Local band South Of Heaven hit the big time Labor Day weekend when they won the chance to open for some of the biggest names in country music.
The band, whose members hail from Armuchee and Taylorsville, won the Pepsi Southern Original contest in Panama City Beach on Aug. 31, earning the chance to open for Brett Eldredge and Luke Bryan just a couple days later at Gulf Coast Jam, a massive three-day concert featuring such names as Little Big Town, Lee Brice, Jason Aldean, Diamond Rio, Colt Ford, the Oak Ridge Boys and Diamond Rio.
South of Heaven — with its Southern/Classic rock sound — is managed by Patrick McCarty of HWY 20 Entertainment and got a lot of attention when it came out as a winner of the semifinal round of the competition held at the Rome City Brewing Company. Those competitions were held at several venues throughout the region. Five 2016 finalists and five 2017 finalists competed on Aug. 31 in Panama City Beach.
The band’s members are drummer Bristol Perry of Armuchee, lead guitarist Riley Couzzourt of Armuchee, lead vocalist TJ Lyle of Taylorsville, rhythm guitarist Logan Tolbert of Taylorsville and bass guitarist Zach Everett of Taylorsville.
“The competition was awesome,” said Kathie Perry who handles merchandising and marketing for the band. “They got a great reception and crowd reaction after their set and ended up winning.”
After taking the title on Aug. 31, the band had to turn around and prepare for its biggest performance yet, a set at Gulf Coast Jam on Sunday, Sept. 3 where they opened for country stars Brett Eldredge and Luke Bryan.
“They got the day off on Friday after they won on Thursday,” Perry said. “Then on Saturday they played a Gulf Coast Jam afterparty. On Sunday they had to be at the concert venue at 10 a.m. to prepare for their set which started around 2 p.m.”
Perry said the win and performance was a thrill and great exposure for the band.
South of Heaven will play a few local and area shows in the upcoming months including at the Leesburg, Alabama town square on Saturday, Sept. 9 starting at noon, at Sixes Tavern in Cartersville on Oct. 27 and at the Rome City Brewing Company on Nov. 22.