County Line Strangers

County Line Strangers


County Line Strangers are a mixtape of all of their favorite bands...which includes (but is not limited to): Ryan Adams, Social Distortion, Pete Yorn, Black Crowes, Bob Dylan, Drive-By Truckers, and Black Keys


County Line Strangers
By Kim Burdges

County Line Strangers may be one of the newest players in the rock/alt-country scene, but they are hardly music industry rookies. Consistently touring and recording with each other for over 6 years, this four-piece band is not afraid to experiment with their fine-tuned sound. Infusing their punk-rock past with their southern roots, County Line Strangers produce a weathered, yet fresh sound. Combining elements of Social Distortion’s energy with honest lyrics similar to Ryan Adams and rowdy, classic rock hooks, the Strangers prove passionate talent like theirs can give a new band an established sound.

The candid emotion and musical rawness threaded throughout their material is what makes their songs like “Don’t Mean Nothing” and “Savannah” so captivating and memorable. The Strangers’ catalogue ranges from introspection to revelry with lead singer and guitarist Matt Megrue’s songwriting serving as the driver of this emotional rollercoaster.

“There are some really happy songs and really sad ones,” explains Megrue. “We are trying to take your feelings to every high and low and cover a whole spectrum of emotion.”

“It’s really the tempos and themes to match the moodiness of Matt,” jokes drummer Brian McMickle.

The tightness of the band’s sound can be largely attributed to their closeness off stage as longtime friends, who work hard together but always keep the mood light. With two members located in Charleston and two in native Atlanta, Strangers pull from the different area's influences and work to insure that their sound is not affected by distance.

“Being in different places is a challenge,” says bassist Al Gardner. “But, it also makes it easier to focus on particular parts so when we all come together it is more solid. Plus we get the benefit of combining the different vibes of Atlanta and Charleston.” Most bands are doomed by distance, but it is the constant communication and camaraderie of this group that makes distance a non-issue. Bands are often referred to as families and Strangers come across as siblings without the rivalry. Even with their constant banter and sarcasm, all decisions are decided as a group including the new name.

“We just all sat down and figured it out. It was the one name we could all agree on,” says Megrue. “Everyone refers to our hometown as “The County” so that’s where that came from, but really we tried to find a name that didn’t make us all want to cringe every time we heard it.”

“Really we are mostly surface level friends like strangers,” jokes guitarist Matt Kelley. “We don’t know each other or like each other.”

If initial crowd reaction is any indication to the potential and appeal of this band, look for County Line Strangers to dominate playlists and concerts calendars, especially with the release of their upcoming full-length album, Heartbreak Motel. Although excited about performing and releasing their new material, Strangers are genuine artists who focus on the passion, not the pay off.

“We would rather make a decent living making this type of music for the next 50 years than making $50 million off of one album and walking away from it all,” says Matt Megrue.


"Heartbreak Motel" (BMI - 2009)

1 Don't Mean Nothing
2 Sunday Morning
3 I-75
4 Savannah
5 Let Me Let You Go
6 Amarillo Blues
7 Going to New York
8 Marilyn Merlot
9 Falling in Love is Easy
10 Insomnia City

Set List

ORIGINAL SETLIST (varies from show to show)

Sunday Morning
Going to New York
Amarillo Blues
Let Me Let You Go
Insomnia City
Marilyn Merlot
Don't Mean Nothing
(encore) Falling in Love is Easy

Shakedown on 9th Street - Ryan Adams
Ain't No Sunshine - Bill Withers
The Bucket - Kings of Leon