The origin story of Southerland reads like one from a country music fairytale. The duo of Matt Chase and Chris Rogers spent years cutting their teeth playing hours on hours at bars, frequenting many–if not all–of the spots on Nashville’s Broadway. Having met through singer-songwriter Ray Fulcher, the two decided to “give the duo thing a try.” With no name or songs to offer at the time, they set off to figure out their direction.
“We figured out we were going to be a duo, but the immediate next question was, ‘What kind of music are we going to make?’ At gigs we would play the Top 40 stuff, but our roots and what’s true to us is what artists like Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry, Alan Jackson, Shenandoah, George Strait, and so on were doing,” Chase explains. “We decided that we were just going to make unapologetically country stuff, because if we didn’t, then we were already off to a bad start because that isn’t true to who we are.”
It wasn’t until a few years later that their namesake surfaced. After drowning in a sea of name contenders–like Palmetto Peaches, to pay homage to Chase’s South Carolina and Rogers’ Georgia roots, or Chase & Rogers like that of past iconic country duos–it took an 18-hour drive to Bath, Maine for the pieces to fit together.
“It was the first time that we were playing three nights at this place called Erik’s Church in Maine, opening for Ray. We had never been to Maine before so we were Googling what to do there, and we came across a Wikipedia page and started reading random facts about the place,” Rogers remembers. “In Bath, Maine there’s a place called Bath Iron Works. It’s where the U.S.S. Southerland battleship is.”
Chase sums it simply, “We landed on Southerland because it sounded cool and we had known the whole time that we wanted a name that paid tribute to both of us being from the south.”
Since that fateful trip to Bath, Maine and Erik’s Church, the River House Artists duo have released their recent Boot Up EP which features seven songs and acts as the introduction to Southerland.
“We went to put this EP together and we knew that most people had never heard of us or listened to our music before,” Chase admits. “We looked at all of our songs and found the ones that we thought would really give people a good idea of who we are. We wanted to put together a catalogue of songs so that if you’d never known Southerland, you could listen to tracks 1-7 and get a good idea of who we are.”
Among the seven tracks is their blue-collar anthem, “Came Out of Nowhere,” which was penned by Rogers, Chase, and Jessi Alexander. In a truly unapologetically country manner, the song goes out to the many people working the often overlooked blue collar jobs that make the world go round. Also found on the project is “Along Those Lines,” the track that Chase calls “the story of us.” Written with Greg Bates and Driver Williams, the duo recounted their southern upbringing and started to compare notes. Finding an uncanny amount of similarities, they put it all together and wrapped it in a three-minute package.
However, the pair shift the tone and the tempo with the EP’s title track. Penned with Austin Taylor Smith and Bates, “Boot Up” puts a catchy spin on an old phrase.
“We were on Zoom and we were waiting on Greg to come into the meeting room. He texted us and and said, ‘Sorry, guys. I’m running a little late because I’m waiting on my computer to boot up.’” Rogers jokes, “As soon as he came in and we said, ‘You’re such an old man. Who says boot up?’” And the rest is history.
With an arsenal of original material, Southerland is ready to take their songs to the stage in a different fashion than that of their early days.
“Chris and I essentially started as a cover band, but we also did multiple years on Broadway playing four or five nights, and eight hours a day sometimes,” they explain. “That’s where we learned how to be entertainers, how to get people who just happen to walk into a bar to hear our voices together, and learn what makes them want to hear us play our songs.”
Though thankful for those experiences and where they came from, Southerland is ready and hopeful for what is to come–never taking any moment on stage for granted.
“Playing in front of people is where we feel the most comfortable,” Chase sums. “To be on any stage or to open for any artist is always a pinch ourselves moment because we know where we started and where we’re going.”
- Nate Smith Nabs First Chart-Topper With Debut Single, ‘Whiskey On You’ - January 30, 2023
- Ross Copperman Makes His Way Into The Top Five On MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart - January 30, 2023
- Weekly Register: Hardy Makes Massive Debuts On Country Albums & Songs Charts - January 30, 2023