Here are some of SouthernAirs' favorite newer Southern rock bands. Some of them have been on the scene for a while, but they are not of the original 1970s genre -- they are the heirs, perhaps. Others are just getting the wind beneath their tour buses.
Our selection methodology is not overly proprietary, but designed to pick enduring potential. SouthernAirs uses a combination of social media views, industry charts, festival & tour frequency, media buzz and studio output to identify stand-out talent.
There is no particular order to this selection of Southern-based bands. We admire them all for the risks they take, their determination, and always the talent they bring.
SONS OF BILL These Charlottesville, Va. based balladeers have something to say. Lots of lyrical strength.
THE REVIVALISTS Currently playing to sold-out shows, with a spot in the venerable Billboard charts. This roots-driven rock group from New Orleans taps some definite R&B swagger. Great stage presence.
LEON BRIDGES Lordy, we hear echoes of Smokey Robinson in this up-and-coming soul & gospel performer from Fort Worth, Tx. But there is plenty of original heart also in his restrained phrasing. Should have staying power.
DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS These alt-country rockers plumb a depth that's all their own. Based in Athens, Ga., with occasional forays into the nature of being Southern.
SKINNY MOLLY Power rockers from Nashville, Tenn. Staffed by Lynard Skynard and Molly Hatchet alums, among others, so you know what to expect and you shouldn't be disappointed.
THE WEEKS Indie rock band from Jackson, Miss. These guys are playing something that feels original. They make it easy to revel in their fresh sound.
GOV'T MULE No list of contemporary Southern rockers is complete without the masterful Warren Haynes and his top-talent sidemen. They are at the peak of their powers. How the heck do they manage to play everywhere at the same time?
ALABAMA SHAKES Southern blues rock band from Athens, Ala., led by the multi-talented Brittany Howard. Deserving Grammy winners with a classic sound and a ton of heart.
TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND Festival mainstays led by virtuosos Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks. They may be associated with Southern rock, but they are transcending the genre with ease these days. Brilliant musicianship, awesome artistry -- the superlatives just stretch onward and upward.
THE MARCUS KING BAND The new guy in the blues rock space. Tons of raw talent with miles to go before he sleeps. Careful out there on the road, young sir.
LEE BAINS III + THE GLORY FIRES Reviewers have described the Southern rock sound of this Alabama group as "pandemonium" and "mayhem." We suspect it's more than that, but they do make anarchy fun.
SERATONES Be sure you're wearing asbestos mitts when you turn this Shreveport, La. group's music on -- the heat can burn your hands. Soaring vocals and hot, hot guitar riffs. These folks play like they mean it.
John Morgan was an executive at Billboard Magazine's parent company for nine years, and notably led the launch of the magazine's Website, www.Billboard.com. He was also founding editor of the "This Day in Music Almanac," and created the BPI Entertainment News Wire. He has a special fondness for Southern music and other Southern art, from literature to crafts and photography.