Named after the distance from the band’s hometown of Cincinnati to Graceland, 500 MILES TO MEMPHIS plays rowdy, insanely catchy, sometime heartbreaking but always inspiring "country punk" on their debut SUNSHINE IN A SHOT GLASS. These songs are whiskey-soaked in bittersweet lament, but this is definitely not an alcohol-fueled pity party. Rather, it’s the slug of Jack Daniel’s you throw back before crawling on stage to sing your heart out. It’s the glass of liquid courage that dirty barroom brawls and back alley fistfights are brewed from. It’s the bottom of the bottle where fiery, drunken tirades aimed at ex-lovers are unleashed. It’s everything we’ve regretted from the night before but can only half-remember the next morning. It's knowing you’ll survive the hangover to raise hell yet another day.
Lead vocalist Ryan Malott is the impetus behind 500 MILES TO MEMPHIS’ heartache, and this soon to be acclaimed debut is undoubtedly his catharsis. While Malott’s lyrics draw from afflictive personal experience and a weary western sprawl that only true country music can evoke, these rousing tunes are cranked out with punk grit and determination and a brash rock ‘n’ roll attitude. Somehow it makes life seem a little more bearable and a hell of a lot more fun, at least for the duration of these twelve exhilarating songs. Slather on an infectious melody, some bright, brash guitars and a touch of bluegrass fiddle and suddenly tracks about cocaine-addicted friends and coma victims praying for sweet death ring out like the perfect, invigorating remedy for the honky tonk blues.
500 MILES TO MEMPHIS sound like a band you could drink a round or two with before the show…and definitely a few more afterwards. More than likely, you’ll get your chance as these boys are on a mission to play every country dive bar and punk rock club across the US. Perhaps that’s why 500 MILES TO MEMPHIS’ songs come across so warm and heart-wrenchingly familiar, even when they’re played fast, loud and with reckless abandon. It’s the type of honest music that can prompt a sentimental, liquor-tinged therapy session between old friends or incite a raucous, fist-pumping sing-along amongst perfect strangers at your neighborhood pub. And that’s a shot of firewater we’re happy to take any day of the week.