Southern Accent accepting limited dates

We just got word of a new “part time” band that will performing selected dates starting later in 2010. The group is made up of several prominent musicians who have made their careers primarily as sidemen, so it will be interesting to see what they pull together.

Southern Accent is the name they have chosen for the new venture, which will feature Wyatt Rice and John Miller on guitar, Jesse Brock on mandolin, Joey Cox on banjo and Mike Conner on bass. Given Jesse’s sturdy commitment to Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Norman Wright will also do shows with the band on mandolin when he isn’t tied up with Darren Beachley and the Legends of the Potomac.

Conner, who will be managing the band, shared a nice overview of why there is reason to expect a great deal from this bunch.

“Musicians are always looking for other avenues of expression, other ways to do what they do. This group is no different.

As you’re probably aware, Wyatt splits his time between touring with brother Tony and The Unit, and a busy schedule from his own studio where’s he’s built quite a reputation as a mixing engineer along with brother Ronnie. When it comes to the guitar, there’s virtually nothing beyond his abilities or musical vision.

The same can be said of Jesse, who not only works regularly with one of the hottest bluegrass groups touring today, but has recently been co-producing with John Miller a fantastic new all-gospel project with prolific writer Rick Lang in Maine. I’ve heard some cuts off of that project (Wyatt and Ronnie Rice are mixing & mastering it now) and I predict it will be one of the most talked about new albums of 2010-2011. The ‘cast of characters’ of singers and musicians on this project is absolutely top-flight (Russell Moore & Dale Ann Bradley for starters – pretty good starting spot), great arrangements, just a pleasure to listen to.

Joey is of course still a young man, but his musical experience with Doyle Lawson, Blueridge, and Kenny & Amanda Smith just to name a few, is a resume that few players of bluegrass can claim, and for the first time in a while, he’ll get to show off that voice he’s been hiding, not to mention the other instruments on which he’s more than proficient.

John is a multi-instrumentalist, doubling on guitar & mandolin, and some soaring vocals of his own.  And when we begin to talk about ‘road schola'” experience in his case, the list is pretty impressive as well. LRB, J D Crowe, Bill Emerson, Junior Sisk, Norman Wright, and Herschel Sizemore have all had the pleasure of John’s musical support on stage, and in some cases in the studio.

As the guy with the least ‘street cred’ in the bluegrass world, playing with these fellows is quite a treat for me, one I’m very much looking forward to. I’ve had the recent pleasure of working with Jason Moore on some bass workshops (next being The DC Bass Strummit with Jason, Mike, and guest bassist Tom Gray at the DCBU Festival March 27th), my on-going work with Roanoke FiddleFest now in its 8th year, and I’m still picking with the guys in Sandy Ridge. John & I do a duo gig as well (The Retreads) locally to keep our chops up and have a bit of walking around money, so although music isn’t my full-time occupation, I’m most certainly busy with it.”

Southern Accent doesn’t yet have a web presence, but that is in the works. They expect to tour primarily in the fall and winter when the festivals slow down and bluegrass moves indoors. Promoters and venues interested in working with the band can reach Mike Conner by email or phone (866-883-9466).

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • bdcnurse

    Some good friends of mine have been in bluegrass for 16 years and they are named Southern Accent. I was not aware that there even was another group named Southern Accent! Maybe you would be interested in checking them out at They are a wonderful group of very gifted musicians who play bluegrass and gospel bluegrass. They are very well known in northwestern North Carolina and have also performed at various locations throughout the southest. It may be confusing to their fans as well as yours to share the same name, and that would be unfortunate for both groups as well as each bands fan base. Please take te time to get to know these wonderful musicians and I’m sure they would be interested in getting to know you all. Good luck in your future musical endeavors!

  • parlierm

    I assume that this isn’t the same Southern Accent bluegrass/gospel group based out of the Boone, North Carolina area? Glad there is another bluegrass group starting up, but was a little confused when I saw the title of the above article referring to Southern Accent. Thought our friends around Boone were the only folk with this group name.

  • wbaird

    Dear ‘Southern Accent’ (new band),
    My name is Whitney and I live in the Mountains of NC and there is already a band named Southern Accent that is not a professional band but is very popular in our area and is becoming more recognized. I didn’t know if you already had heard but Southern Accent the name has been used for around 16 years by this group. I hope to not cause a problem by saying this. I just wondered if this could cause a problem for booking purposes and so on for the band that is already currently using this name…. If you would like to research this further their website is also they have a blogspot and facebook that i visit regularly to check upcoming schedules, photos, and to find out other information about cd’s and so on concerning this Bluegrass Gospel Band of NC. Once again, thank you for your time! Have a blessed day!
    Whitney <3

  • mawwood15

    I am very surprised to hear of another band is calling themselves Southern Accent. I have been in the Blue Ridge Mountains for over 25 years and as for me there is only one Southern Accent Band, with whom I would like to see.
    I am very disappointed that no one did there homework on this.
    This band from Vilas, North Carolina, have many C-D’s, have a web-site and has played in many venues for as long as I remember. They travel not just around North Carolina but in other states too.
    I go to their web-site all the time so that I will know when and where they are playing.
    It said in the article that Joey with musical experience with Doyle Lawson. I know for a fact that if he asked Doyle if he knew of a band name Southern Accent he would say yes. I believe he played with them last year at our Boone fairgrounds.
    And I know for a fact that Southern Accent has played with Doyle Lawson many times before.
    I don’t know what can be done about this but I just wanted to let someone know that there already is a bluegrass/gospel/southern band out there and they are here to stay.

    Thank you for listening.

  • Dennis Love

    I’m confused that you chose the name Southern Accent. They are already a well-known bluegrass/gospel group thats been together for 16 years. It’s my personal opinion that choosing their name will bring nothing but confusion and frustration to both groups. I’m not sure what you call what you are doing in music circles, but I would call it an injustice to the “Southern Accent” that is well-known in North Carolina homes and churches. They have produced many CD’s and their music plays regularly on many secular radio stations in North Carolina. How about checking them out and considering a new name for your band.

  • appcyn

    There is already a very talented bluegrass group in Western North Carolina that goes by the name Southern Accent. They have been singing together for 17 years. A new bluegrass group is always welcome, but for me there can be only one Southern Accent.

  • kathygilliam

    Southern Accent? I don’t think so. Southern Accent is a group from the mountains of North Carolina that have been together for quite some time and there can only be one by that name. Google it and you’ll find them!

  • Jantes

    Glad to hear that a new bluegrass group is forming, but we already have a group called “Southern Accent” that is from the mountains of NC. They have been formed for 16 years, and have
    gotten many CDs released. They are a bluegrass gospel group and are really respected and enjoyed throughout the country, from
    New York to Florida.
    My husband and I have formed a Bluegrass Gospel Jam at our Church,
    Middle Fork Baptist Church, which Southern Accent hosts. We have a website, which I recommend you check out. . Good luck with your group.

  • triplettsw

    I am very confused……I was reading your blog, thinking it was about one of my favorite bands, Southern Accent? They are from Boone, NC and have been “Southern Accent” for, oh I don’t know, 16 years or so………the band you are referring to in this blog sounds nothing like the band I know, and LOVE. I am thinking you did not realize that the name “Southern Accent” was already taken, but it would seem to me that now that you do know (how could you not from all the previous blogs posted and correspondence), you would respectfully, professionally and out of good common decency rename your band, giving up the name “Southern Accent”. The Southern Accent I know and love are GOOD, Christian people and I know they do not want any drama……so please, consider this request. Thank you, God Bless and have a great day!

  • gredwine

    Hi, Just wanted to let you know that I am a fan of bluegrass music, especially bluegrass gospel and there is a band thaat I listen to that already has the name Southern Accent. To prevent confusion for those of us who love bluegrass music, would you please consider another name?