April 8, 2019

Artist Spotlight ★ Righteous Hillbillies ★ Relix Magazine Grand Prize Winner!

The band Righteous Hillbillies formed in 2007. The lineup of Righteous Hillbillies consists of Brent James, a singer and songwriter bringing together such seemingly disparate elements as hard rock, country, with rhythm and blues to form an unforgettable style. Also keeping the rhythm on guitar, James is a charismatic but commanding front man, steering the Southern Rock ship to conquer new territory at every concert. By his side is Nick Normando, a prodigy and lead guitarist who received his baptism in blood while growing up playing the blues. Righteous Hillbillies have now cut the leash, and Normando is free to run with the pack, bringing all his ferocious power and unpredictable virtuosity to the stage and studio. Jeff Bella pours the foundation on the bass, knowing when to inject color and character into the music, behind Bella is Barret Harvey – a thunderous powerhouse whose drumming ability is steady as a pulse, but equally dynamic. Trained in rock ‘n’ roll and jazz, Harvey adds a unique ingredient to the Hillbillies tonic. Elevating the rhythm of Righteous Hillbillies with a tone of gospel is Chris Bartley, whose keyboards and organ give every song a soulful texture on top the jagged edge of rock ‘n’ roll.
Overall, the band has released five full albums of original material, consisting of traditional Southern rock, Americana blues, R&B, Bluegrass, Country...you name it. The Righteous Hillbillies have recorded, mixed and mastered two albums at the world-renowned Fame Studio’s in Muscle Shoal’s Alabama. They have worked with Grammy award winning producers, shared the stage with the likes of Bad Company, Charlie Daniel’s, Marshall Tucker Band, Robert Randolph, Georgia Satellites...and many more.

1. Can you describe your sound in one ramble-on sentence?

The Righteous Hillbillies are an axe shredding, ace dealing, foot stompin’, Southern rock, high-powered Americana, boogie blues band that plays with talent and passion baptized in the blood of Lynyrd Skynyrd, AC/DC, ZZ Top, and the Black Crowes while still managing to create an original and independent style.
2. What's your earliest music-related memory growing up?

Probably at the age of ten and seeing a Kiss video for the first time. The power of the music along with the theatrics of fire rock n’ roll and Gene spitting up blood made me want to be a rock star.

3. If you were to cover another band/artist's album, which would you pick and why?

Tom Pettys Wildflowers, I think it’s the best record Tom did. Every song is great and it covers a wide range of style from folk, country and rock n’ roll, all the styles I love.

4. Do you write/compose your own songs? Briefly describe your songwriting process.

Yes, I’ve been writing ever since I could play chords, some people start to learn other peoples music but I didn’t really have any interest in that, I felt like I had something to say so I just started writing songs as soon as I could switch chords from G to C to D. My process is always different, I get inspired from lines in movies and I jot some things down, or I’m playing guitar and discover a cool riff or a chord pattern I like, I hit record on my phone and save it and I may not listen back for a month. Some tunes I brainstorm lyrics on my laptop and then go back to them. I very rarely ever write a song in its entirety from the get-go. I think going back gives me a fresh perspective to see if I’ve got something good or not.

5. Does anything in particular inspire you to write? What get's your creative juices flowing?

Movies are a big inspiration for me and listening in on conversations. I’m kinda lazy when it comes to writing and I procrastinate a lot, so working with a collaborator here and there forces me to get off my ass.

6. What has been a highlight for you in the past year? (Either personally or for your music career.) 

Winning Grand Prize for Relix Magazine for a song I wrote for our last album, “bound to change”. I’m not much for contests because I don't think you can label art or music that way but its nice to be recognized. That song is a perfect example of my write something and forget about it style, lol. When writing for our latest record “Playing With Fire” I went through my recorder to listen for ideas that I had when I came across a complete verse and chorus of Bound to Change that I don’t ever remember doing and there it was. I was pleasantly surprised and finished to song that day and took it to rehearsal with the band.

7. What 's next? Can you give us a hint for whats to come for remainder of 2019?

To keep on plugging along, we play a lot of shows. I would like to work on a new record but we will see how long I proc

8. What do you like more: Performing live or recording in the studio?

I like both, they are two completely different things. Live you get the feedback and the energy from the crowd. In the studio it’s a more controlled environment, you’re working on creating something special, trying to capture a moment and you have endless tries to get one. Live you’ve got one shot.

9. What are some artists/bands that you're into at the moment? Or any particular song you find yourself listening to over and over?

When I’m not playing I listen to a lot more mellow music, more folky roots stuff like Gillian Welch, Tyler Childs, Isbell and Prine. I collect vinyl records and my wife I hang out at our bar downstairs, have some drinks, spin vinyl, relax and hang out with each other. There isn't a particular song that I’m hooked on right now.

10. Any embarrassing on stage moments you'd like to share? C’mon, don’t be shy.

Hmmmm, I don’t think I have one personally but our drummer ate a bunch of pickled eggs before a gig once, if that’s any indication of where this may be going.

11. What do you enjoy doing outside of music? Does your hobby rejuvenate your creativity?

I enjoy riding my motorcycle with myself and friends. It clears my mind from the daily grind and allows me to see things more clearly.

12. What's one thing people should know about you?

I don’t know really, I’m more of a private person when it comes to my personal life. I don’t air my dirty laundry in public or on social media...I don’t think its anybody’s business where I’m at or what I’m eating at any given time. I don’t boast about anything or search for attention, I think trust is something thats earned and you can’t buy brotherhood. I guess, if I had one thing I wanted people to know is that if I call you bro, I mean it, I consider you a friend and I’m very loyal. It’s a pet peeve of mine when someone calls me bro and they don’t even know me...It’s a term thrown around to loosely these days.

13. If you had one message to give to your fans, what would it be?

Keep supporting ORIGINAL LOCAL MUSIC wherever you live. Cover music is fine for a nite out, but keep an open mind and ears to what your local musicians are doing and saying and support them. There’s a lot of great music out there in the underground, don’t just listen to what the mainstream radio programmers are cramming down your throat, you’ll discover so many great original artists that will stir your soul.

Righteous Hillbillies' Links:
hCps://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=righteous+hillbillies+youtube hCps://www.facebook.com/RighteousHillbillies hCps://www.reverbna<on.com/righteoushillbillies