Rocking Under the Radar: 500 Miles To Memphis

500 Miles to Memphis
Named for the distance from their hometown of Cincinnati to Graceland, 500 Miles to Memphis has created a charismatic brand of punk rock with an emphasis on the twang of Bluegrass and Country. Composed of Ryan Malott (vocals, guitar), Noah Sugarman (guitar, vocals), Jeff Snyder (bass), Kevin Hogle (drums), David Rhodes Brown (lap steel), Elaina Brown (keyboard, vocals), this cowpunk sextet  is sure to appeal to the masses.

This past February, the band released their third album We’ve Built Up to Nothing. The release was produced by platinum award-winning producer, Erwin Musper (Scorpions, Van Halen, Def Leppard, David Bowie, Mick Jagger) is a departure from their previous release Sunshine in a Shot Glass. While both albums were produced by Musper, the band said they took a different approach with the music composition and writing process which made for a whole new sound. “We experimented with different time signatures and rhythms. There are a lot more vocal harmonies, which is always fun. The guitars are huge too. Aside from that we used a lot of different instruments. We basically went back to our high school concert band roots and brought out a whole orchestra. Our keyboard player, Elaina, is a band director at a school here in Cincinnati, OH. Kevin, the drummer, has a bachelors in music education from Morehead State University where performed with the nationally recognized marching percussion ensemble. He toured the world over at a very young age. I played first chair trombone all throughout high school. It was a lot of fun composing all of the auxiliary instruments. The songwriting on this album is also different. I went at it in a different frame of mind. I pretty much wrote what I wanted to say and hear. Basically I wrote with reckless abandon without worrying whether or not these songs would be on a top forty list. Ironically they ended up turning out very accessible and more catchy than the last.”

500 Miles to Memphis has been featured on MTV’s Nitro Circus and American Movie Classics (AMC) and countless YouTube “extreme sports” videos by athletes such as Travis Pastrana. Their song “All My Friends Are Crazy” is now part of the Rock Band video game.

We’ve Built Up To Nothing features high tempo and stripped down punk riffs with a dash of honky tonk country and blues to create an truly eclectic sound. The album opens with fast paced punk flavored country of  “It’s Alright” and “Let It Go.” Things get kicked up a notch with the country fiddle on songs like  “Six Foot Hole” and “Barfly.” Malott delivers lyrics in an upbeat manner getting you excited for songs about lover’s lament and drowning your sorrows in whiskey and bourbon. The fusion of punk and country makes for music that is a good time.

Stand out tracks: “Let It Go,” “It’s Alright,” “Shots,” and “Lead Me On”

For more information on the band check out MySpace and see them perform live this Wednesday, April 21st, at The National Underground in NYC. Get We’ve Built Up To Nothing

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