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New Artist Spotlight: Forty5 South


Forty5 South

Forty5 South

Used with permission of CMA Closeup News Service
By Gary Voorhies

Forty5 South is more than an arbitrary band name; it is the road that tied the band together.

The band's namesake, Highway 45 South, runs through the members' collective hometown of Jackson, Tenn. On that rural highway sat the little sports bar, Jimmy D's. During an open mic night , band founder and lead vocalist Ashley Bowers decided to start a Country band, and recruited drummer Jonathan King, bassist Seth Gordon, guitarist and mandolin player Phillip Lemmings and guitarist Justin Tapley.

Bowers chose members who had both Country and rock influences. He was looking for a unique sound.

"We don't have a comparable sound," he said. "That's the best thing about it. You can't define it in terms of anything else out there."

The band drew inspiration from blues greats such as B.B. King and other players on Beale Street. Bowers described the band's combination of players and live performances as "off the wall and rowdy and the college kids love it. But it's a clean wild. You can bring your kids or your grandmother to it and they'll both like it."

The lively show drew the attention of Armed Forces Entertainment, which toured Forty5 South in Asia, Guam, The Marshall Islands, Korea and Japan to entertain troops. The group played 28 shows in 40 days, lugged their equipment from airport to airport and gained a crash course on the road. They loved it.

Forty5 South is on tour this summer and fall in Texas and throughout the Southeast to support the release of their new album, We're Country So We Can, on Tilo Records. The album, released on April 26, was produced by Bret Michaels, the lead singer of Poison, and features the single "Back Of My Truck."


If you could go back in time what year/era would you visit and why?
BOWERS: "The '60s because of the way rock 'n' roll was at the time. It was such an interesting milestone in music history."

What song do you wish you had written?
BOWERS: "'The Dance.' It is one of my favorite songs and I have loved it ever since the first time I heard it."

What moment in your life would you relive if you could?
BOWERS: "High school graduation. It was such a great feeling to know that I had made it through high school and I was glad to be out."

What kind of album, other than Country, would you like to make?
BOWERS: "Gospel. I was always raised in church and listened to gospel a lot growing up. I'm a fan of old hymns."

If you wrote an autobiography, what would the title be?
BOWERS: "Too Much, Too Fast."

Who is your dream duet partner and why?
BOWERS: "Jerry Lee Lewis, who, in my opinion, was the original rock star. I started playing piano before guitar. He has always been a big influence on what I do today. I was playing his music before anything else. It is a dream of mine to work with him."

What does Country Music mean to you?
BOWERS: "Country Music means a lot to me. I have always liked it because of the songs, they have meaning, they tell a story. They tell stories that I can relate to. I want to be able to reach people with my music in the same way."

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