Southside Union, left to right is Jake Lummus, Russell Bisbey, Cameron Joyner, Paul Rogers.
By SARAH STEVENS
Monday nights at the Cheatham Street Warehouse have been pretty active of late, thanks in no small part to their Battle of the Bands.
A recent competition pitted Southside Union against the Adam Scott Band. The Adam Scott Band went first. At the end of it all, the winner was decided by the audience in a thunderous roar of applause and shouting. The winner was San Marcos’ own Southside Union.
Cheatham Street Warehouse stands in stark contrast to the moody low-key coffee shop acoustics of other local venues. The audience was boisterous and loud, and the music even louder. Cheatham Street has been a haven for local musicians, and even served as a place to meet new bandmates.
Southside Union formed around September of 2008 at Cheatham Street. Bassist Cameron Joyner and guitarist Russell Bisbey met first, with drummer Paul Rogers and guitarist Jake Lummus to follow. They’ve been practicing four nights a week since, according to Rogers.
“I met Russell here at Cheatham Street. We’d come up here and do ‘Songwriter’s Night’ every Wednesday,” said Joyner.
“My roommate actually knew him first and that’s kinda how I started to get to know him,” said Bisbey. “(Cheatham Street Warehouse empresario) Kent (Finlay) gave us the idea to form a band, to join forces.”
Said Rogers, “I met them on Myspace. I had actually known Russell on Myspace for a while. He said, ‘Hey, we need a drummer,’ so I stepped up to the plate, and brought along Jake.”
Southside Union‘s sound is actually quite similar to one of its self-proclaimed influences, George Strait. If George Strait went quite a bit heavier on the bass and guitar. The group has drawn inspiration from an array of sources, and not all of them necessarily musical.
“You can be lying in bed and having a thought,” said Joyner, “or just doing whatever, and you want to just put some music to it and then you want to write things.”
Said Bisbey, “It’s not really easy to explain, inspiration comes from a lot of different places. Anybody really that comes through Cheatham Street has been a big influence.”
Each member of the group can give a different opinion of a favorite song to perform – “It depends on which girlfriend they just broke up with,” said Rogers – but all of them are in agreement on which local venue is their favorite place to play. That is the place they got together, Cheatham Street Warehouse.
“This is kinda like our second home,” Joyner said. “We come up here a few times a week.”
Said Bisbey, “Me and Cameron had been coming up here for about three years. This was really the only place that we’d played. We played solo and we played together. Kent was the one that had the idea for us to make a band. For me it was mostly because this was where we came together. It’s the south side of town and we’re sort of a union of song writers, so … ”
There are no albums available from Southside Union yet, but the band expects one sometime this year.
“We’re trying to get into the studio and get something down,” Joyner said. “This is a pretty recent thing, so we haven’t really had a lot of time to sit down and get in to the studio to record. We’re getting there.”
After a night of foot-stomping country, Southside Union wants fans to go home remembering to, “Support local bands, and your local venues. Come out and listen.”
For more information on Southside Union or to check out some tunes, go to www.myspace.com/southsideunion.