Movers and Shakers: Rockin’ the Dirty South

Posted: March 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

By Christopher Horton10363792_10205941617037115_9205961443205621886_n

I was going to spend the day outside, looking at the sky, drawing stick figures in lewd positions, and pondering how awesome I am. However, since the weather was 80 degrees yesterday, and 45 today, screw that. Might as well sit in front of the computer right?

Movers and Shakers are a Savannah band that span many genres, clearly just playing whatever the hell they want to play. I respect the shit out of that. With all the posturing and pretense that goes with fitting into a particular “scene” (you know who you are, you posers….do people still say poser?) it is delightfully refreshing to catch a band that just do what they do. And by the way, they do it really well. They mix blues, southern rock, funk, and you even get a dose of heavier moments, and even some progressive elements. So what makes them tick? I caught up with their singer, Jesse and got the low-down on this low-country gem.


*It doesn’t snow in Savannah, where the hell were you guys? I think this is photo shopped. You should’ve added a tiger too. Go big or go home, you know?

On to the interview!

Movers and Shakers has been at it for a while. Tell me about how you guys got together.

Technically we started jamming in a basement that was in bassist Mike Peaden’s and drummer Nicholaus Wilkerson’s old mansion on East Henry Street ( the Dirtmore Estate).  Chandler Woods (acoustic guitar/ vocals)  and myself ( Jesse Riner- electric guitar/ vocals) began to seriously write songs together around October of 2011.  We wrote a couple of songs between the two of us “Movers & Shakers” “Get Out” and “Wait.”  It didn’t take long to realize that we really wanted to have a killer rhythm section to add a real groove to our traditionally influenced yet completely original sound.  I guess the gods agreed with Chan and I and the first jam session (where I first met Nic) in that basement went to be one of the most natural and self-evolving experiences that basically sealed a bond between four grown ass men right then and there.  Everything, right up to this point and beyond, is just us working hard at every opportunity given to achieve our ultimate goal of getting folks dancing to good rocking music.

When people hear “Southern Rock” or “Roots Rock” they tend to have a formed opinion regarding that kind of sound. Personally, I think you break the mold and have a sound all your own. Where do you draw your inspiration?

Hey Thanks!!!  As a band we put almost all of our focus into our music ( which could explain a lot on the business side of things- we need a great manager!).  All of us are from the south and are proud of it, so that definitely translates into our sound.  It is true that when we say southern rock most people expect a Lynyrd Skynyrd sounding band, which to me is flattering- they were my first favorite band.  Movers & Shakers is far from it though.  Collectively we all do get down on southern classic rock, and the kick ass English rock bands like Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The Who and Jethro Tull.  We all LOVE funk music as well!!  Individually we are a melting pot of musical preferences:  Mike is big into indie bands such as The Strokes, The Hives.  You can find groups like Brand New and Taking Back Sunday in Chandler’s playlists as well as Elliot Smith being one of his biggest influences.  Nic will blow your mind with the most prolific jams from the likes of Jeff Beck, Frank Zappa and crazy afro beat arrangements from guys that I would have to go to school for just to be able to pronounce some of their names.  Finally METAL is my (Jesse) favorite music other than classic rock and funk.  Pantera, early Lamb of God, and Burnt By The Sun, just to name a few.  It makes it all the more special that somehow we are always on the same page about a new song’s feel or direction when we write together.

Who would you say is the main songwriter in the group?

In the very beginning phases that title would have been held by Chandler and I.  That quickly changed the very first time we jammed.  The four of us immediately picked up on each other’s strengths and there is a strong energy between us.  The music has always come before the lyrics, not that we intentionally work that way, but it makes for a real fun song writing process.  We feed off each other and we like to give each other something to eat as well haha.  A song can start from anything from a little bass lick or a drum beat, then we all come up with a part that we think will compliment the groove.  Then, we jam on it for half a year before one of us finally sits down and writes some lyrics, and BAM, new song lol.

I understand that you just auditioned for America’s Got Talent. What was that experience like?

Man, the trip from Atlanta to LA, living in a van with my brothers was the best time of my life.  My poor ass got to see so much of the country that I didn’t know if I would ever see.  We are working hard to keep getting on the road.  The audition itself was so much cooler than we thought it was going to be.  We got to really loosen up our waiting room and we had all the potential contestants jamming and singing with us, which really helped the vibe, everyone was so understandably quiet and nervous.  It was great for everyone to warm up their vocal cords and have a great audition.  As far as our audition went, we nailed what we were supposed to do and are extremely hoping for that call back for the next round of auditions.  Should know something in the next two weeks or so.  FINGERS CROSSED!!!!

*Editors note: Personally I want them to get on TV. That way, I can plan to be hanging out in a bar somewhere and be like ” Hey, I know those guys, they are my best friends on the world! Isn’t that cool? AINT I COOL? LIKE ME.” i am sad and i have no friends. 😦

What do you think about the ever changing Savannah music scene?

That’s a touchy question (which is kinda my answer within itself)  I feel we are amidst/ upon a resurgence, though others think Savannah’s music scene is just fine where as others think it is dead.  Personally I see a lot of soul driven individuals working hard to support our scene and I am very hopeful that we are heading in the proper direction.  There is still tension between venue and act in many cases usually over money, but we all just need to keep working hard on organization and unifying entertainment to be more easily solicited and promoted.  There is a lot of music in Savannah, but a lot of it, including our own band, is somewhat suppressed when it seems everyone is scraping real hard for quality gigs.  I would like to see bands reaching out to other bands more and venues being a bit more bold and letting us show just how many people we can pack into a place without having to play 4 hours of covers.  It is getting better though, and the more we reach out and band together, the faster the process will be, in my humble opinion anyway.

Thank you again for this interview, Chris!  It’s great to be in the company of folks who actively support our scene and works hard to make it better!

You’re quite welcome Jesse. However, understand that I am just exploiting you and other bands to gain popularity on my blog. Before music, I wrote articles about training cats to use the toilet. This is a step up, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be famous….

Speaking of being famous, do you guys have any shows lined up?

If any of y’all are in or around Macon, come on out to the Hummingbird for their Big Bird Battle this Saturday.

We will also be in Brunswick for the Second Sunday C. Mo’s Kids empowering kids charity event.

We will be in Savannah on March 14th for the Wingmen Motorcycle Club’s St. Paddy’s Throwdown

And finally,  B&D Burgers on Congress (outside show) March 27th.

Awesome! Thanks for the interview Jesse, and I look forward to catching another one of your live shows soon!  



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