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Our Artists

Bubba Sparxxx

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The term “country rap” has started to take its run in mainstream country formats. With the recent success of country artist Colt Ford and The Lacs , along with current “rap style” hits by country mega stars Jason Aldean (“Dirt Road Anthem”), Toby Keith (“Red Solo Cup”) and Tim McGraw (“Truck Yeah”), one would think that this is a new concept. But if you are a true music historian, you would recall that this movement actual began in 2001 with the release of Bubba Sparxxx’s debut album Dark Days, Bright Nights.   The video for the first single, “Ugly,” featured Bubba and pals in the mud with pigs, on tractors and performing in front of a house covered with bug lights.  If that’s not the epitome of country, then nothing is.

Fast forward eleven years, and you find Bubba re-uniting with his original collaborator Shannon “Fat Shan” Houchins, whom, over the years, has built the successful record label Average Joes Entertainment on the foundation of blending musical genres.  “Bubba and I grew up listening to hip-hop and riding in jacked up trucks,” Houchins says. “I was producing mainstream rap and R&B records when Bubs first came to me and said ‘why don’t we combine the music we like with lyrics about the lifestyle we live’.”  This wake up call led to the creation of the movement.

The platinum certified Dark Days, Bright Nights debuted on Interscope Records in October 2001 and was produced by Houchins and superstar producers Timbaland and Organized Noize.  It was followed-up by the critically acclaimed 2003 release, Deliverance.

“I remember thinking, as a 12 or 13 year old kid, that the spirit of hip-hop music wasn't a whole lot different than the spirit of the "outlaw" country music I had grown up hearing around my pops and uncles.” Bubba recalls.  “The rebellious nature of say NWA, or 2 Live Crew, or The Geto Boys, in the late 80s, early 90s just wasn't that different from the movement that guys like Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver and others created by simply being themselves and saying what they wanted. “

At that time, Bubba’s surroundings were changing in the rural area where he grew up in LaGrange, Georgia.  Various drug epidemics had penetrated his small neck of the woods, and the "reality" of life in the country had begun to shift. Folks were still hard working, and had traditional values, but drugs and violence had become more prevalent, as a new generation of boys and girls became man and women in this hostile environment. In many ways, the lower class, started to identify as much with rap music, as country music. This coincided with hip-hop, and rap exploding on popular culture, and the merging of the two genres.  In terms of people riding around listening to both genres, this musical adventure was developing organically long before a "country rap" song was ever recorded.

“This is what we knew, and Colt and I started trying to sell Fat Shan on in the late 90’s. Now, Shannon was a country guy, but had been living in Atlanta for a few years, producing traditional hip-hop, and R&B, so he wasn't necessarily seeing firsthand, what we were witnessing in outer provinces of the state. Then one day Shannon, and I took a trip back to Valdosta, Georgia and went to a local honky tonk. He was blown away when around midnight, the line dancing came to a halt, and the DJ started playing Kilo, 69 Boyz, and a lot of other ‘booty-shake’ music. And, these ‘rednecks’ we're going crazy, lovin’ every minute of it! That's when I knew I had him,” recalls Bubba.

With Bubba’s first album Dark Days Bright Nights, it was obvious as to what audience they wanted to reach, but knowing exactly how to reach them wasn’t as simple. This was also be the same dilemma they ran into with the release of Bubba’s second studio album, Deliverance; released a couple years later.  Collaborating with with Organized Noize, and Timbaland, two of the most accomplished and respected names in urban music, they had a accomplished creative team committed to marrying the two genres.

“This was an exciting time! We were very successful with the first album, taking baby steps toward bringing the two worlds together,” explains Bubba. “The lyrics, and imagery were definitely country but the music was still pretty urban leaning. In retrospect, that's probably right where we needed to be at that time. As we prepared to record the second album, Deliverance, it was actually Timbaland, who decided the music needed to match the lyrics and imagery."

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Charlie Farley

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My style of music comes from listening to all types of music growing up. Of course I have
always been a big fan of Country, Rock and Rap but I have always listened to anything I can feel. I remember back in school jamming Nickleback, Creed, Tupac, Eminem, Hank, or Willie. And what is crazy is all of those artists would be on the same cd. So, when I hear a beat I like or feel I don’t just jump on it in one way. I like to think about what flow or style would sound the best with that particular beat and then use that style and go with it. It is better to be well rounded than it is to be one dimensional, so I’m fortunate that I was open minded when I was younger to a lot of good music. Everything I listened to back then molded the artist I am today.

The Lacs

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“People see stuff that is already there and ask why I dream stuff that never was and ask why not”. This saying describes the LACS, they saw what was already there, had big dreams to be there, and asked the music industry why not? Their hick hop and southern rock sound is stronger than the moonshine they drink.
The LACS which is the famous short abbreviation of the Loud Ass Crackers are from the sandy dirt roads of Baxley, Georgia. A South Georgia town more famous for its sawmills and turpentine stills than for having a successful southern rap group. The LACS consist of hip hop artist Clay “Uncle Snap” Sharpe and lead vocalist / guitarist Brian “ Rooster” King. With a blue collar background they have worked shutdowns with the union and framed many a house to earn enough money keep their music dreams alive.
The LACS latest album is still in the works but already has created a buzz with its contributions from Average Joe recording artist Colt Ford on the song “Shindig” and allowing the LACS the privilege of performing some of his tour dates. Want to have a good time and hear some hick hop country? Check out Colt Ford and the LACS, where you will see a show you won’t never forget. Keep watching for dates in your area. Keep listening and we hope you enjoy our new material.

Lenny Cooper

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It all started when Lenny created a home recording about his favorite pastime and uploaded it to YouTube.  The video of the song  "Mud Digger" took on a life of its own and within six months had received over 2 million views.  That caught the attention of BackRoad Records who signed him to a recording deal.  The single was released shorty after and has since sold over 100,000 single downloads as well as driven sales of the Mud Digger compilation album to over 30,000.  There are currently over 60 fan made videos on You Tube with a combined total over over 6.7 million views.  Lenny's debut album is due out Summer 2011.




Moonshine Bandits

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 To say that Moonshine Bandits qualify as your average West Coast band would be nothing short of an understatement. Tex and Bird are having the time of their lives, making their music their way. Their unique sound, a blend of West Coast beat and country twang, is a strong representation of the California of which they grew up.

“We’re from Central California so it’s very blue collar and agriculturally oriented here in the Valley,” Tex says. “A lot of people have misconceptions about California being all Hollywood or the beach, but where we’re from the main industry is farming. There are a lot dairies, cotton fields, orchards and tomato processing plants.”

Moonshine Bandits’ sound is a hybrid of the music they listened growing up. “We grew up on West Coast hip-hop and West Coast rap, but we also got into country,” says Tex. “The first country song I heard was ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ by Johnny Cash. Now, we do a lot of things in our live show like our own version of Garth Brooks' 'Friends in Low Places' with a hip-hop driven beat behind it. Our content has always been about where we’re from and what we do - outdoor parties and just a lot of good-time type music.”

Moonshine Bandits have delivered another round of “good-time music” on their latest offering, “Calicountry,” their debut disc on Average Joes Entertainment/Suburban Noize Records set for an early 2014 release.

From the thumping first single “California Country,” and the party anthem “Throwdown,” f/The LACS, to the contagious “We All Country” f/Colt Ford, Charlie Farley and American Idol finalist Sarah Ross, the new album is already turning heads all across the country. Country star Colt Ford and Average Joes’ CEO, Shannon Houchins, are executive producers on the album.

How do they describe their sound? “A lot of our music is hell-raising music,” Tex says. “Our guitars are very loud and our bass is pretty heavy. It’s very much in-your-face kind of music that you can party down to. We’ve got a few songs on there that are a little more personal and a little bit slower. But, for the most part it’s very aggressive.”

If it seems that Moonshine Bandits pay no attention to where lines are drawn, there’s a reason. It runs in the family.

“My great-grandfather was actually a bootlegger in the Bay Area of California,” recalls Tex. “He used a barbershop as a front. And my great-aunt was actually pedaling it in baby carriages to politicians during the prohibition years. He was definitely doing what he had to do to support his own family during those tough times.”

Even today, that tradition continues – albeit legally! “We actually did a licensing deal where we endorsed our own moonshine,” says Tex. “It’s distilled here in Modesto which is about an hour from where we live by the Valley Spirits Distillery. It’s 99 proof, un-aged whiskey and is distributed in California, Georgia and New York, and available online. Aside from Original, both Apple Pie and Peach are available as well. There are just a few states that it can’t be shipped to legally. But, it’s doing pretty well.”

Tex says the collaborative process is something that both he and Bird enjoy very much.

“Bird or I will come up with a concept or a melody and we’ll work together developing that. Then we’ll go back in the studio and work on getting the guitars laid down. We’ll bring in different guitarists to work on the concept. We just go back and forth as far as the songwriting and the lyrics go. We both write all of our own music though we have had concepts pitched to us that we’ve used and developed. We’ve also flown out to Nashville and worked with Phivestarr. They do all The LACS’ albums and they work a lot with Colt Ford. On this new record, Ty Weathers and Phivestarr did the majority of the production with us.  So, we’ve got a really good team working on the album.”

Tex says their music is tailor-made for the most important people in the world to them – their fans, referred to as “The Shiner Nation.” The band has over 15 million YouTube views, and has already had a #1 fan favorite video on CMT.com and a #2 video on CMT's High Five countdown.

“We’ve built a pretty loyal following,” he says. “We’ve taken a grassroots approach, and haven’t built off of radio or TV, but rather our live performances. So, when we do our songwriting, we always think about whether the music would go over well at our live shows and how the crowds will respond. That’s how we kind of write our music, with that thought in mind. So far, we’ve had pretty good success as far as crowd reaction. It’s been a slow and steady climb up the ladder but our fans are pretty damn loyal.”

And, they have followed them everywhere – even through multiple genres. “We’ve gone on tours with groups like Insane Clown Posse, who have a hardcore “horror-core” rap fan base,” says Tex. “Then, the following week we will go do shows with Toby Keith or Luke Bryan. Our music has crossed over to a few different genres. You don’t really need a genre for our music. Save that for the record labels. They’re the ones who need that. We’ve been fortunate to reach many different markets.”

One of the highlights in their touring schedule is their annual “Shiner Fest,” where droves of their fans come to get lost in the music – and to have fun, which they do rather well! “It’s like The Beastie Boys meets Credence Clearwater Revival, and it’s entertaining to people. It’s something that they haven’t seen. Our live shows are the biggest part of our career,” says Tex.

So, for Moonshine Bandits, the future is now. With a label behind them that knows how to market their music and get it to the fans, 2014 is looking very bright. “We’re very excited to be there,” Bird said of their affiliation with Average Joes. “They understand our music, as well as the marketing side of it, too, which is such a huge part of pushing the album. We’re just super excited for the world to understand where we’re coming from, having our own sound, and to bring that to Nashville...and on to the world!”

Redneck Social Club

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When Redneck Social Club music was first circulated throughout the Average Joe's offices one staffer commented said "its LMFAO meets Johnny Cash" another said "its like Colt Ford on crack". Both were right on.

As if the band name Redneck Social Club isn't shady enough, Lex and Frenchie met a few years back in a dark alley. Lex had been writing and touring as a drummer with Shooter Jennings band "stargunn" when he discovered Frenchie, the guitar slinging son-of-a-gun at an after-hours jam session. Frenchie joined the band that night and the two played together until the band's breakup. Little did they know at the time, some things are just meant to be, and much like their friendship, their musical collaboration would soon be reunited.

As fate would have it, after diverse musical pursuits, the reunion between the two was inevitable. Music City, USA would provide the grounds for a crossbreeding of genres and styles they call "country music with swag." For a year the two wrote, recorded, and produced the ground-breaking country-crunkin' debut album titled, We've Got Friends, We've Got Ammo, We've Got Plans!
Beware:
"All tracks on the album are a four drink minimum. So be prepared to go hard or go home!"

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