Local blues band is getting glowing reviews By Brandan Babineaux
My first exposure to the Owsley Brothers was in the back room of Seaside’s Central Square Records on Record Store Day in 2012. The first such day came in 2007 as a way for independent record stores to promote the unique culture surrounding over 700 stores in the U.S. and thousands of similar shops internationally. A major part of this event is not only new and limited releases of music but also in-store performances that happen throughout the day. Central Square Records has seen some amazing performances from all over the country in the little shop that sits above Sundog Books, but this hot new local group has quickly gained momentum. After that introduction, I thought that this power trio, which has since added a fourth member on keyboards, might be better known as the Owsley Brothers Experience.
Overdriven, sometimes clean but raw guitar, microphone set to A.M. mono sound, and a stage presence that is like nothing you’ve seen here on the Emerald Coast, the Owsley Brothers have to be seen live to fully appreciate who they are.
“The Owsley Brothers sound combines the earthiness of the north Mississippi hill country blues with the harder edges of punk and rock, while paying homage to pioneer rockers the Kinks, Black Sabbath and the Stooges,” says local music guru Ed Jack of Central Square Records. “The jewel in the crown, however, is Reynold’s inimitable vocal twang and lyrical style, which sets the band apart from any other act playing today.”
The band is comprised of Jerad Reynolds and Brian Wise, both who sing and play guitar, John Reinlie on drums and Zion Cochran on keyboards. The group was formed when Reynolds, hailing from Owsley Kentucky, having recorded his first EP (extended play) solo, posted the record on Bandcamp — a website that allows artists to sell their music and merchandise directly to their fans, and helps fans discover new music and directly support the artists who make it. The self-produced record took on a life of its own and he then found himself invited to play at the South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin Texas, a 10-day music and film festival hailed as is the premier destination for the discovery of new talent and original music.
Emerging from this invitation, the Owsley Brothers was born. All members share a rich and experienced musical resume. Reynolds and Wise were members of The Waco Ramblers, South Walton’s own Bluegrass group. Reinlie shares a busy schedule with the local favorite band Dread Clampitt, and Cochran contributes samples and electronic effects that round out the Owsley Brothers sound.
The group shares a style and sound similar to groups such as The John Spencer Blues Explosion, Tom Waits and Black Sabbath. They have performed at Music City Roots in Nashville, Tenn., the Five Spot in Atlanta, Ga., and the 30A Songwriter’s Festival.
Recently, R&G Productions, an agency out of Los Angeles that handles the band’s licensing, landed their music on FX’s “The League,” ABC’s “Revenge,” Showtime’s “Shameless” and FOX motorsports and commercials for DC shoes.
The band is currently recording in their new studio space in Point Washington. This third album will be pressed as a limited edition seven-inch single to be released on Record Store day April 20, and a Southeast summer tour is in the works.
Visit Central Square Records online