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Birmingham, AL | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF | AFM

Birmingham, AL | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Alternative




"Just Around the Riverbend"

Over the Mountain locals Stanton Langley, Max Simon, Price Pewitt and Sims Ruffino may be young, but they are taking Birmingham’s music scene by storm.

With Langley at the mic with a guitar, Pewitt on bass, Simon on guitar and Ruffino taking over the drums, the boys make up the band Riverbend.

Langley, Simon and Price are each in the ninth grade at Mountain Brook Junior High School and Ruffino, the most recent addition, is in the 10th grade at Vestavia Hills High School. They aren’t new to the act of playing instruments, though.

“I’ve pretty much been playing since I could pick up a drumstick,” Ruffino said. “I’ve also grown up watching my dad play.”

It doesn’t hurt that Ruffino’s late grandfather, Tony, had a 30-year career as an Alabama concert promoter.

Likewise, Pewitt’s father had a big influence on his desire to learn how to play guitar continuing into elementary school, where he was further exposed to his instrument of choice, bass guitar.

“The band formed kind of slowly,” Pewitt said. “We’ve been playing for about a year and a half, probably since August of 2014.”

The band has played at the Junior High’s talent show, Art Forms, and will perform at both the Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills Relay for Life events, but their local fame has taken them further. They’ve played professional venues downtown such as Rogue Tavern and Iron City and local festivals such as Do Dah Day and Crestline Rocks.

“We basically play anywhere and everywhere,” Pewitt said. “One weekend we could be in a random barn outside of town and the next we’re playing at someone’s engagement party.”

According to the band members, their set lists tend to be about 60 percent original songs and 40 percent covers, and their sound is eclectic.

“I’d say it’s indie rock with the slight set twinge of something Southern,” Simon said.

They cover anything from John Mayer to REM in any given performance. An audience favorite is the theme song from “Friends.”

“The song ‘Honeysuckle Blue’ by Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ is one that we play religiously and ‘Whipping Post’ by the Allman Brothers,” Pewitt said.

Though the venues they play are eclectic, Riverbend has already collected a devoted fan base.

“One of our best friends goes to almost every single one of our shows,” Price said. “It’s kind of crazy. One night he drove an hour out of town and back just to see us play.”

A local fan artist who creates concert posters for Saturn Birmingham has also been in touch with them and has offered to create posters for upcoming shows.

Riverbend has a long list of shows lined up for the summer following the recent release of its first EP, ‘Colors,’ a culmination of everything they have learned together in the past year and support from local artists.

Recently, the boys had the opportunity to watch the Black Jacket Symphony concert covering the work of Pink Floyd, and Pewitt had his first realization that they were making it in the music business.

“It was so cool to see how the whole music network came together,” Pewitt said. “Sims’ stepfather is a member of the band and I recognized someone else from a project I worked on. We all seemed to know each other in one way or another.”

Birmingham musicians have not only supported the band, they’ve influenced their sound. Pewitt noted that big names in Birmingham such as Eric Wallace of Lee Bains and the Glory Fires have changed the way he plays guitar.

“It helps that Birmingham has such a cool music scene and there are so many people around here to learn from,” Ruffino said. “It makes the music industry seem like a more tangible career.”

Pewitt noted that, unlike standard careers that begin with schooling and degrees, the music industry is all about who you know. Networking is one of the reasons that Ruffino joined Riverbend.

“I was actually in another band before this one and there was a bit of a rivalry,” Ruffino said. He admitted that he and his friends used to complain about the Riverbend boys behind closed doors.

Together the boys have created what they refer to as a sample of what is to come with their newly recorded EP.

“‘Colors’ is really the first step,” Pewitt said. “It’s a teaser to the album we’re recording this summer.”

The boys haven’t pinned down a distinct genre to classify their sound, but a recurring theme is love.

“We kind of laughed at ourselves about how intense a few of the songs felt,” Ruffino said. “We almost named it ‘A Guide to Taking Yourself Too Seriously.'”

According to Pewitt, the bulk of their songs are about their past relationships, which they each find funny since they are only 15 and 16.

The EP is a precursor to the album they will be recording this summer.

“It’ll be interesting to see what happens between now and recording the album,” Pewitt said. “We’re playing so many shows, so it will be cool to see how the songs evolve and change.”

They suspect the tracks from the EP will make it onto their debut album, but Pewitt said they are glad to have a period of time to let the songs marinate.

In the meantime, the band is looking forward to upcoming performances including both the Mountain Brook High School’s and Vestavia Hills High School’s Relay for Life events and Art in the Hills in April. The boys will also appear in an upcoming TEDx broadcast in May.

Riverbend’s EP is available on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Tidal, Bandcamp and in a disc version. For more information, email Riverbendofficial@gmail.com. - Over the Mountain Journal


Colors EP (Self-Released 2016)

Cryin' By Tonight SINGLE (Self-Released 2016)



Raised on a steady supply of power-pop and alternative rock, Birmingham, Alabama’s Riverbend brings a live show full of mile-wide riffs and impassioned choruses. Formed in 2013 by childhood friends, Riverbend consists of Stanton Langley, Max Simon, Price Pewitt, and Sims Ruffino. The four-piece released an EP in early 2016 and is building their fan-base throughout the Southeast.

Band Members