Southernayers Press Release 12-2018
Southerland Ayers is a thoughtful duo playing a blend of pop and folk with unique inspiration from greats the likes of Karen Carpenter, David Bowie, Joy Division and Jellyfish. The blend of melancholic lyrics and lush, old-school pop melodies find a way to be reminiscent of Tom Jones and Tom Waits at the same time.
Mick Southerland, the primary songwriter, honed his craft during his more than 20 years on the Austin music scene. In that time he picked up several instruments and shared stages with great local indie acts like Spoon and Ghostland Observatory. One of his early assignments as a mercenary in the indie rock scene was to play bass for Roky Erickson at the Raul’s (an iconic Austin punk club) 10-year reunion. “I was young and stupid and I turned down the show at the last minute to run sound for Shutter to Think because it paid $75 and the Rocky gig only paid $50.” Along the way, he has spent nights opening a collection of bands from No Doubt to Fishbone.
“With all that gigging and touring, I picked up some rough habits that landed me in several stints of rehab out in Arizona,” says Mick. “I knew I was done supporting others’ art and wanted to tell my own story in music. I started writing songs while still in rehab about what I’d been through, the relationships I’d destroyed, and the friends that had been lost along the way. By the time I got back to Austin, I had a catalog of songs that I immediately started recording.”
“About six months into recording, I realized that in order to touch people like Gram Parsons did, I needed my Emmylou Harris,” says Mick.
One night at a show at the Bucksnort Saloon in the tiny town of Marlin, TX, Mick met a young singer named Kaylee Ayers.
“She asked if I could play a Sublime song, so she could sing it. And I did,” Mick recalls. “We had an instant connection.”
That moment inspired the duo and the song, “A Life Sublime.” While Kaylee was young with little experience, she had a wistful abandon that is rare for her years.
“She reminds me of Karen Carpenter,” says Mick. “When we record, I try to draw that silky sadness out of her as much as possible. We’ve gone to some dark places to capture that emotion.”
Kaylee Grew up in Maine and has been on her own since the age of 16. In every note she sings, you can hear the tough years. She moved to Marlin, TX in her early 20s to live with her grandmother, “Nana.” Kaylee owns the Bucksnort Saloon where the duo was formed.
Mick and Kaylee have been writing and recording together for nearly a year. “We just complement each other,” says Kaylee. “Sometimes, Mick will start tracking an idea and we will write and record vocals together right there in the studio.” Their productivity allowed them to record their debut release, “Ghost in this House” in a few short months.
Mick and Kaylee had the idea to recruit young Austin filmmakers to create short movies for each of their songs. The project has provided some wonderful visual art to accompany their stories. One of the videos, a 70s style mashup for, “The Great Flight Home” has since gone viral on Facebook with 50k views a week.
Currently, the duo is preparing for a tour to support the release of “Ghost in this House.” Which officially drops on November 20th.” Expect to hear a lot from Southerland Ayers and the near future.