Red Dirt musician Evan Michaels grew up in musical family – first playing piano then guitar. He learned the ‘ropes’ working at a Nashville, Tennessee recording studio with session players. Back home in Stillwater, Oklahoma he released his first album, One More Friday Night, in 2008. Four years later came his first single/video release was for “Paramount” (off his self-titled EP).
“Being around so many great musicians out there makes you work harder. It gives you an idea of what kind of level you want to get on to make it. I loved being around the songwriters. I came away with a much better understanding of making music.”
In 2015, Michaels formed his current band (their first release was the somber acoustic EP It’s About Time). Raised on Southern rock, Georgia native Thomas Evans (lead guitarist) has been playing guitar for 16 years. Skilled in hip-hop beats, Andrew Bair (piano/organ) trained in classical music, but with his parents’ encouragement, was drawn to the music he plays now. At 12 years old, Ian Smith (bass guitar/backup vocals) wanted to stand apart from his twin guitar-playing brother so he chose to go low and learn bass guitar, adding trombone in high school and baritone in college. Memphis native D.J. Petty (drums) began playing at a local church and has been influenced by jazz, gospel, and blues.
The follow-up EP is this year’s Ain’t No Stopping This (release date June 2). Recorded in Stillwater, it was produced by Michaels and Bair. The new EP is filled with tracks that “embody the essence of youth, emboldened by love and high on carefree attitudes” – from the barriers of denial on “Like It Should,” to the inebriated awareness of sober regret on “Must’ve Been Drinking,” on to the dark side of green-eyed jealousy on “Tomorrow Today,” and the journey love takes in various forms (in bloom, on the rocks, on the mend) in “Too Big For The Both Of Us” and “Bet On A Back Road” (the first single). The band’s sound will remind you of songs by John Michael Montgomery (“I Love the Way You Love Me“, “I Swear“, “Be My Baby Tonight“, “If You’ve Got Love“, “I Can Love You Like That“).
The band has played fairs and festivals with Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Chris Young, William Clark Green, and Whiskey Myers.