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The Southern Hospitality of Southsounds 2018

25 May 2018

written by Croma

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The Southern Hospitality of SouthSounds 2018

Text and photos by Anna Sheffield, Additional photos and editing by T. Ryan Borland


SouthSounds Music and Arts Festival once again gathered together an outstanding group of Southern artists in Mobile, Ala this spring. Over 70 acts performed, ranging from some of our own local bands to well-known regional acts. The festival has truly grown from a local gathering to a national showcase, being one of the only festivals in the country that focuses solely on independent Southeastern musicians. In 2018, ‘The South’ did not disappoint: musicians arrived for a chance to truly party and share their flair with this funky city.

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Artists genuinely enjoy playing in the Port City. This is not the Mobile of the 1970’s anymore. The area music scene has grown exponentially in a healthier direction. Mobile is a great city for a budding artist to nurse their talent. Mod Mobilian was given the opportunity to speak with a few members of Mobile’s own Underhill Family Orchestra, who has recently gained national attention with their new album “Tell Me that You Love Me” which hit stores May 4, 2018. Underhill drew much of their inspiration and support for their new album from the city they consider ‘home.’

MG_2293Ben Cook

“[Mobile] is a huge part of what we are. We have a lot of support from people in Mobile, pushing us along,” Underhill songwriter and mandolin player Ben Cook expressed.

_MG_2232Joe Grove

“There are historical references on the album and references about being from or living in Mobile,” Underhill bassist Joe Grove shared.

SouthSounds 2018 was an incredible opportunity to see immense talent packed into one weekend. The passion emanated not only from the artists, but the devoted Mobilians who turned out to offer support.

IMG_2048SouthSounds crowd at The Merry Widow

Friday night started off with a duo of New Orleans acts in Sweet Crude and Dumpstaphunk. Georgia songwriter Corey Smith was another early performance that could be found among the participating venues downtown. Underhill Family Orchestra introduced many people to a new venue this year, Cedar Street Social Club. Of Montreal danced to the beat of their own drummer, quite literally, with a theatrical set on the Lagunitas Stage at The Merry Widow.

MG_2247-1Joelle Rosen

“Mobile can party harder than most cities. People usually have fun here. It’s Alabama, but it’s not like any other place in Alabama,” Joelle Rosen of Underhill discussed when mentioning the key factors that make Mobile such a warm city.

IMG_1998The Shunnarahs

Those fans brave enough to endure the unpredictable weather on Saturday found the festival worth all the wind and rain. Surfer Blood put the evening to a quick start with their fast tempos. Boyfriend later graced us on the Merry Widow stage displaying her distinct aesthetic and style as prominently as her hip hop music. Meanwhile, local bands like Glass War and The Hallers played late night at Alchemy Tavern. For JP Pitts of Surfer Blood, Mobile and its people create an inviting environment.

“People are very friendly and hospitable, in my experience. We always have a good time here, and that’s why we keep coming back,” Pitts said.

IMG_2001The Shunnarahs

Sunday tied things off with bands such as Delta Smoke playing at The Brickyard.  Aptly named, The Shunnarahs drew a sizable crowd to The Merry Widow. Named after the numerous legal service billboards that can be found up and down Alabama’s interstates, the local act’s name is an inside joke for people within the state. Afterwards, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires sent the weekend to a fantastic end with rock crescendos and cheers echoing down Conception Street.

IMG_2020Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires

South Sounds has aided so many artists like Underhill and Surfer Blood in getting the recognition and support they deserve from the local community. In addition, the event has also brought some of the Southeast’s most talented independent musicians to the Azalea city.

“The comradery for the music scene is, I feel, vastly different in Mobile than it is in a lot of other cities,” Cook said about the mutual support of the Mobile music scene.

26196312_1630669373656028_2342051528263555485_nThe mutual admiration and support from one Southern artist or fan to another expressed at events like SouthSounds may emerge as the local scene’s greatest asset. As South Sounds Music and Arts Festival grows, so does the intensity and vibrancy of Mobile’s most talented artists and devoted fans.


About the Author:

IMG_3782Anna Sheffield has lived in Mobile, AL for the last 11 years. She has a degree from University of South Alabama in English Literature. She enjoys cycling, her three cats, and disappointing her parents.


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