Music Review

 

A little Off The Cusp New Band South Hill Banks Bring To Life Appalachian Blues 

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The world in which we live seems to become more urbanized into a concrete jungle with each passing day, while simultaneously, becoming harder to locate those spots of nature that are relatively untouched by the hands of man. As a favorite hobby by many, hiking into an area that offers a serenity and calmness away from the busyness of modern day life, can bring peace to the soul and a way to reconnect with moments that are truly important in life. The fresh air that’s free of pollution; a quiet solitude in the sounds of wildlife; an indescribable vista that creates favorite memories both old and new. Our daily lives have become so entrenched with the rat-race, we often forget the need to appreciate the planet we live on called Earth. It is our home and it is one that needs to be taken care of as an act of gratitude for providing us with the resources to not only survive but to thrive. Imagine what seven billion people could accomplish if we loved each other, and our planet, a little more. In their new single, ‘Appalachian Blues’, South Hill Banks captures the haunting feeling of traveling alone and the lessons learned with a psychedelic jam sound that still draws from traditional bluegrass music.

 

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South Hill Banks is a 5-piece bluegrass band based out of Richmond, Virginia, consisting of Eric Horrocks (Mandolin, Vocals), Ryan Horrocks (Banjo,  Vocals), Lance Thomas (Acoustic Guitar, Vocals), Dan Fiasconaro (Electric/Acoustic Guitar, Vocals), and Matt Eversole (Upright Bass, Vocals). Their musical influences are a wide range both individually from traditional bluegrass, blues, rock and roll, classic rock, jam, and as a band including Tony Rice, Sam Bush, Phish, Greensky Bluegrass, Bill Monroe, Led Zeppelin, and Tom Petty. They also have quite the variety of how each member got started in playing music, according to the band, “We all have different backgrounds in regards to how we came into playing music such as being classically trained on the violin, played jazz and band growing up, or taking guitar lessons.” When asked about the origins of how they met and their band name, they respond, “We started out as a three-piece (banjo, mandolin, and acoustic guitar). Eric Horrocks had a surprise party for his brother Ryan Horrocks. Lance Thomas attended, which Eric had never met, and they jammed into the night. A few months later, they started South Hill Banks. Later, Dan Fiasconaro joined, and a few months later Matt Eversole joined as well. Ryan and Eric Horrocks have a river home off the Rappahannock River in Center Cross, Virginia. The community is called ‘South Hill Banks’. We had a very close friend that passed away that once called us the ‘South Hill Banks boys’.”

Their newly released single, ‘Appalachian Blues’, features lightning fast acoustic and banjo guitars, incredibly smooth vocal harmonies, a foot-tapping rhythm of upright bass and mandolin, the haunting sounds of a fiddle, and an electric guitar solo that mixes both country and blues. As for the inspiration behind their single, Lance Thomas explains, “I used to work at The Homeplace in Roanoke and saw and met a lot of people from the Appalachian Trail roll through there because our family allowed them to camp on-site at our restaurant. The song is a portrait of the people I met and their stories as they hiked the Appalachian Trail.”

Curious if they had any wisdom to share, I asked the band if there was a single message they could put out there to make the world the kind of place that they would aspire to live in, what would that message be and why was it so important, the band replied, “We wish to spread our music as far and wide as possible because it is the single thing that can inspire, heal and bring truth to the world to open people’s minds to possibilities, encouragement, and peace.”