When Eric Boatright started playing rock and roll music with four of his closest friends back in 2010, it was mostly a hobby. But now, with a few nationwide tours and some major market radio airplay under his belt, it’s officially a career.
Lead vocalist Boatright, guitarist Seth Trimble, bass player Cody Hampton, drummer Heath Fields and guitarist Justin Smith make up the Cullman-based rock band Shallow Side.
The young 20-somethings are currently touring in support of their five-song Home Today EP, led by the burgeoning single “Try To Fight It,” and are heading back home this weekend for a local show in Hanceville. The EP was released in 2012, but is only now beginning to garner wider attention.
“We’re independent, and don’t have the luxury of a record label, so we’re always fighting for everything,” he said. “That’s just now getting radio play because of some extreme hard work, and it’s a tough game. It’s extremely difficult to get a foot in the door, but we’re doing everything we can to knock down the walls.”
The band is set to headline an all-ages show at the JC Arena in Hanceville on Saturday, March 8. The show begins at 7 p.m. with two opening acts, with Shallow Side closing out the bill. Tickets are $10 at the door.
It’s taken a few years, but Boatright said he believes the independent band is on the verge of a major break, bolstered by some national airplay on satellite radio as their single “Try To Fight It” gains steam.
“We started playing music together and decided to branch out and make a name for ourselves and really go after it, and it’s such a privilege to actually say it’s a job,” he said. “We treat it that way, and work hard on it with everything we do. We came through the hardships of touring, and we learned how to be adults, financially grow a business and market ourselves to find an audience. We want to be something people can go watch, be inspired, then go home and figure out their own lives.”
The band has built its fan base the old fashioned way, one gig at a time, and Boatright said a recent local show drew a crowd of approximately 500 people to see the band’s signature blend of uplifting hard rock.
“It’s definitely a growing thing,” he said. “It’s not as massive as the country concert they hold, or the big Christian concert in town, but it’s a real local music scene. I mean, we started off playing more covers so people could sign along, but now we have people at the concerts who’d rather sing along to our originals. That’s pretty incredible.”
The band is currently finishing up production on a new album, though they plan to finish out the Home Today touring cycle before it’s released in the late summer or early fall. In the meantime, Boatright encouraged locals to come out this weekend and get a look at a bona fide, homegrown rock band.
“It’ll be action-packed entertainment on a live stage, with people from your hometown that could potentially be all over the radio, the news and TV soon,” he said. “It’s a perfect time to see us before things hit the roof.”
Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 134.