Eudora Welty’s book has been compared to a modern day Aesop’s fable, with the moral of the story being “think for yourself” — which is the goal for the band’s founders, Scott Coopwood (guitars, background vocals) and Norman Adcox (lead vocals, guitars). Coopwood and Adcox worked hard to create music with its own sound and message that stays true to themes from the heart, telling stories influenced by growing up and living in the Mississippi Delta, Mississippi and Memphis. With Barry Bays (bass) and Brian Schilling (drums), The Shoe Birds have been developing a reputation for their hook filled tunes, influenced by the South’s rich culture and music, as well as its literary heritage.
Southern Gothic was produced by Coopwood and recorded by Mike Iacopelli (Aretha Franklin, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Keith Richards) at Court Street Records in Cleveland, Mississippi and by Mike Stankiewicz at the historic Sound Emporium Studios in Nashville. The record features an allstar cast of studio musicians – guitarist Pat Buchanan (Amy Grant, Faith Hill, Kenny Chesney, Cyndi Lauper, Hall & Oates); drummer Greg Morrow (Sheryl Crow, Alan Jackson, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire)); keyboardist Tony Harrell (Amy Grant, Don Henley), and Nashville studio pro, Alison Prestwood (bass). Longtime Nashville steel guitar player, Russ Pahl (Elton John, Kings of Leon, John Hiatt, Luke Bryan, and others) also played on the record.
The first single from the record, “You Leave Me Blind”, is lush-pop/rock perfection, with steadily driving verses. The song “talks about the bitterness and heartache that follows a breakup with someone you cared deeply about, only to find out that person was in love with someone else“, says Adcox. “When that happens, it often cuts off the tunnel that carries light from the outside world to your heart, making you blind to new relationships and feelings. This song was a way to move forward from that experience.”
Talking about the track “Gravity”, he says, “It’s the realization that all things are affected by life’s experiences and how the one constant in life is the pull of gravity on everything that we do. No one escapes it and in the end we learn from it if we’re lucky.”
“Life on the River” explores the dislocation of starting a new life in a new place. Adcox says, “I remember when I first moved to Memphis the river and its downtown seemed a million miles away from the small rural Mississippi town where I grew up. For me, the one common thread running throughout this transition was the Mississippi River and how it connects everything. I always find comfort in watching the river flow past the bluffs. Sometimes I imagine it washes away my troubles just like it erodes its own banks, eventually washing the silt down to the Mississippi delta, then out to sea.”
The Shoe Birds’ Southern Gothic promises to draw you in with their sound and leave you wanting more.