Southpaw
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Southpaw

Westfield, New Jersey, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2019 | SELF

Westfield, New Jersey, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2019
Band Country Indie

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"Southpaw Releases Debut Album and Music Video"

Southpaw Releases Debut Album and Video For "Within You"


Southpaw Releases Debut Album and Video For "Within You"

(WESTFIELD, NJ) -- New Jersey country music trio Southpaw released their debut album, "Unhitched" on Valentine's Day. The album reached #3 on Amazon’s Hot New Country Releases chart. They followed with a full-length music video for "Within You" which was shot across scenic New Jersey.

Formed in 2018, Southpaw is a collaboration of three Union County, New Jersey, musicians with distinctly different acclaimed creative careers—published poet and literary editor Christine Radlmann, Emmy-winning sound designer Sean Garnhart, and award-winning advertising professional Colin McConnell.

“Making it in the music business is really hard. Living with the Covid pandemic is really hard,” says lead singer Christine Radlmann. “Put them together and it’s a steep hill, but we’re determined to climb it.”

Drawing on prior career experience, Southpaw combines an unusually wide range of skills beyond music, including broadcast production, videography, film editing, website design, and social media marketing, which enables the trio to produce work entirely on their own, and within covid-19 safety protocols in place.

“Especially during these trying times, the world needs the joy of music,” says keyboardist Sean Garnhart. “We just feel so blessed to have these skills that enable us to do what we do safely and on our own.”

Tracks from “Unhitched” have been selected for air play on radio stations in Texas, Washington, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Canada, UK, Luxembourg, Australia, and the Netherlands, and have been syndicated on more than 400 other stations worldwide. Southpaw’s music has also been featured on several international podcasts.

“Country music is being embraced by new fans all over the world, and we’re so excited to use different channels not just to reach them, but to interact with them from our home here in New Jersey,” says Radlmann.

Southpaw has built an impressive social media following of 5,000 in just two months. The band’s single “Shake” inspired a New Jersey dance studio to choreograph and record a dance video called “The Southpaw Shake,” which has garnered more than 15,000 viral views.

Southpaw is presently planning a live-performance tour, working on its first cover song, and producing its second music video, which are all planned for summer 2021. - New Jersey Stage magazine


"Country music group Southpaw makes waves during pandemic"

UNION COUNTY, NJ — Despite the difficulties the music industry has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, the upstart New Jersey country music trio Southpaw has charted its own success. Born and raised in Ridgewood, the band’s lead singer, Christine Radlmann, moved to Union County 13 years ago and currently lives in Westfield. She admits her journey took her in many directions before she found country music.

“I’ve worn many hats in my adult life, but the primary one I donned before devoting myself full-time to music was that of a literary editor,” Radlmann said on Saturday, May 1. “I got my start in magazines, as a staff editor at The Atlantic, and went on to copyedit books, including the ‘Twilight’ series. Throughout most of my literary career, I moonlighted as a singer.

“I was always a singer — in school plays and such as a kid, and later in cover bands,” she continued. “People would often comment that I had a natural twang to my singer voice. It was totally unconscious, but it’s always been there. Eventually, I became a lead singer in a country cover band, singing June Carter, Dolly Parton, Miranda Lambert and all the old and new greats in country music. My dad was a big southern rock fan, so I grew up loving Alabama, ZZ Top and the like. One of my first concerts was Lynyrd Skynyrd.”

Originally from Pittsburgh, Emmy-winning sound designer and Southpaw keyboardist Sean Garnhart, who also lives in Westfield, is best known for his sound design for major movies. Garnhart grew up around music and art.

“I’m originally from a town just outside of Pittsburgh. I grew up in a very artsy family. My dad was an art teacher and my mom was a piano teacher,” Garnhart said on Saturday, May 1. “I started playing when I was 2 years old and started lessons at 3. When I turned 16, I started playing professionally in piano bars and restaurants. After college, I moved to Los Angeles and spent about eight years there before moving back East, where I landed in New Jersey.

“Music has been a love of my life since I could breathe. Given my upbringing, playing, listening, performing, producing and arranging have always been in my blood,” he continued. “I’m so grateful that I can pursue something that makes me happy. When I’m not making music, I’m doing sound design for major movies and TV shows that I’m sure you’ve seen and heard. I’ve worked for the Coen brothers, Judd Apatow and M. Night Shyamalan. I’m fortunate to be able to use my creative skills across various media.”

The third member of Southpaw, guitarist Colin McConnell of Cranford, was born in New York, spent his childhood in rural Pennsylvania and has lived in New Jersey for his adult life as an award-winning advertising professional. However, music has always been a part of his life.

“I grew up in a musical family, traded in a trombone for a guitar in ninth grade, and songwriting and performing have been a part of me for as long as I can remember,” McConnell said on Friday, April 30. “I had a successful career in advertising and media. It was a great way to apply my creative skills without being a starving artist. Now, I’m an artist, but I’m not starving.”

After singing in cover bands for several years, Radlmann was a guest performer with Garnhart and McConnell’s prior band. The chemistry was palpable, leading to the creation of Southpaw.

“Colin and I had been playing together before we met Christine. When Christine started singing with us, we instinctively headed down the country path. Her voice is pure country. We started writing and recording together, and the rest is history,” Garnhart said.

“I’m a storyteller and a guitarist. That kind of makes me a country musician,” McConnell said. “It just took me years of playing other genres to figure it out. When Christine, Sean and I started performing together with a different band, it sort of pointed us at Southpaw — kind of like a Ouija board.”

Formed at the end of 2018, Southpaw released its first entirely self-produced album, “Unhitched,” on Sunday, Feb. 14. It peaked at No. 3 on Amazon’s Hot New Country Releases chart. A full-length music video was launched on Thursday, March 11, and has already garnered 15,000 views. Although the pandemic has hindered touring and shows, the band members say they have used their time wisely the past year.

“I used to perform at live gigs very often. COVID put the kibosh on that for the past year,” Radlmann said. “But my bandmates and I were able to pivot and spend the time creating an album. A year ago, I wouldn’t have guessed that I’d be hearing our songs on radio stations across the United States and abroad today.”

It proved fortuitous that, as an award-winning sound engineer, Garnhart, whose nickname is Squack, had a professional recording studio in his home, so they did everything there themselves.

“We went right into the studio working on original material. We were about five tracks into the album when COVID hit, so all the success we’ve had has been in spite of COVID and comes with a lot of hard work,” Garnhart said. “Each of us brings a wide range of creative skills, from songwriting to production, videography, editing, social media marketing and so on. So, we were able to hunker down and get a lot done with just the three of us while staying safe. Technology enabled us to work closely together, even when we were in the peak of the lockdown. It’s a lot like running a start-up company: You just get it done.”

“Our music video for our song ‘Within You’ was a labor of love,” said Radlmann. “We shot it ourselves outdoors, smack dab in the middle of winter, throughout scenic New Jersey. Not having extra hands, owing to COVID, to help direct, film and edit, there was a lot of pressure on Squack and Colin, but the two of them rose to the occasion and produced an excellent video. For me, the difficult part was performing the song thousands of times, for very long stretches, while chilled to the bone.”

“I’m so grateful for the reception that the video has received,” she continued. “The message of the song is resonating with people through the video. ‘Shake’ is all about fun, letting it all hang out and not caring too much about what other people think. That sentiment seems to be striking a chord with audiences right now. A New Jersey dance studio actually choreographed a whole routine to it called the ‘Southpaw Shake’ that got a lot of attention in social media.”

According to a press release outlining the group’s success, tracks from “Unhitched” have been selected for airplay on radio stations in Texas, Washington, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Michigan, Kentucky, Canada, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Australia, Ireland and the Netherlands, and have been syndicated on more than 400 other stations worldwide. Southpaw’s music has also been featured on several international podcasts.

“It’s been three months since the launch of our debut album, and we’ve hit just about every success metric we set ourselves,” Radlmann said. “So far, presale of the album was far better than expected. … Radio play has been great. Our social media following has grown really fast, and the reception to our first video had us over the moon. But we’re just getting started and we’re excited to get out in front of audiences and really blow them away.

“We’re already at work on a cover song, a second album of original music and another music video, and we’re going to be scheduling live performances. It’ll be a busy summer for Southpaw,” she added.

Garnhart said the band was thrilled at how rapidly the fan base is growing due to the group’s success.

“Feedback on the album has been fantastic. Airplay on radio stations across the U.S. and Europe is an exciting testament that good country music has fans everywhere,” he said. “We’re super excited to get out in front of live audiences, now that the pandemic is lifting.”

With New Jersey lifting its restrictions this season, McConnell spoke about his anticipation of performing on stage again.

“I just can’t wait to get out in front of a huge crowd and blow everyone away,” he said. “Stay tuned for that. It’s coming soon.” - Union News Daily


"Jersey Roots, Country Vibe"

Stealing the covers. Starting a band on a first date. Playing board games like it’s World War III. Ridgewood-raised, singer-songwriter Christine Cuccio Radlmann captures all of these everyday romantic moments in We Need a New Love Song, one cut on Unhitched, the album her band, Southpaw, debuted on Valentine’s Day.

“I thought, there’s got to be a song out there that’s quirky and not just syrupy ‘love, love, love,’” she says. “So that’s what I wrote. Those anecdotes are absolutely about my husband and me. Even though they’re so specific, a lot of people say they can relate. One line stands out the most for me: ‘I hid a burnt dinner under our bed.’ The first time I made a meal for my husband’s mother, I was freaking out and botched the casserole. So, I just stashed it!” Reminiscing over her non-impressive cooking skills, she collapses into giggles.

In fact throughout our interview, Radlmann laughs often and easily—a beautiful thing, especially in light of hard times. She lost her father right before the pandemic. “He was always such a huge fan of my singing and would come to all my shows, even in dive bars,” she says. “I got my start playing with him and my little sister in our house. The first song we performed was Cocaine, at Christmas; he was a big Eric Clapton fan. I was eight-years-old, banging away on the drums and singing the lead with no idea what that key word meant. Maybe my dad was laughing on the inside, but he never showed it.”

Radlmann’s grief fueled her creativity. “His passing inspired me even more to put my music out there,” she says. “Hopefully, he’s looking down and nodding his approval. And he probably wants me to do a cover of Cocaine!”

Music has grown into a full-time career for Radlmann, the band’s lead singer. She works with multi-instrumentalists Colin McConnell and Sean “Squack” Garnhart, creating what they call a “savory mix of country-styled music, simmered in rock, pop and R&B influences.” But her roots lie in the literary world, first as an editor at The Atlantic, then later writing poetry for the North American Review and The New York Quarterly, among others. She also has copyedited for the Twilight series and for authors such as Kim Cattrall and Julie Andrews.

“At The Atlantic we’d have 20,000 poems submitted a year and we’d only publish one a month. I had to witness so much rejection, even of very talented people. It helps me to not take it personally now. You’re going to put out an album. Not everyone is going to like it. I can’t let that ruffle my feathers. I just need to move on to the next person who might love it.”

And they do! Unhitched spent time on Amazon’s Top Ten Hot New Country Releases, climbing to No. 3 for a while. “We were just blown away,” she says. Earlier this year, the band also released a music video partly shot during the winter on the Jersey Shore. Brrrr!

Catch Southpaw livestreaming until COVID-19 restrictions ease up. Safety permitting, the band hopes to resume gigs shortly at festivals and venues like Bridgewater’s Green Knoll Grill and the Stage House Tavern in Somerset, where Radlmann’s mother-in-law lives.

And that’s good. It’ll finally give Radlmann a chance to come clean about that burned casserole after 15 years! She's fairly certain her cooking has improved enough that she can redeem herself. - Bridgewater Lifestyle


"Westfield Trio’s Honky Tonk Tune Named Finalist in National ‘Bar Band’ Contest"

WESTFIELD, NJ — Southpaw lead singer Christine Radlmann knows a lot about singing at bars.

The Westfield mother of two has performed in more than one drinking establishment — experiences reflected in a song that is gaining national recognition.

“My husband used to joke that my early days were the liquor store tour,” Radlmann said.

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So, it’s fitting Southpaw is one of two New Jersey bands and just 46 across the nation to become finalists in the Jack Daniels Battle of the Bar Bands, sponsored by iHeartRadio.

The song Southpaw entered into the contest, “Ain’t As Easy As You Drink I Am,” Radlmann said, is an “homage to every guy who ever got a little too confident when drinking at the local watering hole.”

The public may vote for Radlmann and her fellow band members’ which include keyboardist Sean “Squack” Garnhart, also of Westfield, and guitarist Colin McConnell, of Cranford, on the contest page.

The trio came into their present form in 2018 even though they had been performing together prior to that, Radlmann said.

“We realized that we are true country songwriters and kind of fell into that lane naturally,” she said.

A member of the Washington Elementary School PTO, Radlmann is mother to a 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter.

“It’s kind of like I live two lives,” said Radlmann, who is also an accomplished poet and literary editor. “By day I’m a hockey mom, and by night I’m the lead singer of a country band that’s on the radio.”

The band’s self-produced album, “Unhitched,” released in February, peaked at no. 3 on Amazon’s “Hot New Country Releases” chart and, Radlmann said, more than 400 radio stations worldwide play their songs.

Her musical talent has also been well-received by the PTO crowd.

“They utilize my singing skills for the Washington School show, so it comes in handy,” Radlmann said, referring to the annual school play that puts parents on the stage.

Garnhart, who is an Emmy Award-winning sound designer, spoke to the success of Southpaw.

“Country music is really about what’s in the heart, not where you’re from, and that’s why it’s so popular all over the world,” he said in a release.

McConnell, who works in marketing and communications, noted New Jersey’s history in the country music scene.

“Most people don’t think of country music when they hear New Jersey,” he said. “But early country never would have happened if not for Victor Records in Camden signing Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter family.”

One national winner in the Jack Daniels Battle of the Bar Bands contest will receive a $10,000 check and an opportunity to perform on an iHeartRadio stage.

Voting is open until 11:59 p.m. on July 25, the same day Southpaw will take the stage at the NJ Festival of Ballooning, which also features headliners Styx and Barenaked Ladies.

Radlmann said fans can also expect to see Southpaw perform live closer to home this fall. Plans for that show are still being worked out.

“We’ll be preforming locally in the near future,” she said. “We’ll be having a belated album release show in September.”

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh - TapInto Westfield


Discography

UnhitchedReleased: 2021Label: Indie

Photos

Bio

Southpaw is a savory mix of country-styled music--simmered in rock, pop and R&B influences--and served hot. Lead singer Christine Radlmann and multi-instrumentalists, Sean Garnhart and Colin McConnell, send up hooky lyrics, soul-power vocal and infectious melodies, suspended by undeniable grooves and meticulous instrumental arrangements. 

​BAND BIO

Once there was a karaoke machine, and a little girl who drove her family crazy. Now there’s Christine Cuccio Radlmann, the soulful vocal force of Southpaw. Christine’s love affair with country music began in humble New Jersey honky tonks. She would go on to polish her chops over more than a decade of live performances. But life is more than a song for Christine. She’s also an accomplished poet, published in literary magazines such as the North American Review, the New York Quarterly, the Carolina Quarterly and Valparaiso Review. And she’s a prodigious literary editor with copyediting credits that include the Twilight Series, Gossip Girl, and authors such as Jerry Seinfeld, Maria Shriver, Carl Reiner, Kim Cattrall, and Julie Andrews.

Colin McConnell was born into a musical family. His indie music journey began at age 15 when he cast aside the trombone for the more socially viable guitar and began studying influences such as Mark Knopfler, David Gilmour, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. By age 20, Colin was writing and producing songs on four-track recorders. He’s written and produced more than 100 songs since, and his roots in rural Pennsylvania have manifested in a passion for country music that infuses Southpaw. When not writing or performing, Colin channeled his creativity into a successful marketing and communications career that included interesting stops such as speechwriter, managing a broadcast production facility, and running an ad agency. His work in advertising has garnered top accolades, including Cannes Lion, Clio, and Effie awards—and even a Guinness World Record.

If you’ve watched TV or seen a few movies, odds are you’ve heard Sean Garnhart's work. An Emmy-winning sound designer and re-recording mixer with over 150 film and TV credits, Sean has spent the better part of his life surrounding you with music and sound, working with notable creators such as the Farrelly Brothers, the Coen Brothers, M. Night Shyamalan, Joel Schumacher and Judd Apatow. Sean’s passion for music took root at age three when he began piano lessons with an accomplished teacher, his mother. By his teens, Sean was playing piano bars in Pittsburgh. Sean has been a published songwriter since 1997. In addition to producing four of his own albums, he has written, arranged, produced, recorded and mixed for many other artists. When he’s not creating great music with Southpaw, Sean owns and operates his own studio in New Jersey and also works in New York City and LA.


Band Members