone Froggett-guitar, Steve Fletcher-Bass, Andrew Gilpin-drums. Song written by John Rehmel / Steve Jewell Jr.


Track #4 – Destiny

Rock ‘n Roll ballad with heartfelt vocals. Nice production – could be released as a single down the line. Feels like you’re daydreaming – a song makes you stop and think about yourself. Bass is slowly thumping with softness that the song needs to break free of any restraints. I can see the fans, hands in the air – waving from left to right to the drummer’s beat.

Boone Froggett – Vocal and guitar, Steve Jewell Jr.- guitar, Steve Fletcher – Bass, Randy Trent – drums, Chris Walker – guitar solo.  Song written by John Rehmel / Boone Froggett


Track #5 – Little Miss Rock ‘n Roll

Song sounds like a mix of Z.Z. Top and The Dr. Hook Medicine Show. Steady drumming with nice cymbal accents bring the song alive. Vocals and the bass guitars sound great – lead guitar solo’s are fresh every time you hear it. Great build up and ending – should be a popular track at every show.

Gary Jeffries – Vocal and guitar, Steve Jewell Jr. – guitar, Steve Fletcher – Bass, Randy Trent – drums. Song written by John Rehmel / Steve Jewell Jr.


Track #6 – Camouflage Man

Dark and gritty – just the way we like it – Southern fried, to satisfy! Great story played with passion – the band comes together on this one perfectly. Vocals are coming through with fierce testimony – you’ll like the backwoods vibe. Singer reminds me of Black Oak Arkansas Go Jim Dandy Go! Hands down, with the dueling guitars, this track is gonna be the fan’s favorite – deadly.

Boone Froggett – Vocal  and guitar, Steve Jewell Jr.-guitar, Steve Fletcher-Bass, Randy Trent-drums and Larry Velez-guitar solo. Song written by John Rehmel / Boone Froggett


Track #7 – Stormy Weather Blues

Flashback – this track sounds like a classic song from yesterday, with a new horizon. Pat Travers Band would be proud of this effort – great production with guitars front and center. Bluesy Rock with double barrel guitars a blazing. Solid bass line – solid blues vibe. You’ll be playing this CD everyday, the songs don’t stop growing on you!

Boone Froggett – Vocal and guitar, Steve Jewell Jr. – guitar, Steve Fletcher – Bass, Randy Trent – drums, Larry Velez – guitar solo. Song written by John Rehmel/Boone Froggett   


Track #8 – Outlaw In Me

Instantly starts off sounding like a classic “Lynyrd Skynyrd” song (from the original line up). Slide guitars – duel guitars – both blended to make this song stand out. Vocals are amazing as he reaches new heights and sounds classic at the same time. Drummer and the bass player are solid as always, they know exactly what this song needs. Great songwriting – songs like this take experience, life’s ups and downs and true feelings.

Gary Jeffries – Vocal and guitar, Steve Jewell Jr. – guitar, Steve Fletcher – Bass, Randy Trent – drums. Song written by John Rehmel.


Track #9 – Lone Wolf Blues

Another great Southern Rock / Boogie Woogie song that captures the band in their prime. Vocals are strong – sung with emotion – grabs your attention to what is being said in the song. Guitar pickin’ at it’s best – these guys have it down pat. To have this many great songs on one album is a wonderful experience.

Boone Froggett-Vocal and guitar, Steve Jewell Jr.-guitar, Steve Fletcher-Bass
Randy Trent-drums, Chris Walker-guitar solo. Song written by John Rehmel / Boone Froggett


Track #10 – Back Road Traveler

This song has the hooks that everyone will love, just when you weren’t expecting it. Remember Stevie Ray Vaughan?  This song leaps off the album as a great effort from  the band. Nice lead solos – the guitarist have spent their lives mastering this stuff. Perfectly paced and it makes a well rounded hit.

Boone Froggett-Vocal and guitar, Steve Jewell Jr.-guitar, Steve Fletcher-Bass, Randy Trent-drums, Larry Velez-guitar solo. Song written by John Rehmel / Boone Froggett


Track #11 – Slow Movin’ Train

The second slow ballad. Wonderfully mixed slide and rhythm guitars – organic and fresh. A storytelling song that brings out your own feelings when hearing it – guaranteed to grow on you instantly. This is the song that the ladies will want to slow dance to. Bass player takes the time to make every note pronounced in a way that keeps you hungry for more. I thought I was hearing a Kid Rock song – a cool ballad with a Southern sound.

Gary Jeffries-Vocal and guitar, Steve Jewell Jr.-guitar and B3 Hammond, Steve Fletcher-Bass, Andrew Gilpin-drums. Song written by John Rehmel / Steve Jewell Jr.


Track #12 – Living Proof (Sandy Hook Song)

Acoustic surprise opening, with electric guitars coming soon after – a treat for my ears. Perfect production – a local fan favorite that has ability to change the way you think about things. Guitars are in full swing and not missing a lick – these guys have the riffs that match the vocals.

Gary Jeffries-Vocal and guitar, Steve Jewell Jr.-guitar, Steve Fletcher-Bass, Randy Trent-drums
Background harmony vocals-Boone Froggett, Steve Jewell Jr., and Andrew Gilpin. Song written by John Rehmel / Steve Jewell Jr.


Track #13 – Bringin’ The Bacon Home

Great closing song – I thought I was hearing a early .38 Special song, but this song is all Southern Thunder Project, with each member bringing out their best. Makes you wanna grab the motorcycle throttle and crank it to drive 100 MPH. A great finale to a wonderful release from the guys – this album will be a fan favorite for years.

Gary Jeffries-Vocal and guitar, Steve Jewell Jr.-guitar, Steve Fletcher-Bass, Randy Trent-drums, Chris Walker-guitar solo. Song written by John Rehmel / Steve Jewell Jr.


Thanks for reading the CD Review – please feel free to comment. Thank you to the band – and the band’s management team for the access. Great band – we can’t wait to see you on tour soon – we’ll keep the fans posted on your adventures.

Grab this CD now:

I had a great time reviewing this CD – and I am glad I have a copy, my friends will want it also.  Happyjack will be back with another album review right here. In the meantime, read my other stories in the archives.

Click the “Like Us” button on the band’s homepage page… And on this page.

Thanks to Rarasfarm.com magazine – for the best in music review and rock music features.

92.1FM Jacksonville

Okay, well if you made it this far in the article, you are obviously a rock music fanatic like the Rock And Roll Animals at RARAsFarm. Do us a big favor and like our Facebook page for future updates, rock news and photos. Thanks and please spread the word to other intelligent, creative, beautiful music fans like you 🙂


John Cranford Interview

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Cranford Hollow’s Frontman Discusses Their Unique Blend of Rock

I stumbled across this talented, hard rocking quartet in South Carolina recently, and loved their energetic and eclectic rock music. I had a chance to sit down with front man John Cranford to learn a bit more about the band, their influences and their future.

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Cretin: I caught Cranford Hollow performing in Hilton Head Island a few weeks ago and loved your band’s energy, and really liked your sound, very distinctive. How would you describe your sound?

John Cranford: We sort of coined this phrase low country stomp, which we are moving away from a little bit as we progress as musicians and songwriters. We started with this four-on-the-floor, kick drum shuffle beat, with crunchy rock ‘n roll punk rock guitar, and a fiddle. That was our initial sound that fit and it had a lot to do with our musical background.

Cretin: And where are you headed now?

John Cranford: It’s a blend of rock ‘n roll, Southern rock, this Appalachian Celtic fiddle thing and some pretty big influence from bands like Widespread Panic or Umphrey’s McGee. We’re not really a jam band, but we appreciate a lot of different kinds of music. We’re not limiting ourselves to any style, which I think is nice.

Cretin: The day I caught you, the sound was very diverse and eclectic and really kind of refreshing.

John Cranford: Any show we go to, no matter who is in the crowd, there seems to be something that anybody from any background or age can take away from the show, and that’s something that’s really important to us. It keeps the shows lively and keeps us from getting bored.

Cretin: That’s got to make it a lot more fun for you guys on stage.

John Cranford: It keeps you on your toes as a musician to constantly be changing up your style or your pace. It makes you a better musician and forces you to focus on the song a little bit more and the set a little bit more. We never write a setlist and we kind of leave it up in the air. We feed off of the crowd and what they are getting into.

Cretin: To be able to pull that off, you must know a crapload of music in your repertoire?

John Cranford: We started out as a fulltime cover band – that’s sort of how you get work in Hilton Head. Doing the bar band, cover band thing you could play almost every night in the summer. We had this long list of eclectic stuff from The Band, Van Morrison and some more obscure stuff, and some Widespread Panic and Johnny Cash. We tried to stay away from the cliché Top 40 stuff. Unfortunately we had to play “Wagon Wheel” for awhile.

Cretin: Of course.

John Cranford: Gradually, we kept writing new material and new sets of songs. Now we’re working on our fourth full record with all originals. It’s been a slow, but steady process of moving forward. It’s been a really nice transition coming into our own and being able to go out there and play our own stuff.

Cretin: The show that I saw you perform was a St. Patty’s Day event, and you boasted a definite Irish flair. Is that typical for you guys or just something special for the occasion?

John Cranford: That Celtic fiddle undertone thing, that’s pretty consistent. However on some of the new material, we’ve pulled back from that a little bit and we’re using the fiddle more as an orchestral instrument rather than a standalone voice. It’s called a reel the way Eric plays, sort of an authentic Irish reel. He plays between the vocals and fills in sort of like a lead guitarist would do.

Cretin: Nice version of “Oh Danny Boy” by the way. I’ve never heard that song anything like what you played.

John Cranford: Well, that’s an original. The song is actually called “Shine.”

Cretin: Well that would explain it.

John Cranford: I got the first part from the traditional “Oh Danny Boy” song. But, the song is actually about Stephen King’s book The Shining.

Grab the song on iTunes: Shine (Danny Boy) – Spanish Moss & Smoke

Cretin: Cool. I loved that book.
John Cranford: It’s kind of a children’s story about the book. When we were making the last record, Spanish Moss and Smoke, I was reading Dr. Sleep which is the second book in The Shining installment. It’s about Danny Torrance twenty-three years later and all of the skeletons in his closet.

Cretin: I definitely need to check that out.  So, who usually does the writing? Is that usually you or a group effort?

John Cranford: Phil and I do the majority of the writing. A lot of times I’ll start with something that’s pretty much done on guitar. Our bass player, Phil is a fantastic lyricist and he’ll add some cowboy chords. Then we’ll all sit down and work on that together and arrange it.

Cretin: Do all four of you arrange it?

John Cranford: Yeah, all four of us, based on the record we are working on now and Spanish Moss and Smoke. If it wasn’t written coming into the room, it’s written there. We kind of piecemeal it together. At least the three core members; we have had four drummers.

Cretin: So, you’re kind of the Spinal Tap of Hilton Head.

John Cranford: (Laughing) None of them have died or anything. All of them are still in good help and remain on pretty good terms with the band. It’s been tough, but I also feel it’s an important characteristic of the sound, as far as the rhythm aspect of the sound changes pretty often but the songwriting and structure of the songs is stylistically the same.

Cretin: So, who are some of the band’s influences? Any Irish punk types?

John Cranford: Well, Eric is a big Dropkick (Murphys) and Flogging Molly fan. I grew up in the early 90s of skateboarding and punk rock. I liked The Misfits, Ill Effects, and I loved some Beastie Boys, their late eighties stuff like License To Ill, before they got more hip hoppy. That kind of rock ‘n roll hangs on in my mind – that sort of thrash and bash.

I’m not really a guitar player by trade, I played jazz bass through college, so there’s some of that structural musical theory ingrained in me. Eric’s background is everything from Top 40 Country to bluegrass to Southern rap. And then Phil grew up in the Macon, Georgia scene where the Allman Brothers are god and everyone else falls on a scale somewhere below that. And, he’s still a pretty big jam band aficionado; Widespread and Umphreys obviously being the top of the tier.

Cretin: Good stuff.

John Cranford: When we go to Macon, and going to a show at The Cox Capitol Theatre, you’re going to see a lot of Fender Stratocasters and Les Paul’s. It’s this sound coming from Central Georgia that I don’t hear anywhere else, and a lot of the bands from there we hold in pretty high regard. The group the Matt Brantley Band blow us away every time. They’re an exceptional outlaw country, Southern rock band. So, we admire a lot of stuff from all over the board which may be why our live shows and records are all over the spectrum.

Cretin: Which I think is a good thing. I’m tired of hearing the same thing on the radio all of the time.

John Cranford: Unfortunately that’s where things have gone. You listen to Top 40 and everything sounds the same and anything that doesn’t fit that vibe is Indie, and I’m not sure where we fit. I don’t ever want to be in a rut where everything we write sounds the same. I want it to be different and open-ended and no right or wrong.

Cretin: I heard you’ve recorded in Florida?

John Cranford: We’ve recorded in Crescent Beach, just South of St. Augustine. Jim Devito, has a studio down there, Retrophonic Studios. It’s this huge room with every piece of gear that you ever wanted that was made before 1970, with a ton of vintage microphones, a big 24 channel console and a tape machine. It’s the real deal, but it’s so different with what’s going on these days with pro tools. Even though we used a lot of that in making our third record, there’s something amazing about that saturation on a tape machine, and that salty Florida air. We really like St. Augustine and the Jacksonville area.

Cretin: What’s on the horizon for Cranford Hollow?

John Cranford: We have a fourth album in the works, some songs that are very old and some new stuff that’s kind of way out of left field.

And, this Western market, this Colorado thing, it feels like home to us. It feels like Hilton Head. The people are receptive and they’re super warm. They take excellent care of us, and we love our booking agent, Rocky Mountain Artists. They do a fantastic job setting us up with great tours. I think we’ll hit this Colorado thing, and the Southeast and try to break in the Midwest market, and hopefully land some larger scale shows. I think the live show and the direction of the band is starting to settle into this place of its own and the sound is beginning to solidify into this thing. We’re putting more feeling than thought into the shows and I’m excited to see the direction of the band over the next few years.

Rock On!

Okay, well if you made it this far in the article, you are obviously a rock music fanatic like the Rock And Roll Animals at RARAsFarm. Do us a big favor and like our Facebook page for future updates, rock news and photos. Thanks and please spread the word to other intelligent, creative, beautiful music fans like you 🙂


The Curt Towne Band Interview

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Interview With The Curt Towne Band

Hello again to all our worldwide Rarasfarm.com Fans. Happyjack is back with another great interview from my hometown, Jacksonville, Florida – North Florida’s rock n’ roll hometown to many Southern Rock Legends.

Make sure you Like RARAsFarm’s Facebook Page and Follow us on Twitter for rock music coverage.

Here’s our February update:

This time we are proud to follow up on last month’s concert review with this month’s much anticipated Curt Towne Band Interview. These fresh young Southern Rockers from Jacksonville have been getting a lot of attention lately; most notably from major rock bands like Molly Hatchet, Lynyrd Skynyrd and others bands who request this hot act to open their shows. We’re talking shows on major cruise lines and in packed houses all over the country.

A couple months ago I met with band manager Brenda Alvarez Hays, and gained access to meet the band and take pictures for our magazine. This took place at a sold out Molly Hatchet concert who the Curt Towne Band opened for.

The place was humming with excitement the minute I got there. The front stage area was packed with fans trying to get closer to the opening band that they had heard so much about, a band mentioned in some industry circles as the new kings of Southern Rock. The band kicks off with some toe-tapping jams that put a smile on everyone’s face. Girls are dancing and guys are having fun, and it all fits perfectly with the locals’ Southern attitude.  Their hot new single “Whatcha Gonna Do?” is drawing a lot of attention.

The opening show lasted a good hour, leaving the fans wanting more. After they left the stage for the headliner to play, they came out to sign autographs for the happy fans who bought a ticket to see them.

Southern rock fans have been waiting for someone to take the reins and set the world on fire again. and this band is fast becoming a legend. I was amazed by the incredible passion this band has developed with their well-written music and ever-changing melodies that make you stomp your boots.

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Southern Rock fans can check out last month’s Concert Review with the Curt Towne Band here, or in our Southern Rock category in this magazine.

Now, let’s get closer to learning more about them.

Happyjack – Let’s start the questions. What was your first big break as a professional band?
Curt Towne, Guitar – Definitely the band’s first big break was being one of the headlining acts on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man Cruise this past November. Sharing the stage with the likes of Skynyrd, Blackberry Smoke and Foghat to name just a few of the other great bands on the cruise was an honor. Meeting the people on this cruise who are hungry for fresh, original material, who became fans, going out of their way to contact us, spread the word about us and ask us to come play in their locale has been an incredible experience.
James Aaron, Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar – Playing the Simple Man Cruise has to be the first big break for us. It has opened so many doors for us, especially the opportunity to plan a European tour for the Summer of 2015.
Mike “The Sultan” Cansler, Drums – The Simple Man Cruise is our first big break as a band. It gave us the opportunity to share the stage with great bands and artists, along with international recognition.

Happyjack – Highlight of your career so far?
Towne – Being able to share the stage with so many musicians who have been role models to me and have them respect this band’s music.
Aaron – Being a part of The Curt Towne Band has refueled my passion for my musical career.The energy/vibes of this band has taken my songwriting, playing and performing to new heights.
Cansler – Being blessed to share the stage with musicians I admire and having a bird’s eye view watching them do their “thang”.

Happyjack – Who inspired you to begin making music ?
Towne – The one artist who inspired me was Randy Rhoads. However, growing up around the members of Skynyrd, Blackfoot, 38 Special and Molly Hatchet also had an influence on me. As a kid hanging around Skynyrd’s Allen Collins, that was super cool! And Kiss’s Peter Criss, Ian Paice and Artimus Pyle were the ones who got me interested in music. However, it was Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne,Quiet Riot) who inspired me to play.
Aaron – Going to many Southern Baptist Gospel sings when I was young. Those groups were the ones who inspired me to begin making music.
Cansler – John Bonham, because he had the fattest groove and the coolest hippest drumbeats.

Happyjack – What’s next for The Curt Towne Band in 2015 ?
Group answer- Finish our debut CD and get it out to the fans, opening for national acts, touring, meeting and making many new friends on the road.

Happyjack – I’d never perform without …
Aaron – The belief and passion in what I am singing.
Cansler – Knowing the groove and beat of the music was real.

Happyjack – My most treasured instrument is…
Towne – 1972 Les Paul Black Beauty Custom named Norma Jean after my mom and Grandma
Aaron – Yamaha Drum Set
Cansler – DW Drums

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Happyjack – My favorite Music Artists…
Towne – I can’t pick just one-there are too many.
Aaron – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Cansler – Led Zeppelin

Happyjack –  The best fans are the ones who…
Group answer –  share the same or have equal passion for the music.

Happyjack – The city that has the best fans is …
Group answer –  The world wide city at sea, Simple Man Cruise!

Happyjack – Favorite track on the new EP?
Towne and Aaron – Whatcha Gonna Do ?
Cansler – Maybelline

Happyjack – When did you start playing?
Towne – I started playing the drums at 15 and began playing the guitar at 17.
Aaron – I was beating boxes at 8 years old, started playing drums at age 11 and began singing as well as drumming at age 13.
Cansler – At 16 when I sat down and started jamming to my dad’s stereo.

Happyjack – What does a new artist need to break out in the current rock business?
Towne – You must be true to yourself, passionate about the music you are making and use a grassroots method.
Aaron – You have to believe in what you are presenting to the crowd.
Cansler – Originality. You have to separate yourself from everyone else, marketing and grassroots.

Happyjack – How long did it take to get the EP completed? How long for the CD?
Group answer – 3 months for the EP. It will probably be 6 months for the CD, since we are only in the studio 2 to 3 days a month.

Happyjack – Why do you think The Curt Towne Band was selected to open for Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet?
Group answer – These bands believed in the strength of our music.

Happyjack – Songwriters today seem to lack inspiration. where do you as songwriters go for inspiration?
Towne – I get inspiration through life, the things myself and others have actually lived. My inspiration for songs has to be heartfelt and real.
Aaron – My inspiration comes from life experiences, conversations, personal experiences… real life.

Hey guys , thanks for spending a few minutes for the fans! We are very excited about the band’s future and want to be here for you all the way! Congrats on this year’s new tour schedule and we can’t wait to see you play live again. We will do a follow-up on the new EP with your insight to the songs, as I know you guys are in the studio wrapping up the new CD to be released later.

The band says thanks to Rarasfarm for being here for the fans and they can’t wait to see all of you on their new 2015 tour. Make sure you grab a very hard to get limited edition EP CD Single if you can.

Check out “Long Live My Country” on iTunes

Thanks again to Brenda Alvarez Hays for making this interview possible.

OK, Southern Rock Fans, thanks again for reading Rarasfarm.com, Florida’s rock music source, and please share our interview with friends and “LIKE US,” will ya? When you want to know what’s happening with your favorite bands that come through town visit www.rarasfarm.com, and remember me – Happyjack – the North Florida Music Insider who will be back soon with his Lynyrd Skynyrd concert Review.  In the meantime, read all of our Southern rock articles in our Southern Rock category at the page top.

Please feel free to comment below, where the band will see your thoughts, as well.

Okay, well if you made it this far in the article, you are obviously a rock music fanatic like the Rock And Roll Animals at RARAsFarm. Do us a big favor and like our Facebook page for future updates, rock news and photos. Thanks and please spread the word to other intelligent, creative, beautiful music fans like you 🙂


Crossfyre – Finland’s Southern Rockers Interview

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Interview With the Members of Crossfyre

HappyJack is back with another cool interview – This time it’s “Crossfyre” – Southern Rockers from Finland and the USA!

Make sure you Like RARAsFarm’s Facebook Page and Follow us on Twitter for rock music coverage.


Hello guys – glad to have you take a minute from your studio time and touring schedules to answer some questions for your dedicated fans,  When I heard you are playing Southern Rock in Finland, I had to check you guys out, and I was not disappointed in the music. I know that this band started in Florida, and now you’re playing to a lot of Southern Rock fans in Finland. How’s life on two Continents?

Who inspired you to begin making music ?

Michael “StarBuck” Majalahti – Lead Vocals – Black Sabbath
Dan Ronnbacka – Bass Guitar / Vocals – The Beatles
Jaakko Kinnari – Guitar – a Finnish band called Hurriganes
Jari Ravaska – keyboards – Billy Preston (Rolling Stones Organ Player)
Danny Cross – drums – The Beatles
Jay Jay Asikainen – guitar, backing vocals – Eric Clapton

What?s your current instrument gear ?

Ronnbacka – Fender Roscoe Beck five string and Gallien Krueger Amps
Kinnari – Fender Strat ’65 and an axe I put together myself from leftover parts I had lying around. And a Marshall Jubilee combo 50/25
Ravaska – Nord Electro 4
Cross – Custom made 28bd 14×14 tom 18×18 floor tom 14×8 DW Snare
Magnus Ljunqvist – Nord Electro 2
Asikainen – 335 Gibson and Fender deluxe-

My favorite track on the New “CROSSFYRE ” CD is ?

Majalahti – Ironhorse
Ronnbacka, Ravaska, Cross – Born To Be Free
Asikainen – Crying Heart

Dinner when on tour or event usually consists of ?

Ronnbacka  – Steak
Kinnari – Some kind of beef and fries with some kind of veggies and a salad
Ravaska – Hot dogs
Cross – A nice steak
Asikainen – Steak and salad

The best gift I ever received in this band is –

Majalahti – Meeting my wife
Kinnari and Ljunqvist – Playing on the Rock Legends Cruise
Asikainen – Touring in Europe

My most treasured instrument is?

Kinnari – My ’65 Fender Strat
Ravaska – Hammond B3
Cross – My old custom shop drums
Asikainen – My old Stratocaster

Favorite Music Artists? 

Majalahti – Motley Crue
Ronnbacka  – Deep Purple
Kinnari  – ZZ TOP
Ravaska – Pink Floyd
Cross – CCR
Asikainen – Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

When I’m looking to get inspired I ?

Majalahti – Look at my wife
Ronnbacka  – Play my acoustic bass on the couch
Kinnari – Sit down and play
Ravaska – Silence
Cross – Play on my acoustic
Asikainen – It comes when it comes

My favorite travel destination is ?

Majalahti – Japan
Ronnbacka – Rome
Kinnari – Northern California
Ravaska – London
Cross – Texas
Asikainen – Key West, Florida

The last song I listened to was ?

Majalahti – “Child of Light” by Abbot
Ronnbacka – “Dust In the Wind” by Kansas
Kinnari – “Mercenary Territory,” Little Feat
Ravaska  – Robben Ford
Cross – “Simple Man,” Lynyrd Skynyrd
Asikainen – “Feels like Rain”

The city that has the best Fans is …

Majalahti,  Ronnbacka, Ravasaka and Asikainen – Braunchweig Germany
Kinnari – Maybe one of them towns in Northern Finland. Kuusamo or Ivalo
Cross – I loved Poland this past summer tour

When did you start playing ?

Ronnbacka – My brother got me a bass guitar when I turned 14
Kinnari – Piano at the age of six
Asikainen – At the age of 13 

What does a new artist need to break out in the current Rock biz ?

Ronnbacka – Good original songs
Kinnari – Good songs recorded and produced well and an ability to perform live the way that’s is consistent with the sound on the records. And good connections and good luck…
Ravaska  – Social media
Cross – Exposure
Asikainen – Be different and original 

How much input did you personally put into the recording itself ?

Ronnbacka – I wrote all the bass tracks and backing harmonies
Cross – Songwriting and drums
Ljunqvist – Keyboard tracks
Asikainen – As much as possible 

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Why should Major Bands select you guys to open the shows ?

Majalahti – We have a good drive and a sound
Ronnbacka – Because we are nice people and we love to rock 

Today’s songwriters lack inspiration. Where do you, as a songwriter go to get that inspiration ?

Majalahti – To the gym
Ronnbacka – Everyday life
Kinnari – Me myself have to just sit down and not to give up
Ravaska – Travelling
Cross – From the blues and joy in life
Asikainen – From life

Why do you think there is such an interest in Rock music now ?

Kinnari – Many people are just fed up with the overproduced radio pop
Ravaska – Rock is coming back
Cross – People like real instruments

Did you get to enjoy yourself in the studio ? Highlights ?

Majalahti – I was sick the day I sang the lead voice overs, but like a miracle, I got the tracks down, like someone would say Hell Yeah !
Kinnari – All of it was fun
Cross – Hell Yeah!
Asikainen – Yes, getting to work with HANNU LEIDEN from HAVANA BLACK

What jobs do you currently work in between gigs and festivals ?

Majalahti – Pro Wrestler
Ronnbacka – IP support at a University
Kinnari – Some occasional computer repair stuff
Ravaska – Studio work
Cross – Restore cars

The new released hit single ” Born to be Free” is getting a lot of requests – What is the story behind the song ?

Majalahti – Life and freedom
Cross – Wrote the song a day before going to the studio Starbuck came in and wrote some of the verses and JayJay and Kinnari came up with the riffs end of story
Asikainen – Life goes on

Describe what this band is all about and the future goals of each member

Majalahti – Playing good music
Ronnbacka – Playing some good rocking music
Kinnari – Good bluesy rock and roll
Ravaska – Touring the world
Cross – Always been the music and touring and trying to get better at it !
Asikainen – All about some good old rock-n roll

Thank you to the Band’s Management Team, and thanks to Crossfyre, Finland’s Southern Rock Legends for answering questions for the fans.

Take time to get the new CD and Crank it Up!   Wait until you hear what Finland can do with Southern Rock. These guys love Skynyrd , .38 Special and Marshall Tucker Band (I do, too).

* We’ll see you guys on the road soon !  You guys Rock !


If you enjoyed the interview with the band – please be so kind to “LIKE US” on this page and save us as a Favorite on your Toolbar – to see our articles every week with Rarasfarm.com magazine.


HappyJack – Rarasfarm’s insider when it comes to Southern Rock N Roll, supporting music that you love to hear!  And, please check out the other articles I have written!   I’ll be back soon with another wonderful interview with out Favorite Bands – Cheers !


Okay, well if you made it this far in the article, you are obviously a rock music fanatic like the Rock And Roll Animals at RARAsFarm. Do us a big favor and like our Facebook page for future updates, rock news and photos. Thanks and please spread the word to other intelligent, creative, beautiful music fans like you 🙂