Columbia, South Carolina-based five-piece Atlas Road Crew started out in 2011 as five college kids playing for free drinks, cranking out covers, and occasionally writing an original to use as the basis for a jam session. Of course, this is where many bands start, and it’s also where many end.
Not so for Atlas Road Crew.
Since those early days, the group has gone on to become a must-see act in the Southeast on the shoulders of a live show featuring its now-evolved songwriting, performed with a proficiency that isn’t jammy, it’s the jam.
“We started taking our songwriting a lot more seriously as we started to tour and work with different producers and writers in the studio,” explains drummer Patrick Drohan. “We knew we wanted to become more than just another bar band.” Atlas Road Crew also features Taylor Nicholson (Vocals, Guitar), Dave Beddingfield (Lead Guitar), Bryce James (Piano, Vocals), and Max Becker (Bass.)
Working with Grammy award-winning producer Rick Beato was one of the significant turning points that helped the members of Atlas Road Crew focus in on what they were trying to say, and to get the best out of their songs. The result was the 2015 album "Halfway To Hopkins," a punchy collection of soulful southern rock which inspired Relix to describe the band as “a more modern, pristine Allman Brothers.”
Praise like that is pretty far removed from playing for beers, but "Halfway To Hopkins" earned it off of the album’s successful ability to bring Atlas Road Crew’s swampy accents to fresh, contemporary tunes while still managing to capture the energy of the band’s blistering live show.
That last bit is no coincidence, as much of "Halfway To Hopkins" was recorded during studio stops while Atlas Road Crew was on tour.
“We recorded it at three different studios over four months,” says Drohan. “We had just gotten a van, and we were touring constantly, playing bigger and better venues. We were adapting to that artistically, and as our crowds grew, so did our sound.”
Two years after the release of "Halfway To Hopkins," and following a month-long tour of Europe during which the band managed to squeeze in 35 shows, Atlas Road Crew is now ready to turn another musical corner.
“That tour really solidified us into a cohesive rock band,” Drohan explains. “That transformational time had us thinking of the next step, which started leading us away from the southern rock of 'Halfway To Hopkins'”.
Cut to early 2017 and Atlas Road Crew is ready to let its fans in on what they’ve been cooking. “My Own Way,” the band’s new single and music video is just a taste what is on the horizon for Atlas Road Crew this year. The tune shows off a more straightforward rock sound influenced by the band’s contemporaries, and the song’s lyrics, perhaps unintentionally, speak to this mindset as Nicholson sings, “But what can I say, Just lost in a moment, I’ll find my own way.”
Much of that way will continue to be on the road, with plenty of live dates in the queue for Atlas Road Crew in 2017, including shows on the east coast with The Revivalists.
“The evolution of our sound is really exciting for us,” Drohan continues. “We’ve caught some decent breaks, but we also know that no success is overnight, and that an eight-hour drive is always going to take 10-and-a-half.”
“My Own Way” is the latest single and music video by Atlas Road Crew. The band is currently writing and recording material for inclusion on a new album scheduled for arrival later this year.