ROCK AND ROLL FROM SOUTH CAROLINA

Named for the road in front of their original practice space in Columbia, South Carolina, Atlas Road Crew now calls Charleston, South Carolina home; it's an appropriate base of operations for a group that has perfected a classic rock 'n' roll sound shot through with southern soul accents. On a foundation of Allman Brothers Band riffs and Black Crowes attitude mixed with Memphis blues, soul and the Rolling Stones, Atlas Road Crew has been building a fan base through constant touring—over 200 shows a year.

Atlas Road Crew, often abbreviated to “ARC”, started while students at the University of South Carolina; they like to say that they were friends first, then a band. Singer and guitarist Taylor Nicholson admits he was a vocal rookie when they began.

“The first time I sang in public was at a spring break open mike night in the Florida Keys,” Nicholson recalls. “We had driven down there on a whim and I ended up at this beach bar singing Citizen Cope songs, it was just a crazy night.”

Nicholson has developed into a swaggering powerhouse of a vocalist with plenty of natural soul; the band has grown up as well, into a road-tested example of the resurgence of classic southern rock and soul.
Atlas Road Crew can jam and they like to stretch things out in their live shows when the groove is right, but they are focused on perfecting the four-minute radio-ready pop and rock hit whether that means a slow burning, soulful ballad or a get-up-and-dance groove.
“We've improved our songwriting over the different recording sessions the band has done and developed the ability to boil the songs down into their essence,” Says bassist Max Becker. “We're more interested in writing a great song first, then we'll take it on the road and mess with it live.”

The band likes to refer to themselves not as southern rock but “Southeastern Rock,” an appropriate designation since their popularity in college towns across the country began in the Carolinas and Georgia and spread to the deep south and up the East Coast before going nationwide; they have a sound that transcends region by traversing diverse styles. The result is something that's familiar yet new, the kind of twangy, swampy southern rock 'n' soul that one might expect to come out of a Muscle Shoals session in the 1970's but it's as immediate and fresh as anything on the contemporary scene.

Atlas Road Crew:
Taylor Nicholson: Vocals, guitar
Max Becker: Bass
Dave Beddingfield: guitar
Bryce James: Piano
Patrick Drohan: Drums

 

PHOTO CREDIT - SEAN MONEY & ELIZABETH FAY