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Royal Johnson w/ Bethany and the Southside Boys at The Hummingbird
November 25, 2017 @ 10:00 pm - 2:00 am| $5
Royal Johnson began with just one song. Founders Chance Royal and Andy Johnson, both from Thomaston, GA, got together in May of 2014 to record a simple demo of a song that Johnson had recently written. He laid down some basic guitar and vocals, leaving Royal to work on the rest for a couple days. In that time Royal filled out the song, adding bass and layered guitar work. In the following months the duo developed an entire album of material in this fashion – piece by piece, trading ideas track by track, experimenting and thoughtfully crafting the songs from the ground up, in an extra room at Royal’s house.
Most of the tracks that became Belly Full were recorded solely by Royal and Johnson. Kevin Vines was enlisted to track bass on a few songs, and drum tracks were provided by Justin Raffield and Chris Reeves. Vines brought such an energy to the recordings that he was asked to join the live band, and subsequently brought in drummer Joanie Ferguson as his rhythm section partner.
That foursome, with the occasional addition of Bennie Mobley on harmonica, had an amazing two-year run that took them all over the southeast, captivating audiences of all colors and creeds by playing a variety of venues from central Florida to the North Carolina highlands to western Alabama, sharing stages with the likes of The Doobie Brothers, Stillwater (twice opening their annual reunion show), Jimmy Hall, Jack Pearson, Willie Nelson, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Avett Brothers, Drivin’ n’ Cryin’, Turnpike Troubadours, Robert Lee Coleman, Greensky Bluegrass, Big Mike and the Booty Papas, Joey Huffman and Bobby Golden. They’ve played hockey arenas, large outdoor festivals, craft breweries, listening rooms, wedding receptions, bars and restaurants, intimate theaters, strip clubs, back yard parties, art galleries and mud bogs.
After staying on through part of the tracking of the new Royal Johnson album, Vines and Ferguson left the group in early 2017 and have been replaced by Sam Ross Jr. on drums and Joseph Palmer on bass, both residents of Macon.
The infectious energy of Royal Johnson’s live shows and the eclectic nature of their successful debut album has brought together a diverse fanbase. Roots-and-Blues-enthused funk rock. Like seeing a mashup of Marshall Tucker Band and Sly Stone.
The group is currently wrapping up the recording of its second album, but its first at Muscadine Studios, home of legendary producer and musician Paul Hornsby. Paul is a member of both the Alabama and Georgia Music Hall of Fame, producing several gold and platinum records, and most known for his work with the Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels and Wet Willie, and for his time playing in Hourglass with Duane and Gregg Allman.