Artist of the Month

On a monthly basis, spotlights a Georgia artist that we feel is furthering their career in country music. Below is our current artist of the month. We hope you enjoy reading their interview and getting to know this artist more. Be sure to check out their music, videos and schedule for the month. If you are a Georgia-based artist, 18 and over, and would like to be considered for Artist of the Month, please contact us with your name and a website to review.

Our May Artist of the Month are The Plott Hounds. Below is our interview with the band as they talk about their music and career.

GC: Lets get everyone familiar with the band. Take us around the band with introductions and their role.

PH: We are a family of musicians of sorts with an often rotating cast of characters. However our foundation lies with myself, Noah Alexander - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Jeff Powell - Lead Guitar, Shea Marana - Bass Guitar and Ross Schulz - Drums & Percussion. Aside from us, we have been extremely fortunate to of had some amazing musicians record with us and go on tour with us and all of them are very much a part of our sound and our development. Josh Braun - Pedal Steel, Colin Wymore - Slide Guitar, Zach Sershon - Keys/Organ, Amanda Drish - Violin/Fiddle, Ansley McAllister - Vocals, Percussion and we also hope to keep adding to The Plott Hounds "Family Band".. We consider it an honor when such great musicians want to come out and be a part of our music and we always say the more the merrier! IF we could fit 20 players on stage we would..but logistically, it does not always work out that way!

GC: Take us back to the beginning. When the band formed and how?

PH: The beginning really started last April, yeah April of 2014 - we are just over a year into this awesome journey. It started with Shea & Jeff , whom played in a band together previously, looking to start a new project. I eventually got connected with them online and from day one it has been a mad dash. You start with an idea and a concept, usually based off of musical influences you have picked up over the years and then you get to work, looking for other players to help breathe magic and life into the songs that are up in your head and that is exactly what we did and we have not looked back since.

GC: Where did the name "Plott Hounds" come from?

PH: A little over 2 years ago my wife and I were at a party of sorts and we stumbled across a littler of puppies running wild. Initially concerned with their well being we tried to hunt for the owners to see what their "story" was. Low and behold, they were an accidental litter and the owners could not care for them and were hoping folks would adopt them and take them home. Sure enough, one came home with us. The pups were all "Plott Hounds" and I immediately became fascinated with the breed. From their ties to the region that holds my heart and soul, from their history of being one of the only breeds whose lineage is purely American, to their quirkiness, loyalty, fierceness.. Our Plott Hound Willie (named after Mr. Nelson) truly became the inspiration for the band name. Folks in the band, Me included, have strong ties to the Applachia region of the United States which is where The Plott Hounds Breed originated from.. Ansley McAllister is from Franklin NC and I am from a little town north of Georgia. The name reflects our American & Southern Heritage that is heard in our music.

GC: Even though a young band, you have allot of Allman Brothers & Lynyrd Skynyrd influence in your music. How did those two bands influence you all?

PH: There is music, and then there is music that inspires you and moves you. To me, you would be hard pressed to find an era in American music as rich as the Southern Rock movement in the mid 70's. From Skynyrd to the The Allmans to Marshall Tucker & Molly Hatchet & Charlie Daniels Band...Those guys defied genres, they told stories and brought instrumentation to the forefront. There is something about band dynamics and placing as much value on the instruments and sound as one does with the vocals..when you do that it is as if the whole group is singing together and it makes for a more powerful song. That is where I pull ALL of my influences from, they were my musical heroes and that sound is what drives me in my songwriting. It also enables you to pull in the best of country, the best of blues and the best of rock and we certainly enjoy touching on all of those areas in the musical spectrum. We want to make music that makes you feel something, and those bands I listed above certainly lit a spark in me.

GC: Your song "Southbound" recalls your love for Georgia. How did that song come about?

PH: It sounds like such a cliche but being southern is almost as much as a state of mind as it is about your geographical location and for me it almost as to be as I now spent a large amount of my time in the mid west. After living my whole life in Georgia, I headed to Iowa for college...that song was written about my road trips home, often times solo. I enjoyed the open road so much, I enjoyed the adventures it gave me.. From making one night stops in Nashville and hitting up the town by myself, to winding through the beautiful blueridge mountains on down into TN and to eventually pulling into my home in Georgia, which will always be my home. Georgia raised me and it made me who I am today. I wanted to capture the journey I went on, the feelings I felt... Have you ever been in your car driving and all the sudden the sun looks a bit brighter, the sky a bit bluer, the air a bit warmer, the smell a bit sweeter? That is how I felt when I crossed that mason dixon line..and that is what I wanted to describe in that song. There is a feeling and an ideology of southern warmth..rooted in history,,rooted in tradition...I can feel it now just talking about it.

GC: You're obviously not straight up country, but country is part of your sound. What country acts have influenced you all the most and how?

PH: Frankly I am not sure what "Country" is these days and I am not sure many others do either. Would Skynyrd & The Allmans Be considered country in today's market? I think they would... take a look at bands like Blackberry Smoke or The Cadillac Three, heck even Zac Brown Band, they are all having tremendous success in the "Country Market" but to me resonate more with old school southern rock. However, you know a traditional country song when you hear one..take a listen to Sturgill Simpson's new record, or listen to some of the Outlaws coming out of Texas like Jackson Taylor or Randy Rogers, Jason Boland or Wade Bown. You can still find that all over, now there are just a million shades of it and I think that is great. There is absolutely something for everyone in this genre and instead of folks fighting on what is country and what is not I think we should be fortunate to have so many different flavors. Country music will always be the best for telling a good story.That is the core of Country, storytelling...I describe our band as country storytelling with a rock & roll back bone. Some of the Country boys & gals that inspire and influence me (aside from the ones above) are Georgia great Alan Jackson (the best ever in my book), Waylon Jennings, Eric Church, Turnpike Troubadors and I might get crap for this but I love Miranda Lambert..I would pay big money to listen to her sing all day and every day. We are part hippie, part redneck ;)

GC: With you having that different sound, where do you see the future of country music going?

PH" I really don't know but I hope it continues to grow and evolve and I hope it continues to provide opportunities for artists like it has for us. You mentioned it before, we are obviously not straight up traditional country but the fact that the genre has grown and opened its arms to bands like us is so important to me and I am thankful for it. Without the broadening of the genre I am not sure we would of been able to have our music heard on "Country Radio" so we are thankful for the folks that have blazed that trail in-front of us. I love all music, it is good for the soul and I may be on the outside of this but the more the merrier. If a song has story worth being told, I don't tend to worry about if it is country or not. I believe our songs resonate to the country audience because of what they are about, not because of, or in spite of ,the fact we have 3 or 4 electric guitars, or we don't have a fiddle or banjo on every track (although that would be cool..know any killer banjo players?)

GC: In the past year, the band has gone from being just another local band to playing all over the country. What has been the bands favorite place to play and why? We are beyond fortunate to of gained as much momentum and support as we have in such a short period of time. I believe in building this thing one by one, one fan - one person at a time and that is what we are out there doing. We have played small bar room honky tonks to a major festivals and event centers and alot of the times we are just flying by the seat of our pants. Work hard, give it all you got and don't be afraid to make mistakes..that is really how we have been doing it. It's an amazing privilege to be able to play your music and have someone actually want to listen to it. That feeling will never deteriorate and that is what drives us as a band. I would say our favorite places to play would be the out door festivals we get to be a part of. Music, cold beer, and a little sunshine go together really really welll so when we can add our music to that equation, and hopefully make some friends along the way..that is our favorite playing scenario. I can't name a bar or a specific event because we really do feel grateful for every opportunity we had.

GC: If you could open up for one act, who would that be and why?

PH: I can't just say one so I am going to give you a hyypothetical answer.. I know I am being difficult but here it goes... I would like to go back in time, tell Ronnie and Steve & the rest of the Skynyrd Boys to not get on that plane, I would like to find Duane and tell him to stay of that Harley and then I would want the opportunity to play a festival show where we open, followed up by Sturgill Simpson, Waylon Jennings, Eric Church and then Skynyrd & The Allmans. What an amazing day that would be, I would never want it to end. But since I do not have the power to change fate or go back in time, I think it would be pretty amazing to open up for Eric Church. I have learned a lot from him (from afar)..from his work ethic, from his connections to his fans, from his song him or hate him..he is who he is and he has earned my respect.

GC: What does The Plott Hounds have planned for the rest of 2015?

PH: Alot! and we are excited about it.. Right now we are wrapping up our first professional full length record titled Living Free...named after our title track Living Free or Dying To Try. It is slated for release this July. Tracking completes this week and then it is off to be mixed and mastered. There are some traditional country songs on that record that will resonate with the old school country folks and there are also plenty of southern rock tunes with some blues flair for those who want to crank it up to 11. After that we will be on the road initially touring very heavy in the Mid West region and then Next fall we will be heading down south for a bunch of tour dates over TN, GA, KY, NC, SC and Florida so get ready. We are coming for ya.