One listen through South Farwell’s exemplary album Tear Everything Down demonstrates why the band is difficult to categorize. Delivering elements of Blues, soul, country, and Southern rock, intertwining solid musicianship with sincerely-written lyrics, the band is a singular entity in a world of imitators. Although their music defies comparison, it speaks eloquently for itself.
Interviewing the members of the closely-knit group is an often hilarious undertaking akin to herding kittens.“That's it! ‘South Farwell, cute as kittens,’” quipped Bill Boles (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), when asked how he’d describe the group.
Boles (formerly of Easychair; lead vocals, acoustic guitar) and Cory Dahl (formerly of MOJO, Day Old Bread, and CrossRoads Blues Band with Sue Orfield; drums) are more likely to crack jokes and toss jovial banter back and forth than to discuss themselves. That authentic humility, and Boles’s purposeful, heartfelt songwriting, define the substance of the band.
Citing the emotional connection between the members, Dahl says, “As a band, we never play more than a half dozen shows a year. Right now this works for us. It keeps us eager; every show is a big deal to us. We are all great friends and have a deep appreciation for one another, which we hope shows when people come out to listen to us.” He spoke of newest member Ethan Schmidt (bass/vocals) as not just a long-time friend, but as family.
According to Dahl, “It’s our variety of perspectives that truly creates our vibe and sound. In the ten-plus years that we’ve been a band, there has never been a point where we’ve all lived in the same city. This long-distance relationship in music-making has allowed us to be more spontaneous and to live in the moment. It just so happens that the Blues welcomes this approach, and I guess that is where we find ourselves fitting in the Blues genre and community.”
Dahl continues, “Our influences are diverse. Freddy King, Allman Brothers, Black Crowes, Jason Isbell, Dawes, Ray Lamontagne, and many other folk, Blues, jazz, and singer/songwriters have helped shape our sound.”
Rounding out the band are brothers Tim Coughlin (formerly with noted country star Chase Rice; lead guitar, vocals) and Joe Coughlin (saxophone, auxiliary percussion).
“Over time our mission evolved to simply have a great time being together, being creative, and playing music that we love. The Blues community has been a supportive group, welcoming us at festivals and concert series such as Tuesday Night Blues, even though we don’t completely fit the mold of what most would identify as ‘a Blues band,’” says Dahl.
Original. Genuine. Distinctive… just a few of the words we’d use to describe South Farwell, because they’re too focused on the joy of making music - and joking with each other - to talk about themselves.