Charleston-based Sol Driven Train must maintain vast stores of musical soul coal, as they’ve averaged nearly 150 shows a year since 2005, sharing the stage with the likes of Michael Franti, Richie Havens, Keller Williams, Arlo Guthrie, and Blues Traveler along the way.
Ward Buckheister (guitar and trombone), Rusty Cole (bass), Wes Powers (drums), Russell Clarke (saxophones), and Joel Timmons (guitar) describe their sound as a “sonic schizophrenia” of rotating lead vocals and instrumentation. Among their primary influences, they cite John Prine, Paul Simon, author Tom Robbins, Afro-Caribbean music, and Southern rock. Songs like “The Cave” could rock the Kasbah, offering an exotic melody reminiscent of the Middle East, while “Stevie Song #3” has reggae-tinged folk flair. Regardless of style, the band’s lyrical content remains wonderfully unpredictable, no doubt due to the presence of numerous singer-songwriters.
Sponsored by Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, the group released their ninth independently produced work, Watermelon, this July Fourth. If the past is prologue for Sol Driven Train, expect them to continue a joyful and quirky ride down the right track.