If you’ve ever been to a Billy Reid party or runway show, you know the music is always half the fun. The girl responsible for that magic is Billy’s music events coordinator Shelly Colvin—an accomplished singer-songwriter in her own right. It’s her sharp musical taste, coupled with her unmatched style—a mix of bohemian gypsy with a strong rock-’n’-roll influence—that earned Shelly a spot on our list of 75 Most Stylish Southerners. Here she shares 10 of her favorite Southern bands shaking up the music world now.
1. The Weeks: “These Mississippi Longhairs put on the rowdiest shows I’ve been to in years—incredible lyrics and an incredibly fresh sound. Look out for a new version of their fan-favorite “Buttons” to be released this summer, and go see a club show as soon as possible before they outgrow the smaller venues.” Download: “Brother In The Night”
2. The Apache Relay: “Comprised of two brothers, Michael and Ben Ford, along with three of their former classmates from Belmont University, Apache is quickly picking up steam. The group released a great record, American Nomad in 2011, have often toured with Mumford & Sons, and are about to release their self-titled sophomore effort April 22. It’s a stunning piece of work, guaranteed to put a spring in your step. Download: “Katie Queen Of Tennessee”
3) Adam Faucett: “Over the last five years, Arkansas-native Adam released some of the best sounding records you can find. He is a serious and undeniable talent. His latest record, Blind Water Finds Blind Water came out March 11—check it out on iTunes, along with his previous release, More Like A Temple.” Download: “Melanie”
4) Nikki Lane: “This Nashville-based, South Carolina native is the real deal. Her savvy songwriting and smokey vocals captivate. Her new record, All Or Nothin’, produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, comes out May 6—it’s what JJ. Cale would’ve sounded like if produced by Phil Spector.” Download: “All Or Nothin”
5) Wild Cub: “Music partners Keegan DeWitt and Jeremy Bullock tapped into something that is exploding right now. You can hear their current single, “Thunder Clatter,” on TV commercials and radio stations all over the country. The record, Youth, is one of the most fun listens out there, reminiscent of Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Peter Gabriel, but still very much their own.” Download: “Thunder Clatter”
6) Roman Candle: “This family band has put out some of my favorite records for years. With husband and wife, Skip and Timshel Matheny, both English Lit majors, it’s no surprise their lyrics are sharp and thought provoking. The music is the kind best enjoyed sitting back, listening all the way through while sipping on a little bourbon.” Download: “Every Time”
7) Parker Millsap: “I just saw the 20-year-old perform this week and was blown away. He played on a bill with some of Nashville’s most accomplished artists at a private event and stole the show. Look out for tour dates with Old Crow Medicine Show this summer.” Download: “Truck Stop Gospel”
8) T. Hardy Morris: “Hardy is best known for his work in band, Dead Confederate, and more recently as co-founder of super-group Diamond Rugs with members from Deer Tick, The Black Lips, and Los Lobos. His recent solo release, Audition Tapes has been on repeat in my house since I heard him play at the Basement in Nashville earlier this month. Hardy’s depth as a songwriter matched with his Alex Chilton-esque vocals make his music undeniably great.” Download: “Audition Tapes”
9) Robert Ellis: “Robert is one of the best musicians I’ve come across in years. His unique vocal quality, songwriting capabilities, and level of musicianship put him in a rarified category. This young fella is gonna make great music for decades.” Download: “Good Intentions”
10) Caitlin Rose: “This gal has one of the most unique voices out there. Smooth and classic, reminiscent of Linda Rondstadt.” Download: “When I’m Gone.”
Check out Shelly and the rest of our Stylish Southerners.