by Kallie Ingle Kirk
This group of gentlemen showed up to meet me and my photographer at (ironically enough) the scene of their very first show just a couple of short years ago. Dressed in bow ties, vests, blazers and fedoras, these guys are as friendly as they are talented and fashionable. Hailing from Huntsville, they are still glowing about recently being voted best rock band, best overall band AND second place as best blues band in Valley Planet's Best of the Valley Readers' Poll. If that weren't enough, their lead vocalist, Frankie Gardner, also placed second in the best male vocalist category. All this before the ink was dry on their contract with Dirrty Apple Records!
The Whiskey River Kings music is a blend of Traditional Irish and American folk music with poetic lyrics spinning tales of every day struggles. Frankie and his crew were brought together by their love of old time folk, bluegrass and good old fashioned blues. By mixing these styles, blending in some Southern rock and scorching solos, they have created a style all their own.
They originally wanted to be called "The Whiskey Saints" but that name was spoken for. So...after some discussion and deliberation, they came to the conclusion that "everyone is a king after a fifth of whiskey" and "The Whiskey River Kings" name came of that premise or some facsimile thereof...
In Frankie's words, they "picked the bones" of a former band called "Flux" adding a progressive, funky sound to the folk act. "Frog" showed up one day for an audition and though they weren't looking for a saxophone player, he "blew them away" adding yet another unique dynamic to their Southern rock basted with Irish whiskey sound.
Whiskey River Kings count Flogging Molly, Bob Dylan, Old Crow Medicine Show and Jimi Hendrix among their influences with An Abstract Theory and The Dirty Swagger as some local Muscle Shoals area favorites. They play regularly at The Broken Clock on South Memorial Parkway and their sophomore CD is set for release in late March. You can visit their fan page on Facebook by typing The Whiskey River Kings in the search bar, visit their website www.whiskeyriverkings.com and preview some of their music on Reverbnation, songs and CDs can be purchased through ITunes.
Whiskey River Kings are:
Frankie Gardner: lead vocals, banjo, harmonica and rhythm guitar
Dave Gist: lead guitar
Dan Williams: bass and harmony
Taylor Moore: drums and harmony
Steven "Frog" Hudson: Saxophone
Contact Frankie Gardner or Dan Williams for booking and press information.
I'd like to personally thank these guys for being my very first interview with Valley Planet. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for them.