Nashville may be the home of country music, but as far as one local band is concerned, a small town outside of Memphis holds the key to their success.
Tony Cannon and Southbound, a band that consists of four McDuffie County residents, recently received word that they will be auditioning at a Capitol Records event in a Memphis suburb on Aug. 18-22. If things go well, a record deal could be in their future.
Members of Tony Cannon and Southbound -- (Front row, l-r) Jake Jacobs, Tony Cannon, Gene Watkins and Robbie Ansley; (Back row) Ed Gaskill, Barton Ficzere and Chris Powers -- pose for publicity photos at Watson-Brown house last week.
"I think it's a tremendous opportunity," said Dearing resident Robbie Ansley, a backup singer with the band. "I'm real excited about it. They're a real strong band. If you hear them play, you would think they've been together 10 years."
The audition came about when the band applied to be the opening act for a Capitol artist. The record company then contacted the band about auditioning for that spot, but band members are enthusiastic about their chances, not only for the opening act, but also for further success.
"It's a pretty big deal for us," said Thomson resident Jake Jacobs, the band's bassist. "We don't know how far it's going to go, but it's an opportunity for us."
Southbound has the ultimate goal of getting a record deal, but for right now they are keeping things in perspective. They would like to get noticed by opening up for big name acts like Toby Keith.
"It would be awesome for us just to be picked to open up for one of these major artists," Mr. Jacobs said.
The band has an album on Gold Bar Records right now and will be releasing another one on Atlanta Records this fall. They hope to catch the attention of Capitol Records during this upcoming audition, and hope that it will bring them the opportunity to play more shows.
Recently the band has played several shows around the area. They played at the Raysville fireworks show, local fairs, the Redneck Festival in Dublin, Ga. and they opened for Trace Adkins when he played Augusta in May.
Adding success on top of the band's upcoming audition, Mr. Ansley, a recent addition to the band, may soon be adding more than just his voice to the mix. He has only been with Southbound for a month, but Mr. Ansley was recently named a finalist in an international song writing competition.
Song of the Year is a contest that supports VH1's Save the Music Foundation. Mr. Ansley's song "Lookin' Back," which was inspired by a friend's fishing trips with his father, helped him place in the top five of the competition for the month of May.
"It was very surprising," Mr. Ansley said. "I was hoping, but I was very shocked and surprised that I did come in the top five. That now qualifies me to have all of my material that I did send in, sent to major record labels and companies and producers and managers."
Other members of Southbound from McDuffie County are guitar player Chris Powers and keyboard and guitar player Bart Ficzere.