Jonesboro, AR—Born in the Arkansas hills and with a deep-rooted appreciation for blues-tinged Southern rock as well as radio-ready album rock, five-piece rock band Further Down has arrived. With the release of the band’s third full-length album, 7 Years Hard Luck (August 21, 2007), it’s clear that Further Down is on a mission to bring rock to its roots and back again to the present.
Further Down features rock royalty in their bloodlines (the two guitarists are cousins of Tommy Shaw of Styx and Jim Dandy Mangrum of BOA), and the band delivers songwriting hooks and plays their instruments with precision like a group that’s been together for twenty years. But they are all in their mid-twenties, allowing the potential for great things.
While Further Down is influenced by the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin, and Black Crowes, they cultivated their Southern Rock roots a bit more by recording 7 Years Hard Luck at Ardent Studios in Memphis, which has tracked the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Led Zeppelin as well as modern rockers 3 Doors Down and REM. That, as well as the production of Pete Matthews (Evanescence, North Mississippi All Stars, Paul Simon), gives Further Down a leg up on classic rock sound-alikes. There is an album-oriented rock approach that feeds off Further Down’s roots and lets them blossom like an Arkansas mountain range.
Radio stations such as Clear Channel’s KISS 101.9 and Z 100.5 in Jonesboro, as well as Z95.5 in Poplar Bluff, MO; The Max 93.1 in Batesville, AR; and Rock 103 in Memphis have all jumped on board, giving Further Down the kind of regional push needed to branch out into other markets in the South and Midwest. In addition, the album is being nationally distributed by Select-O-Hits (Memphis) and the Band's indie label, WoodShed Records.
And along with the powerful studio release, Further Down has refined an airtight live show in markets such as Little Rock, St. Louis, Memphis and Nashville with plans to branch out more in 2008. They have shared the stage with the likes of Live, Flyleaf, Ingram Hill, Warrant, Poison, Our Lady Peace and more.
FURTHER DOWN BRANCHES OUT by Nightflying - 12.10.07 Northeast Arkansas’ Further Down has been making quite a name for itself over the years. Their fans and critics alike agree – these young men are really onto something. Further down features...
LOCAL BAND FURTHER DOWN, CONSIDERED FOR 8 GRAMMYS by The Jonesboro Sun - 11.23.07 JONESBORO — FURTHER DOWN is a local band that’s been pretty busy lately, and band members said slowing down isn’t on their agenda. The band, which consists of vocalist Micheal Collins, guitarist...
FURTHER DOWN BRANCHES OUT by Nightflying - 12.10.07 Northeast Arkansas’ Further Down has been making quite a name for itself over the years. Their fans and critics alike agree – these young men are really onto something.
Further down features Micheal Collins on vocals, Robby Rigsbee on guitars, Josh Copeland on vocals and guitars, Dustin "Red" Dorton on vocals and bass and Evan Wilons on drums.
Asked for a brief history of the band, Rigsbee replied, “…I started the band in high school with some friends, and after high school I started to get really serious and the other guys had things to do. So I hooked up with Micheal, and we started writing, and that’s how the band started.”
The lineup has changed over time, as many bands with longevity tend to do, and the guys have grown a lot, both in years and in experience. The list of major acts the band has shared the stage with is very long, including Live, Saliva, Seether, King's X, Tantric, Switchfoot, Drowning Pool, Flyleaf, Our Lady Peace, Clutch, and many, many more.
It seems at least some of the members of Further Down were destined to play music - the guitar core includes cousins of rock legends, Tommy Shaw (Styx) and Jim Dandy Mangrum (BOA).
Now with a new album, 7 Years Hard Luck, gaining strength, the band is reaping some fairly serious rewards. The release is being distributed regionally to record stores through their independent label, WoodShed Records, LLC and national independent record distributor, Select-O-Hits, in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee.
7 Years Hard Luck" was recorded in Memphis at the legendary Ardent Studios and was produced by Pete Matthews (Evanescence, North Mississippi Allstars, Devon Allman, Paul Simon). He is credited with the development and signing of Arkansas’ multi-platinum artists Evanescence to WindUp Records. Rick Steff (Hank Williams, Jr., The Gin Blossoms) is featured on keyboards on "Black & Bleach" and Susan Marshall (Lenny Kravitz, Afghan Whigs, Lynyrd Skynyrd) & Jackie Johnson are featured as backing vocals on "Get Your Rocks Off".
The songs are heavily influenced by the early sounds of The Black Crowes, Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd with explosive southern vocals, impressive powerful hooks, and dual lead guitars. The new record is billed as “an exciting new style of southern rock & roll” and it seems to be pleasing a lot of ears; portraying images about love, relationships and the southern way of life from the delta of Arkansas.
Further Down's live performance is one of the top southern rock shows in the Mid-South with main stage performances. Arkansas Times earlier this year said of their show, "Tight, powerful, and with new songs that struck a chord, plus a couple at the end from their earlier days that are top flight rock songs. This is a rock band that in constantly touring the region has learned to perform to a level seen from big-time touring acts."
Further Down has also recently joined the roster of A&R Firm, Big Noise, LLC, which includes major acts such as Christina Aguilera, Katharine McPhee, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Patti Rothberg, actor/director Andrew McCarthy, Tiffani Thiessen and Chicago.
The band has released their new music video, "What You Say". The video is produced and directed by the Harpole Phillips Group and features actors, Brandon Baxter (Jonesboro AR) and Lorriane Smith (Hollywood CA).
As another reward for their hard work and perseverance, Further Down has entered into a synchronization and master use licensing agreement with Games Productions, Inc. of New York. The license agreement authorizes Executive Producer Dan Schneider to use songs from the Band's record, 7 Years Hard Luck, in several television shows that air on the Nickelodeon Television Network. Mr. Schneider is the creative force behind several highly acclaimed televisions shows, including iCarly, Drake & Josh and Zoey 101.
If all this wasn’t enough, the band was blown away to find they were on the official Grammy ballot for 2008 in 8 categories. Singer Collins said, “We haven’t been nominated for any awards. I think there is a little misunderstanding out there about how the Grammy process works. The official ballot for the nominations just came out and we received ballot entries in 8 categories, including Best New Artist. I was surprised because we didn’t know anything about the ballot entries until our manager told us about it. The official nominees will be determined by the voting members and certain committees.” The band agrees it’s just wonderful to hear their name mentioned with the word ‘Grammy.’
Here’s hoping 2008 is bigger and better for Further Down!
by Jennifer McClellan
Nightflying - 12.10.07
LOCAL BAND FURTHER DOWN, CONSIDERED FOR 8 GRAMMYS by The Jonesboro Sun - 11.23.07 JONESBORO — FURTHER DOWN is a local band that’s been pretty busy lately, and band members said slowing down isn’t on their agenda.
The band, which consists of vocalist Micheal Collins, guitarist Robby Rigsbee, guitarist Josh Copeland, bassist Dustin “Red” Dorton and drummer Evan Wilons, has been around in one incarnation or another since the late ’90s. And recently the group has garnered some national attention, according to band manager Skip Mooney.
The manager said FURTHER DOWN’s most recent album, “7 Years Hard Luck,” has earned the group eight ballot entries for the Grammys. Due to the long process involved with the Grammys, there’s no telling if the band will make it to the awards ceremony, but the guys said they’re honored to even be considered.
“Just to hear the word Grammy and FURTHER DOWN in the same line is great,” Rigsbee said.
“7 Years Hard Luck” is the blues- and southern rock-influenced group’s third release, following a self-titled debut in 2000 and “The Chloe Sessions” in 2003.
Dorton said that someone who listens to each of the band’s albums “can actually hear us grow up. We were kids when we started, so everything changes when you grow from a teen-ager.”
Rigsbee said the group’s CDs “are all completely different. Our latest is our most mature.”
“7 Years Hard Luck” is now available in more than 18 states, involving chain and independent record stores in 60 major cities, and the group has put a lot of energy toward supporting it.
As if they weren’t busy enough playing shows and promoting “7 Years Hard Luck,” the guys are already hard at work on a fourth album they plan to start recording in the next few months.
“We have a lot of new songs, but not all of them make a final release,” Collins said. “I think about six of them are ready for our next full length.”
The band is even working to get its music on television. FURTHER DOWN recently entered into a synchronization and master use licensing agreement with Games Productions Inc. of New York. The license agreement authorizes producers to use songs from the band’s record “7 Years Hard Luck,” in several television shows that air on Nickelodeon, band members said.
So why all this work? “Music is my life — it’s all I think about,” Rigsbee said. “I listen to it all day, watch music DVDs. I just want to be able to do it forever. It’s the feeling you get when you hear a chord, a memory that you recall when you hear a certain song and a reaction from a fan when you play a song that makes you keep playing.”
Band members cited various groups that have influenced their work including Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Petty, Joe Cocker, Tool and The Black Crowes.
“There are some influences, but we try to keep it original,” Dorton said.
Band members said they enjoy making music because of the connection they can make with other people. “I want our songs to become a part in people’s lives, so they can look back ... and say, ‘That song reminds me of this or that,’” Rigsbee said. “What makes music great is the memories that it stamps in people’s minds.”
Collins writes most of the band’s lyrics, focusing on life experiences. “A lot of my inspiration comes from observations in venues, parties and fans when we are on the road,” Collins said. “Some (songs) are just about relationships and everyday life. I pretty much have stayed out of the political arena, but there is certainly a lot to write about these days.”
“We are not interested in trying to change the world with our music so we try to release songs with themes that concentrate on the areas of partying and women,” Copeland said.
Rigsbee started FURTHER DOWN in high school with some friends, but after graduating the other members were too busy to continue to play with the band. In 1999 the guitarist found Collins, and the two knew they were on to something.
“Robby and I clicked instantly,” Collins said. As the years continued on, the band picked up Copeland, Dorton and Wilons. “We are pretty much a family now,” Dorton said.
When FURTHER DOWN plays live, band members said they never know what to expect. “Our fans range from little kids to their grandparents depending upon the venue,” Collins said. “You never know who might show up.”
Though the group is mostly interested in performing original tunes, the guys don’t mind playing a few covers. “We try to keep it interesting,” Collins said. “Anything from ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’ to ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’”
FURTHER DOWN has played a lot of live shows all over the Mid-South, and band members said they are grateful for the numerous performers with whom they’ve shared the stage.
by Chris Swindle
Unsigned The Magazine (January 2008) by Unsigned The Magazine (Januar There’s no doubt that these guys are great musicians with impressive ablilities on their respective instruments and have the knack for writing great hooks. I see great potential for them. I say potential but they could already be “there”.
GONE COUNTRY MAGAZINE (Jan. 2008) by GONE COUNTRY MAGAZINE It isn't any secret that rock bands, and more importantly southern rock tinged bands have started to find their way into the country market and attract some fans that other wise wouldn't have found their music. Arkansas based Further Down is the next band to do just that. It really isn't too much of a surprise that their influences range from the Black Crowes to Led Zeppelin. More often than not you're assaulted with loud, screeching guitars, and trying to find a slow song without a ton of energy thrown into it is like finding a needle in a haystack on "7 Years Hard Luck." Fans of the work of the early Black Crowes are going to absolutely love tracks like "Black and Bleach," "Power of Revelation," and "Get Your Rocks Off." Country music fans may think this is a little rough around the edges and they would be right. If you are looking for straight country or even something that would be played on country radio, Further Down most likely isn't that band. They have southern rock influences in their background and you will most likely be able to find a band like this on radio stations along side Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, etc… This is a great album for the rockers or for those folks that came to modern country from a rock background. Further Down plays fist pumping, beer swiggin', rock-n-roll with a backbone, so if that's your thing then this is the band for you.
Rock is Life by Rock is Life (March 2008) Genre
Hard rock / southern rock
A killer, fuzzy riff super-charges the opening track “Black & Bleach.” Michael Collins’ vocals remind you of many of the great southern rockers that came before him. You have to dig that southern piano pounding that rings throughout. “What You Say” is full of soul and passion and guitar licks that enhance the vocal melodies. If you love bending guitar runs and twangy riffage, then “One Night Stand Up” is for you. The powerful vocals should not be ignored either.
“Get Your Rocks Off” is a good ol’ southern rocker that is sure to make Lynyrd Skynyrd proud. There’s no doubt that this song gets the crowd moving. The dual guitar work of Robby Rigsbee and Josh Copeland steal the show on “Burnt Side Down.” “Hit of Miss” is a perfect radio track for Further Down. Catchy choruses and memorable riffs. The band cuts loose with the hard rocking closing track “Cactus in the Sand.”
No major label support, not enough publicity, and the fact you’ve never heard of them.
One of the most impressive self-released albums I’ve ever heard. Further Down can kick out the southern rock jams as well as the southern blues on their latest album 7 Years Hard Luck. Let’s put some money behind this machine and get them rolling!
HARDROCK HAVEN by HARDROCK HAVEN (Feb. 2008) by Chris Hauff
Comments: In looking at the pictures and artwork on 7 Years Hard Luck, you’d think you’re going to get a good-ole-boy Southern rock band. If you’re thinking such thoughts, you’re going to be in for quite a surprise.
Further Down is Southern rock after it’s been pissed off for a good long while. Sound confusing? It’s simple really: sure, there are definitely Southern rock roots in the band’s music. But it’s really just a straight up rock attitude and sound. 7 Years Hard Luck might best be described as 3 Doors Down spends a weekend with the Black Crows and Lynyrd Skynyrd stopped by for a surprise visit.
“Black & Bleach,” the album’s opening track, is a driving blues song that has a little mix of Black Crows and Lynyrd Skynyrd. It’s a catchy song and a nice high energy opener.
“Power of Revelation” is a standard 1-4-5 blues song. It might resemble a Lynyrd Skynyrd song more than any other on the album because of the chord structure and attitude.
One of the more interesting songs on the album is “Get Your Rocks Off”. With its walking bass line, Van Halen-esque harmonies and smokin’ lead, this track is tight.
Another song that deserves recognition is “Burnt Side Down”. It’s a strong rock song that has a catchy verse with an appropriate tom-heavy drum track. It’s one of several that sounds a great deal like 3 Doors Down.
The large scale success of this band depends largely on the support of its label and management to get them the exposure they deserve. It will be interesting to see where Further Down is on the rock radar further into the year.