The union of Allen, Mack, Meyers and Moore represents music for the sake of music. The band formed as a side project by Zach Myers of Shinedown to have some fun playing with his friends Justin Moore and Chris Allen of Ingram Hill and Zack Mack of Brimstone Jones. In March they released their album South of Moonlight.
The album’s title is taken from a line on the track “Annalee,” and evokes images of balmy, Southern, summer nights under the stars particularly in fields surrounded by fireflies as an added touch. The singer-songwriter style country music has a rock edge, and was recorded at CrossTrax Studio in Cordova, Tenn., an old train depot that helped inspire the album’s sound.
Recording of the album was actually the first time all the guys got together. Mack had never even played with Moore before. “It was getting to know one another and our sounds in the studio, hanging out. People don’t really make records like that anymore,” says Mack, who plays guitar, harmonica, mandolin, lapsteel and banjo.
South of Moonlight features a myriad of instruments from guitars and banjos to mandolins and horns that give the songs an eclectic nuance. “Looking for a Lover” is a southern rock ballad with some bluesy guitar riffs while “Raining All Year” has a distinctly more alternative-rock based vibe, contrasting everything else on the record. Songs like “Jaded Lover” and “Marjorie” add a twang in the vocals and would make Hank Williams proud. “Ophelia” features a piano and up-tempo melody that is straight-up fun and a personal favorite.
All ten tracks were written specifically for the album, and the only songs written for the album instead of pulling from a pool of 25 plus options. “We all come from different planets so everybody is bringing something fresh and new to the table as far as the writing goes. We wanted to write songs we grew up loving. We said these are the songs we’re going to write,” says Mack.
When they take the show on the road it is usually just Meyers, Mack, and Moore and friends rocking with a little gear in a van packed tight with T-shirts and CDs hitting the road. Most of the guys are used to tours with the big buses and big stages with bright lights. For this band they are more relaxed and low-key, hitting up smaller venues and just focusing on the music and good times.
Those times work around Meyers’ schedule with Shinedown, who also has an album coming out this year. A. M. M. M. get together any chance they get during breaks in between Shinedown’s tours and recording. In that time they may do some recording of their own or a show in Memphis; they just go with the flow and it gives something to look forward to.
One of the goals for the band is to get them all to sit down and write their third album together. For the current album Myers or Mack wrote songs whenever the guys had free time together or not, but they want to make a priority to get together for the next album. “We want it to be just about us four guys getting together and making music. There’s no pressure with this outfit. We all do it just because we love playing together and we want to make songs. We’ll keep making the tunes if people keep coming around to see us,” says Mack.
A Fearsome Foursome
Southern supergroup Allen, Mack, Meyers and Moore release their album,
South of Moonlight
Story by Mary Eckersley | Photos by Hannah Lee