“Some go east and some go west; you know, we go south because that’s what we like the best…”
(Southbound, “Ride The Wave” lyrics)
Once upon a time, there was a young man named Steve Johnson who grew up on Alabama’s Gulf coast. And once upon around the “same-ish” time, another young man named Jimmy Johns was growing up in Greenville, Texas. Well, one day, the stars would align (some will go on record as saying it was just loads of alcohol, but whatever) and bring their different experiences in music together to produce a unique sound…
That “some day” was March 16, 2008.
Steve met Jimmy while he was playing a solo gig at a beach bar in Galveston. Jimmy was down from Austin on vacation. When Steve found out Jimmy could play a guitar, he invited him onstage. Jimmy performed the next three sets with Steve, and it was truly magical. The two played liked they had known each other all their lives.
The bar booked them all summer, and they were a band just like that.
“You never know why the ‘Islands’ choose one over the other,” said Steve. But the boys have been charmed since that day! “Things went so well that Jimmy put a saltwater bottom on his boat and moved from Austin to South Shore, and we have been rockin’ ever since!”
Steve is the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and the songwriter. Jimmy is the lead guitarist, vocals, and the band’s music director. When not performing approximately 150 to 170 shows a year in Texas, Louisiana, the St. Louis are (“We have a fan base there,” said Steve.), and between making trips to the Florida Keys, the pair tend to their day jobs.
Steve is a V.P. of Business Development for McKenzie Tank Lines and Jimmy is a garage door sales person for Garage Door Services.
Jimmy also served in the United States Navy and his father and brother were both in the Marine Corp. Jimmy’s family has a proud tradition of serving the United States Armed Forces.
“Southbound puts the ‘rock’ back into ‘tropical rock,’” Steve said.” We do like to write and sing about the ocean, palm trees and the islands, but we do it in our own Texas Rock style.” Some influences he cites are Jimmy Buffett, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown and Texas country artists such as Josh Abbott and Pat Green.
“We have two CDs of original music out,” said Steve. “The first is titled ‘Hammock In The Keys’ and debuted on Bourbon Street in front of Parrott Heads (Jimmy Buffett fans) from all over the country at the event Pardi Gras. We sold every CD we brought and became national overnight in the “Parrott Head Trop Rock’ world. The title track was up for song of the year at the 2011 Trop Rock Music Awards in Key West, Florida!” Their second CD “Live From Cozumel” was recorded at the Iberostar Resort in Cozumel in Mexico on the first Southbound Trip to Mexico with 80 fans; hence, the need for a trip back!
Some of Southbound’s favorite original songs to perform are “Islamorada,” “Ride The Wave,” and “Raise your Glasses Shake Your Asses.” They do play a large variety of cover songs like “Southern Cross,” “5 O’clock Somewhere,” “Chicken Fried,” “The Joker,” and anything that the crowd requests. “Anyone who wants to show their appreciation for what they hear, can send a Bud Light and a Cuervo shot up to the stage,” said Steve, and added, “Please.”
For the rest of 2013, Southbound maintain their “party bus” status while performing for “great fans in great atmospheres at great venues.” They are currently writing and working on their third CD that could release sometime next spring.
“It definitely takes a village to keep things running smoothly and keep me and Jimmy between the navigational buoys,” said Steve. “We would just like to thank all of our friends and fans for their continued support of Southbound which makes this crazy ride worthwhile!”
For more information or to book Southbound through Steve’s wife Shirley, visit www.SouthboundTX.com.
By Rhonda Meredith (Published in The SCENE Magazine – August 2013)