I confess: the moment I heard “Rebel” by Shallow Side last fall I fell in love. A lifelong rebel myself, as well as an old time rock and roller, this sly, Southern rock ode to those who live on the edge sunk its catchy hook into me. This rock quartet out of Alabama has been paying their dues for over five years now, performing at over 500 venues nationwide, with over 200 live shows a year. “One” is the band’s third EP, following “Home Today” and “Stand Up.” “Rebel,” however, followed by their dynamic cover of Styx’s “Renegade,” has propelled them into the well deserved spotlight, garnering airplay from America’s largest radio stations as well as satellite radio’s Octane.
The EP kicks off with “We Roll,” a bouncy, pounding, head bobbing anthem to life on the road. “Rebel” kicks in and kicks butt. “I get faded/I get a little loose sometimes” and so will you, because if this song doesn’t get you up and rocking you may need to check for a pulse. (I played this song so often and so loudly I thought my daughter was going to strangle me with my earbuds). Lead singer Eric Boatright has a gravelly, come hither voice that pulls you into his madness (his little chuckle at the end of the song gets me every time).
Up next is their cover of “Renegade;” with guitarists Seth Trimble and Cody Hampton doing James Young and Tommy Shaw proud. It’s also great to have this classic introduced to a whole new generation of listeners. “Fight or Flight” opens with a grind, as Eric gets in your face. “The biggest difference here my friend/this is where your story ends” is the opening salvo. “I can’t be held back,” he growls. Great Southern guitar riffs and pounding drums open “Can You Hear Me.” “Everybody lift your hands to the sky if you feel me/Let them know that we will survive” are apt words for a band that has faced many hardships and has more than paid their dues.
The CD closes with “Start A Fire,” a percussion heavy, Southern lust song, with Eric purring, “let me show you how to start a fire.” Shallow Side is currently being likened to Shinedown, Chevelle, and Breaking Benjamin – serious compliment; but this quartet of talented young men has a sound and a message uniquely their own. The band is out on tour now supporting “One.” If you get a chance, I highly recommend checking them out.
If you’re a rebel and renegade like me, you definitely won’t be disappointed. (Warning: Explicit lyrics.)