I’m a fan of Southern rock music, as was my father before me. In his new book Southbound An Illustrated History of Southern Rock’, author Scott B. Bomar details the birth, growth, spread and eventual dominance of Southern rock music with never before seen photos and in-depth stories of the bands that played it.
A testament to the book is the forward written by Doug Gray, lead vocalist of the popular Marshall Tuck Band. Gray extols his confidence in Bomar to tell the story of Southern rock music and carry on the torch to the next generation of upcoming musicians.
Before you even read the book I suggest you flip through the chapters and linger on some of the historic photos that will remind you of the great songs, albums and musicians from this genre. The two bands that most heavily covered in the book are the recently disbanded Allman Brothers Band and the still touring Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Where Bomar takes a different angle in the his storytelling is that he digs deeper than the surface and also explains how these bands continued, re-formed and even grew after fatal tragedies struck them both. The author takes us on a musical ride through the American south of the 1950s as rock and roll music and blues music were the rage and how this fertile ground provided for and nurtured what was to become known as Southern rock.
Family is a frequently mentioned word in the passages of the book and not only refers to the musicians and the bands but also their personal relationships and their fans! Like newly released music from The Beatles, to punk and even jazz music. Southern rock fought an uphill battle for acceptance in the public eye and for radio play.
Bands that are now considered established hit makers like ZZ Top and Charlie Daniels Band were once more popular regionally and had to
work to attain public acceptance and radio airplay. Jimmy Carter was the first political candidate to see the voter potential and power in aligning himself with the bands of Southern rock and this helped him seize political victories in the south and eventually the White House as President of the United States. Besides the established Southern rock bands that we all know, Bomar does an exemplary job of shedding light on lesser known musicians and bands like Wet Willie,
Elvin Bishop, Blackfoot, The Outlaws and Black Oak Arkansas.
The favoured decade of the book is the 1970s, but the impact that decade left upon music is still being felt today even in the current popularity of bro country that now dominates many radio stations. Another fascinating caveat in the book is the rise and fall of the once mighty Capricorn Records, home to most of the popular Southern Rock bands of that era until it went bankrupt in the late 70s.
If you are a fan of Southern Rock this is a must read and you’ll probably enjoy the photos almost as much as the chapters. Bomar obviously did a vast amount of research on each individual band that is represented in the book, the original, passing and current musicians in the bands and the evolution of their music in the albums they created. Whether you listen to music via vinyl records, CD, or digital music tracks I suggest you play some of your favorite Southern rock music as you take a Southbound journey through an incredibly creative decade in the making of music that still holds up today! Eric Dahl ‚ www.scottbbomar.com
Available online at Amazon.com