Photo courtesy of RiverShine
What do you get when you take four musicians that have some very diverse musical influences and put them together? You get RiverShine! No, that’s not a new kind of backwoods alcoholic beverage. That’s a band, and it’s a good one.
I had no idea what I was in for when I walked into the room, aside from hearing their new single, “The Lover”, which was recently released to all the usual streaming platforms. I knew I loved the song, so that was a plus. I had listened to it several times prior to meeting these guys, but other than a few talking points, I was flying blind. Sometimes going in without a clue isn’t a bad thing. It’s like a present you weren’t expecting to receive, you open it and it’s the coolest thing you never knew you even wanted.
When you interview a group of people, the first thing you need to do is establish who’s who. So, we went around the room, which was actually an office with a rather large desk that took up most of the space, and had everyone introduce themselves. The room itself was nothing to write home about, except for the very familiar Johnny Cash photo hanging on the wall, you know the one, where he’s telling the world what he thinks in “sign language”. I enjoy that photo, and that room was screaming for some “color”, even if it was in black and white. Cash saved the day.
RiverShine consists of Bill Green on Lead Vocals, Dave Jr. on Guitar, Adam Cave on Bass and Kyle Brading on Drums. I was curious as to how they came up with the band name. According to Dave, “Basically, how the name came about, we were sittin’ at camp one night and the moon was shining off the river, and the name just came about as RiverShine.”
All of the band members hail from the Louisville, Kentucky area and currently reside in Southern Indiana. Bill referred to that whole region as “Kentuckiana”, a term I had never heard before, but that’s what I love about talking to people. I learn new things all the time. While they all still live along the Ohio River in Southern Indiana, when asked if there were any plans to make the move to Nashville, Bill replied, “It feels like it. As we’re coming down here all the time and lots of activity, we’ll have to have some kind of place here for sure.”
Kentuckiana image courtesy of Wikipedia
The band formed early in 2018, with Dave and Adam first and Bill and Kyle joining in after. Dave and Adam were in another band prior to starting RiverShine with Adam singing lead vocals and playing rhythm guitar, but when the new band formed, it was decided Adam would move to bass. Adam is well-versed in many instruments, and because all four guys gelled, he was more than happy to pick up the bass to keep that configuration together.
Now that I knew the who, the when and the where, I was ready to dig in a little further. What made these four individuals tick? What kind of music did they listen to growing up?
Kyle: “Well, I grew up with some classic rock with my Dad and my Mom always listened to the country side, so I listened to anywhere from Bon Jovi to Alan Jackson, so I had a very wide range.”
Adam: “I grew up in church listening to the Hosanna music. Then my Dad was a guitar player and he taught me anything that he knew, from Motown to old, old country to classic rock. Then I started digging my roots into the 90’s alternative rock and I just played by ear and everything just came about that way.”
Bill: “I started playing guitar when I was about 12, so back then it was the early 90’s, mid-90’s rock, so I was rockin’ way back then with all the stuff learnin’ how to play guitar and learnin’ all the songs. I ended up being in choir and I heard all kinds of classical stuff and some country stuff and kind of the church thing too, and everything in between, so I’ve got a huge range of music I really like.”
Dave: “I started with my Dad, who was actually a Nashville player. That’s how I grew up. I was the kid that was asleep in the booth while Dad was playin’ the bars. Listenin’ to them play the old Merle and everything like that, that’s kind of where the roots are, but, you know, everybody has to stray out, so I’d done the 80’s, you know what I mean? I played in the late 80’s and all that stuff as a teenager and got my rock out. Then here I am back at country. You always go back to your roots, I guess they say, you know?”
This band may be very new but they are very confident they have exactly the right four people working together. They are all capable of playing multiple instruments so they can shuffle around if needed, but they generally don’t. Although Bill sings lead on every song, as a group, they harmonize well, and they don’t rely on any other outside musicians. They play all parts between the four of them whether on stage or in the studio, but it didn’t happen magically overnight. As Dave, who was the spearhead of the band puts it, “I kind of built it and I’m fans of them. I’ve seen them play, do other things and I went through a few people making this progress happen and it took a while to get the certain people that click. When we sit down as a four-piece to play, it’s like, there it is, you know. It’s just like, wow. It’s easy.”
Bill wanted to add to that thought. “In today’s day and age, everybody’s a single artist and they’re swapping out people all the time. Who knows where they’re playing or who they’re playing with? We kind of put together some really good musicians, where I happened to be the right fit for what Dave was trying to do and immediately we just gelled.”
As I said earlier, RiverShine has already released their first single, “The Lover”, which is available on all of the usual music platforms right now. I was interested to know what was next. Would there be a physical EP or were they going to go with a trend we’re seeing more and more now, and that’s to continue to release digital singles?
Dave had a fast answer. “I think the platform today IS singles, really I don’t see anybody putting out complete albums unless they’re bigger artists.”
Bill then jumped in to add, “Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn’t. For us, and the way that we’re launching right now, we’ve got five songs ready to go and a five-song EP coming out October 12th. So, we’ve got ‘em ready, ready to go right now, but in today’s world, it makes more sense to launch a single, launch another single…”
It’s a theme I’m hearing over and over again and from what I also hear from artists I talk to, it seems to be working out well. “The Lover” dropped on all those music platforms on August 10th of this year and what’s really exciting is it hits radio September 10th. That means this week will be the big launch of “The Lover”. Keep your ears open and request it on your local radio stations. It’s a really great, instantly likable song that’s heading to mainstream radio. It was well-received by the music industry which is a major hurdle to jump. That’s why it will be everywhere.
Photo courtesy of RiverShine
Naturally, with a single hot and ready to hit the radio waves this week, RiverShine will be out promoting the song. I asked where they would be heading and the answer was to keep checking their website and Facebook page for upcoming dates. As a really new band, they are still working hard to build up a fan base, and they believe once the new song gets heard on the radio, the fans will come and the tour calendar will start filling up for sure. Certainly, anyone reading this can jumpstart that process by following them on all of their socials listed at the end of the interview.
For all of our UK Think Country followers, I asked if RiverShine had any aspirations of making the trip over the pond one day. Bill said the UK is his wife’s favorite place and that RiverShine is already running ads in the UK, so I think his answer was a definite “yes”.
Adam was especially excited about wanting to play in the UK and in Europe in general. He said, “I was actually born in Spain and I would really like to go back over there and see what it’s like because I was just a baby when we came back to The States, so yeah, it’s definitely a big deal for me.”
I love the question I asked the guys next, and they kind of took it and made it their own. They’re such a new band, that I had to ask them to answer it from their “prior musician lives”, that is, before they became members of RiverShine. I asked them if they ever had to travel to a city that they thought was going to be awful, but it turned out to be really good.
Kyle said Atlanta really shocked him. “All that was bad about it was what I was told. (In other words, there was nothing really bad about it at all. Just the words that people used to describe it.) It was a lot cleaner than I was told.”
Adam is the one who first took the question and kind of answered it a different way, but it was alright. The response still made sense. He was expecting one outcome and was surprised by what happened. “I was in a Christian rock band when I first started playing bass and I didn’t know how big this place was gonna be. It was called Choir of the Fire, and well, my band and me, we got on stage and the next thing I know, I’ve got all these bright lights on me and I could finally see past and there was about 10 or 12,000 people. I had no idea there was gonna be that many people there. That was Muncie, Indiana and I didn’t know what to expect. I’m this 14-year old bass player with all these 18 and 19-year old guys.”
For Bill, it was Nashville. “I haven’t really played out as much as these other guys, so playing in Nashville, I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was super cool.”
Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography
Joliet, Illinois, heads up! Dave is talkin’ to you! “We were doing a small tour between Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana in the last band I was in, and we played this little college town, Joliet, Illinois, outside of Chicago. First time we played this place there were three people in it. Three, but you gotta play, but the second time we played it, we were on the way and we were all like, ‘We gotta play this place again, ugh…’, but we got there and it was a packed house, out the door, couldn’t find a seat in the place and the next four times we played there it was sold out. So, it’s now a favorite place. Cool club too. It was a concert atmosphere rather than a bar kind of thing.”
We had some fun with this next one. I told the guys in RiverShine that although they hadn’t been a band very long, I thought they knew each other well enough to play along. I told them to pretend that I had just given them their own tour bus. If they had to vote, who, when it came to traveling on the bus, would they vote for, as The Boss, The One Needing the Most Supervision, The One Who Eats the Most Junk Food and The Bunk Hermit?
We’ll start with The Boss. The very SECOND I asked that question, they all pointed at their publicist. I was really trying to keep her out of it, but apparently, they do understand who IS the boss and who keeps them in line, so I took that as a good sign. After they let Bev off the hook, they then agreed that Bill and Dave would both qualify for that position, but not because they’re “bossy”, but because they’re the most experienced in keeping everything handled.
It was unanimous that Adam needs the most supervision, and actually, Adam was the first one to volunteer himself for that one. On the audio, right after I asked the question, all I can hear is, “Me!” and then uproarious laughter and then a lot of voices saying things like, “Yep, Adam!” Admitting you have a problem is the first step, isn’t that right? The good news is, he has three good friends that have his back. Clearly.
Who on the RiverShine tour bus eats the most junk food? That was a tie between Adam and Kyle. I suppose there might be a correlation between needing supervision and eating too much junk food.
Last, but not least, the bunk hermit. Who would that be? The band member that goes and hides in his bunk with his earbuds in, under his blanket, and doesn’t want to talk to anybody until the bus finally stops at the venue. Another one that volunteered himself and the rest agreed with him was Kyle. Kyle did have an interesting observation about that though. “I’m behind the drums and I’m the loudest one in the band usually, so it sounds weird that I’d be this.”
Photo courtesy of hismajestycoach.com
Artist bars. So many in Music City these days. What would our interview subjects name theirs and what would the theme be? We’ve asked this question many times before and the responses have gone from non-answers (“Wow, I’ll have to get back to you on that.”) to the most outlandishly wild, fantastical daydreams imaginable, and you’ll need to go back and read our previous interviews to see what those were, I can’t give away EVERYTHING. RiverShine said they would call their Nashville artist bar “The RiverHouse”. That name popped right out of Dave’s mouth. Bill said it would be four levels, but not any higher, he doesn’t want to get too crazy, he wants their audience to feel connected. Live music every night.
When asked what their signature drink would be at “The RiverHouse”, that fell right out of their mouths pretty quick too. “Number Juan Tequila. That’s our local Louisville tequila”, said Bill. Dave piped in, “Not to mention that all the bourbon would be from Louisville as well.” Back to Bill, “They (Number Juan) have this tequila that they keep in bourbon barrels and it’s fantastic. It is the best tequila you’ve ever tasted.”
Photo courtesy of oldtowntequila.com
These guys were very excited about this tequila. “Alex Reymundo and Ron White, the comedians, own this tequila company”, said Dave. “Alex is from Louisville”, added Bill, “and I do car shows and he came to my car show and he brought it out and showed it to everybody.” So, Mr. Reymundo and Mr. White, if you’re reading this, when RiverShine opens up their artist bar in Nashville, if you can help them out in stocking their first supply of Number Juan, I think they would be most grateful. They’ve certainly made a believer out of me.
Not the easiest thing in the world to answer, especially when you’re asked to narrow it down to only one each, but I asked each guy to name the best male and female country PERFORMER ever in their opinion. I stressed they should think about it and choose based on the artist’s ability to PERFORM. I also asked that they choose solo artists.
We went around the room starting with Dave.
Dave: “Male. Best country performer, I’ll have to say Merle Haggard. He took the roof off and didn’t’ have to do much to do that. Best female? Hands down, Reba McEntire. I’ll say Loretta Lynn was pretty cool too, but Reba took the roof off. I got to be backstage for that show, and being on side stage and seein’ Reba, that girl can do it. It’s crazy. That was at Freedom Hall, Louisville, Kentucky.”
Video courtesy of Ryan H and YouTube
Bill: “I’ve always been a big Johnny Cash fan, I’d say he’s big time for me. Dolly Parton, probably on the female side. She’s been able to keep it together for I don’t know how many years.”
Adam: “I like Miranda Lambert. She’s definitely got it goin’ on for vocals. She kills it whether it’s harmony or melody. For the guy, Cole Swindell, he’s one of my favorite vocalists.”
Kyle: “I’m gonna start with the lady. I’ll pick Carrie Underwood. She can hit any note. For the male, I’m gonna pick Travis Tritt. I got to see him in concert for my first time and at his age, he’s probably put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen anywhere from rock to heavy metal and he blows them out of the water.”
Video courtesy of SPORTSNET and YouTube
Next, I twisted up the question a bit. I asked our friends in RiverShine to choose the best SONGWRITER ever in ANY GENRE, country included. We started with Kyle.
Kyle: “Brantley Gilbert. A lot of people don’t know that he’s written a couple of Jason Aldean’s hits, ‘My Kinda Party’ and ‘Dirt Road Anthem’. He’s got an album, A Modern Day Prodigal Son and ‘My Kinda Party’ is on that.”
Adam: “Mine would be Rob Thomas. I mean, even Rob Thomas when he split away from Matchbox Twenty, he was still amazing.”
Video courtesy of Rob Thomas, WMG and YouTube
Kyle then thought of another one and said he’d probably get a lot of flak for it, so of course, I needed to hear what it was. I allowed him a bonus pick because of that.
Kyle: “Scott Stapp, Mark Tremonti and Scott Phillips.”
These three guys were members of the 1990’s rock band Creed and it’s true, a lot of people like to bash Creed, but no matter which way you slice it, they were a successful band with some big songs. This prompted Bill to chime in that Nickelback takes a lot of heat as well. I had to agree, and I also wasn’t afraid to admit that I like Nickelback. Bill said their live shows are amazing. He also added this, “People just got mad because they came in and mopped the floor with everybody.”
Bill: “Right now, I’m amazed by Luke Combs, him and two others, I think it’s his guitar player and one other guy, but they are writing some incredible stuff.”
Video courtesy of LukeCombsVEVO and YouTube
Dave: “I’m going old. Willie (Nelson).”
Dream tour. I told these guys to imagine they just won every award imaginable, ACMs, CMAs, they are at the top of the country music world. They are going to kick off a headlining tour and they need to choose a venue and an opener. We started in the middle of the room with Adam.
Adam: “Venue? I’d like to do a Hard Rock Café out on the west coast. I’ve never been to the west coast except for Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s nice and warm and everybody would be happy. Or maybe the iHeart Radio Festival. For an opener, I would absolutely love to have Luke Combs, or even for him just to be there and be with us. He’d come up on stage and sing our songs.
After that Bill mentioned that it’s a fact that they are musicians and they love to collaborate, so maybe they could bring Carrie Underwood out, you know, make themselves available to give her a little help. So big of you guys to assist the struggling artists, they’ll pay it forward one day I know it. (We honestly had so much fun with this, we really did.)
Bill: “I’d like to do an east coast tour across the south, you know, like Virginia, down around through Florida, Mississippi and around the coast, the major cities. Do a southern tour. Cole Swindell for an opener. There are so many good acts, but I like Cole Swindell’s hats. We could have similar RiverShine swag.”
I mentioned that Cole Swindell IS a good merch guy (he was Luke Bryan’s merch guy while writing songs and before breaking out as a performing artist).
The group then started brainstorming different ballcap designs for their new RiverShine merch. This was not only a fun and informative interview, it was now entering a LUCRATIVE phase. Never say Think Country doesn’t help a brother (or brothers, as this case was) out.
Dave: “Madison Square Garden and Keith Urban. He’s gonna come up and we’re gonna do ‘Stupid Boy’ together.”
Kyle: “If it were me, I’d take it back home to Louisville. I’d do the KFC Yum! Center or the Louisville Palace or if they ever reopened Coyote’s. (Dave interjected that the old Coyote’s was now the The Bourbon Hall, but Kyle wasn’t interested, saying it wasn’t the same.) I’m a big fan of Mitchell Tenpenny as the opener, but if it were my choice, I’d pick a local band because there’s not really anybody giving that local band the opportunity. Bring ‘em along with us.”
That answer spurred me to ask a really important question. Always one to want to pronounce the names of places correctly, I asked how to say “Louisville” properly. These were Louisville natives, after all. I got it right on the second try. I walked away confident that I won’t ever mess up that city name again (the way I have been doing my entire life, probably much to the chagrin of anyone from Louisville). Thank you RiverShine for the pronunciation lesson.
Of course, the question we ask just about everyone we talk to is, when you Think Country, what do you think? It was time to throw that one out to each member of RiverShine and see what they had to say.
Kyle: “When I Think Country, I think cruisin’ in my truck with friends on backroads. If I had to pick country music, I’d probably go with older. I’m a big Travis Tritt fan. I’m a member of the Country Club.”
Adam: “When I Think Country, like I didn’t start listening to country until 2013, so I think of Jake Owen and Cole Swindell and Luke Bryan and when all of them were all comin’ out and I was like, ‘Hey! Why wasn’t I listenin’ to this years ago?’ I was stuck on the rock and roll, you know?”
Audio/Video courtesy of Cole Swindell and YouTube
Bill: “When I Think Country, on the newer side, my answer is Keith Urban, but when I grew up it was Garth Brooks and Little Texas and Tim McGraw. Country for me is more stuff that everybody can just feel together. It’s not, this is rockin’, this is this, it just makes sense when you hear it. You just know you’re part of it, you know what I mean? Also, on the newer stuff, I really like Luke Combs. I like his writing style.”
Dave: “When I Think Country, obviously, I grew up hearing Hank, Sr. and Patsy Cline and all of that. I grew up in a garage with 30 pickers and players and I heard everything from Hank Snow to Merle Haggard and that’s what I grew up on. Then I walked into a Garth Brooks concert and he swang from a rope like Ted Nugent, I kid you not. I was probably 14 or 15 when Garth came out with ‘Two of a Kind, Workin’ On a Full House’ and that album (No Fences). I went to go see him in concert and he swang across the stage and was shakin’ water bottles, no kiddin’, and I was thinkin’, ‘I can do this!’ I was thinkin’ to myself, ‘I can cut my hair and be a guitar player for Garth’, I’m serious. That’s kind of when the flip happened, but I was still way too young, I still rocked out. I still played all the rock.
“To me, though, Garth changed it all, because in the 90’s you had the Randy Travis and all that stuff was still playin’ all the traditional stuff. When Garth came out, he was still playing traditional, but it was so high energy. All the lights, Garth and everyone was like, it’s a show, you know. It was crazy. When I walked into that show, it was unbelievable, it was like going to a Scorpions concert because of all the lights and what he did. It was like, ‘Hell yeah, I’m on board with this!’ I mean, look at it today, any man that can come back 20 years later and still sell out in the same city twice, because when he came to Louisville he had to do two shows because the first one sold out, that’s something.”
We had an overabundance of fun and I learned a lot about this new band. I hope you did too. Now, go forth and follow these guys in RiverShine everywhere! Go get their music. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have “The Lover” stuck in your head by the second time you play it and you’ll know the chorus really fast too.
Photo courtesy of bnoticedpr and RiverShine
Watch out if you play “The Lover” around kids though. They are known to request it. On repeat. True story. Check that. True STORIES. Maybe you can drop RiverShine a line on their socials if you want them to elaborate more on that, but I can back them up if they need it. I’ve been there.
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