ROBBIE MORRIS interview Stage Life Magazine June 2016

ION MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER REVIEW and photos of Shanytown's performance headlining/opening Chattanooga's River Front Nights six week concert series. Pages 152-159 REVIEW


ION MAGAZINE JULY ARTICLE and photos on Shanytown. Pages 146-149 ARTIC

VISIT US @ MTV ARTISTS:  SHANYTOWN

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Country Rebel
article: Country Rebel

"There is a reason Jacksonville, Florida produces some of the best talent in the Southern rock genre. Have you ever wondered why? Case in point: Ronnie Van Zant and his relatives.  It doesn't take long to see that the family roots in music run far and wide. After the founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd lost his life in the tragic 1977 plane crash, it was his younger brother Johnny Van Zant who stepped up as lead vocalist for the band. 

But the talent doesn't end there. Ronnie was also the older brother of the founder and vocalist of 38 Special, Donnie Van Zant, the father of singer Tammy Van Zant, and cousin of musician Jimmie Van Zant. With so much talent in one place, a family tree diagram would be helpful, right?  Luckily we are zoning in on two brothers who are not mentioned above. Yes, the family tree continues to expand! Robbie Morris and Ronnie Morris are the nephews of the late Ronnie, Donnie and Johnny Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 38 Special, and The Johnny Van Zant Band. It isn't hard to imagine that all of these influential bands came from the same roots, and the best part is, it's true.  Both Robbie and Ronnie feel connected to the foundation in music that was laid before them.

Robbie learned drums at the age of ten and began a professional career at just 14-years old. Ronnie was presented with his first guitar at the age of eight from his uncle Ronnie, for whom he was named after. Many refer to the musician as "Lil" Ronnie. From the very start they were destined to follow in their uncle's footsteps. The brothers had careers apart for many years until they eventually reconnected for their Shanytown. Shanytown carried on the family tradition of originality, creativity, and the blend of all genres. Whether you're a fan of Southern rock, rock, or country you'll love this legacy of the Van Zant family. Listen to Shanytown's "Lost Souls" below. See if you can hear the family resemblance.  


FROM "COUNTRY MUSIC CRITICS' BALLOTS FOR 2013"-- ENTRY FROM ONE OF THE CRITICS.

TOP TEN COUNTRY ALBUMS OF 2013:1. Ashley Monroe – Like A Rose (Warner Music Nashville)
2. Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park (Mercury)
3. The Mavericks – In Time (Valory Music Co.)
4. Gretchen Wilson – Right On Time (Redneck)
5. Gary Allan – Set You Free (MCA/Nashville)
6. Pistol Annies – Annie Up (RCA)
7. Brandy Clark – 12 Stories (508/State Creek)
**8. Shanytown – Shanytown (Garage Door)
9. Cassadee Pope – Frame By Frame (Republic Nashville)
10. The Band Perry - Pioneer (Republic Nashville)

COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST DUOS, TRIOS OR GROUPS OF 2013:
1. The Mavericks 
2. Pistol Annies
**3. Shanytown

COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST NEW ACTS OF 2013:
1. Brandy Clark
**2. Shanytown
3. Cassadee Pope


January 1, 2014

Shanytown – Shanytown***½ (out of 4 stars)
Label: Garage Door Records
Gregg Victor -- ParcBench.com

As we close out 2013 (doing our best to ignore what a lackluster year it has been in just about every way, even musically speaking) and look forward to 2014 (in the faith that the quality of music at least has nowhere to go but up), it’s time to mention one of the true highlights of the past year — Shanytown’s self-titled debut album.

Shanytown consists of Ronnie Morris (rhythm and lead guitar, lead vocals), Robbie Morris (drums), Kevin Williams (rhythm and lead guitar, vocals), Charles Moody (bass guitar) and Tommy Bluestreetcar (rhythm and lead guitar, vocals). Both of the Morris gentlemen in the band are nephews of the late, great Ronnie Van Zant. From the sound of this album, they are committed to maintaining the important family musical legacy while still keeping things relevant.
The album covers a wide range of material, offering plenty of opportunities for each band member to showcase his musicianship. The playing is so good here that it is equal to the importance of the vocals. Song after song, the energy never lags; the vitality of live performance is captured on each track.

The sound Shanytown creates has an integrity at its center. The casual vibe (surrounded by excellent guitar-playing) is just about the definition of good rock music, Southern or anywhere. So crank it up, enjoy your New Year’s Eve and here’s to 2014… and bands like Shanytown out there bringing honor to American music.

Essential Downloads: “Redneck,” “Shany Town,” “Brother.”
To preview or purchase this album on iTunes, click here.

Sept 29 2013

MIDWEST RECORD – CHICAGO, IL

Their last name might be Morris but they are the nephews of the various Van Zant brothers that wrote the book on southern rock a generation or two ago.  With the bloodlines showing family and local pride, they take southern rock to the next, contemporary, level of the game.  The roots are kept intact but the branches are going where they will.  With as much music in their blood as anyone whose last name is Ellington, Sturgis doesn’t have to worry about finding headliners for a good long time.  The south is rising again.  Hot stuff. – Chris Spector


Oct 5th, 2013

Bman's Blues Report

 

I just received the new self-titled release from Shanytown and it hits like a chainsaw! Opening with Redneck, a track with plenty of grit and swagger, these descendents of the Van Zant family and Lynyrd Skynyrd are cutting a new path in southern rock. Oh, the guitar is there and the pounding beat is there but this has a sound all of it's own. Featuring Ronnie Morris on guitar and lead vocal, Robbie Morris on drums, Kevin Williams on guitars and vocals and Charles Moody these guys are hitting the road running. Buddy Harrington plays fiddle on this opener giving it a country flavor. Peace Of Mind is a rock ballad well suited for airplay. With it's southern story line and harmonic vocals it may call to mind even moreso, Marshall Tucker Band, again but with a new spin. Mexico has a real heavy bass and growl on guitar having a strong metal or garage influence but not leaving the southern rock stream. Shany Town has a cool guitar riff and a sound reminiscent of I Ain't The One with a lot of spunk and country kick. Brother is a slower ballad with vocal doubling and stinging guitar riffs again with more of a heavy overtone and finely articulated guitar arpeggios. Fishing is another radio bound track with a taste of John Mellencamp. Key southern rock clues are ever present in the rhythm patterns and guitar riffs but the sound is fresh. One More Night opens with vocals over arpegiated chords and a sound space backing but develops into a full rocker sounding like 38 Special at it's best. Loud Pipes is a road driver with a solid bottom and some of the flashiest guitar work on the release. Justin's Song is another track that could easily find favorable airplay. These guy have a knack for keeping the sting in a memorable tune. Wrapping the release, Lost Soulsdisplays some really fat slide work making this easily the my favorite track on the release.


Oct 29, 2013

Acoustic Music  Mark S. Tucker


"...A heck of a lot of the famed Southern vibe is devil may care, heavily macho, on the dark side, and vigorous. Shanytown neglects none of those dusky virtues, as the ZZ Top-ish Mexico more than demonstrates. No clue who did the engineering and such (promo copy, y'all), but it's immaculate, perfectly balanced and presented, may just sit as the new paradigm for this ilk of hellraising. There are ballads here—Brothers is one—but they're of the terbacky-chawin', slit-eyed, gruff demeanor common to the mode, which, frankly, do a fuck of a lot more for me than all the radio drizzle that makes ya want to tear the damn device out the Chevy's dashboard and toss it out the window. And ballad it may be but it doesn't stay quiet for very long. The Shanytown boys may not be cutting any new ground here, but they sure as hell are re-setting the clock back to its glory days when dusty, straw-haired, rock-n-rollin' shitkickers could fill arenas and damn near level 'em with decibels and attitude alone..."

Nov 3 2013

"Pop Culture Classics' -Paul Freeman


It's no wonder that this Southern rock has the ring of authenticity. Skynyrd is in ShanyTown's blood. Guitarist/lead vocalist Ronnie Morris and his brother, Robbie, the drummer, are nephews of the Van Zant brothers. Gritty vocals, dazzling blues guitar licks, a tight rhythm section and potent songwriting fuel this album. Powerhouse tracks include "Redneck," "Mexico" and "Me and Mine." The band can also slow it down soulfully for "One More Night" and "Justin's Song." The slide on "Lost Souls" will send chills up your spine. A formidable debut.



NOV 6, 2013

"Luxury Experience" Magazine -- 
Written by Edward F. Nesta 


Shanytown Roll up your sleeves and get ready for Southern Rock like you have not heard it in quite some time with the debut release by Shanytown. Drawn from the genes of great Southern Rock greats like Lynyrd Skynyrd, 38 Special, and The Johnny Van Zant bands, the bothers Ronnie Morris and Robbie Morris, nephews of the late Ronnie, Donnie, and Johnny Van Zant, make their uncles proud.

Shanytown: Redneck; Peace of Mind; Mexico; Shany Town; Brother; Fishing; One More Night; Loud Pipes; Me & Mine; Justin’s Song; Lost Souls 

Personnel: Ronnie Morris: Rhythm and Lead Guitars, Lead Vocals; Robbie Morris: Drums; Kevin Williams; Rhythm and Lead Guitars, Background Vocals; Charles Moody: Bass Guitar; Jonathan DeMaio: Synth Strings and Organ; Steve Reynolds: Percussion; Buddy Harrington: Fiddle; Glenn Halverson: Lead and Rhythm Guitars: Duane Johnson: Lead and Rhythm Guitars, Backing Vocals 

Shanytown was produced by Robbie Morris and Glenn Halverson and was released on the Garage Door Records label; this marks the inaugural release for the Southern Rock band Shanytown. When the genes fit let them rock away, and with the Morris brothers, nephews of members of three renowned Southern Rock bands, Lynyrd Skynyrd, 38 Special, and The Johnny Van Zant Band, they show that Southern Rock courses through their veins. 

The release opens with the track Redneck, a powerful introduction to a band that knows how to lay it on the line with great lyrics and vocals paced by some feathered guitar licks, dancing fiddle work, pulsating drums, and down and dirty bass riffs. The track Peace of Mind features the great vocal prowess of Ronnie Morris and Kevin Williams as they sing “…don’t misunderstand me I’ve got to make a change, this place is taking me, it’s driving me insane…,” tight harmonies, a strong bass line, and some sassy guitar round out the track. 

The release moves to the track Mexico and the guitar sabers roar into action slicing their way through this driving melody and the catchy lyrics lead you to sing along “It’s a long ways to Mexico…don’t have to go the way I did…” 

The band’s “namesake” track Shany Town shows some moxie with biting lyrics, “I’ve got to break this chain before it takes me down below, I never tried to do you wrong, never tried to bring you down,” a rousing melody paced by lashing guitar riffs and a heavy base line will satisfy any serious southern rock aficionado. 

The track Brother slows down the release with a powerful ballad that rings off the guitar licks and the vocals of Ronnie Morris. Brother ties Shanytown’s sound together with all of the elements from tight musicianship, classic rock vocals and lyrics, and a sound that may become their anthem for years to come. 

Fishing pulls the chords in and reverbs on Ronnie’s intense vocals, a track destined to become a popular in the car sing-along track. “Have you ever been fishing on a warm summer night, full moon hanging over your head and the stars shining so bright,” to which we all can relate and dream. 

Superb guitar work opens the track One More Night and lays the tracks for Ronnie’s vocals to ride on before blazing into a rockin’ southern onslaught; air guitar and air drumming are a perfect complement for the listener. 

My favorite track is Loud Pipes, a raw energy 1000cc open throttle power drive down southern rock-n-roll lane. Let the wind blow in your face, sit back and enjoy the open ride as you listen to some of the most powerful guitar riffs and drumming that you have heard. 

The track Justin’s Song is another catchy tune that will be on many people’s play list. Ronnie’s lyrics “It’s been so long since you been around, you been up and I’ve been down, so down. We tried so hard to work things out….You took my heart and tore it apart and thank God my lord I’ve got my son, my son…” Who cannot empathize with the passion and feelings that are carried on this track with a melody that punctuates the fervor. 

The release closes with some imposing slide work on Lost Souls and Ronnie’s catchy lyrics “…there’s two things you don’t want around, record companies and cocaine, lord they will bring you down…” Move over Lynyrd Skynyrd, 38 Special, and The Johnny Van Zant Band, Shanytown shows that the genes did not fall far from the southern rock tree; this is a band that not only keeps the sound alive, but they have moved it forward to new heights.

NOV 15, 2013

Review from Canada 
Rock Doc reviews for Nov.15th, 2013
Canada Online News | Gonzo Online! - Music
WRITTEN BY JOHN THE ROCK DOCTOR KEREIFF

SHANYTOWN Shanytown (Garage Door) ****

The debut album from another branch of the Lynyrd Skynyrd family tree. Southern rock with plenty of guitar action, I gotta say this is a very likable disc.

For some the Skynyrd connection is a selling feature, but not for me- a few hits aside, most of which Classic Rock radio overplays like a zealous retard, I’ve never been that into them. But I do like hooky, riffy guitar-driven rock and Shanytown’s self titled debut has that in spades. Singer/ guitarist Ron Morris and drummer Robbie Morris are nephews to the Van Zandt clan, and rounding out the group are guitarist Kevin Williams and bassist Charles Moody. I love the sound of Les Pauls squalling out of Marshall stacks, being driven by a blue collar ‘nothin’ fancy let’s just get the job done’ rhythm section, and that describes this disc quite nicely.
 
With power chords and skittering violin figures Red Neck, the album opener, is an impressive calling card, a lyrical twist on the topic you might not be expecting. Songs of brotherhood, loud cars and outdoor pursuits abound, with a heartfelt life on the road mid-tempo ballad like One More Night throwing in for a change of pace. The songs are ‘slice of life’ as is typical of the genre (and of country music too), and that’s just fine by me.

Perhaps most of all, though, Shanytown is a great sounding album. Produced by drummer Robbie Morris and engineer Glenn Halverson it sounds the way a rock & roll album should- the guitars nice and thick yet they don’t get in each other’s way, the bass stays in the pocket to provide the heartbeat, and I even like the sound of the snare drum. This has muscle & heft, begging to be played at physical volumes- who are we to argue?

Shanytown’s brand of brass knuckle/ take no prisoners southern rock & roll is the real deal, and this is a hellaciously fine debut.

COOL CUTS: Redneck, Loud Pipes, Mexico


NOV 22, 2013


Medleyville:

Medleyville

ROOTED IN THE SOUTH

Shanytown is the latest musical branch of the Van Zant family tree

Southern rock owes a lot to the late Ronnie Van Zant. Not only did theLynyrd Skynyrd frontman establish a vocal and lyrical template for the genre’s singers, he also offered guidance to family members as they were trying to figure out their musical strengths.

Drummer Robbie Morris credits his Uncle Ronnie — and a bicycle-riding accident involving Johnny Van Zant, Ronnie’s younger brother — for shaping his career path, as well as Johnny’s.

Morris remembers Uncle Johnny borrowing his brand-new dirt bike circa the mid-1970s and going to Florida’s Jacksonville Speedway to jump its ramps. He returned with a broken arm.

“So I kind of borrowed his drums,” says Morris, who is only about two years younger than Johnny. “I couldn’t get anywhere on the guitar. We lived right next door to my granddad [Lacy Van Zant], so I’d go over there and play Johnny’s drums, and I got better than him.

“Uncle Ronnie came over and heard me playing one day and asked me to play ‘Free Bird.’ So we put the record player on, and I played along with ‘Free Bird.’ He said, ‘Robbie, you’re the drummer.’ The next day, he comes back and gives Johnny a brand-new PA because he knew Johnny could sing. He said, ‘Boy, you’re going to sing. You’re going to get out in front, just like I do, and you’re going to get over your fear.’ ”

And just like that, Ronnie Van Zant had established the voice and the backbeat for what would become The Johnny Van Zant Band, which released its debut album in 1980. While Johnny has since taken over the role in Skynyrd previously held by his brother Ronnie, Morris is now in the band Shanytown with his brother Ronnie — guitarist and singer Ronnie Morris.

Shanytown takes its name from a term Ronnie Van Zant would use to describe where the family (which also included 38 Special singer/guitaristDonnie Van Zant) lived in Jacksonville. On the band’s self-titled debut (reissued in September by Garage Door Records after a digital-only release in 2012), Shanytown resembles Skynyrd at times with its three-guitar attack and no-doubt-about-it Southern pride (see “Redneck,” the album’s opening track).

But Shanytown has a lot more going on, says Robbie Morris, who is careful not to use the phrase Southern rock in his explanation.

“I tried to make a record that doesn’t sound like Lynyrd Skynyrd, and I really don’t think it does,” he says. “Some of our stuff is more bluesy and British. And some of it is kind of country.”

Shanytown is currently working on material for its second album. Morris says the band has about five songs so far, and the plan is to begin recording early next year.

— By Chris M. Junior