The Last Straw
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The Last Straw

Murfreesboro, Tennessee, United States

Murfreesboro, Tennessee, United States
Band Rock Blues

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"The Last Straw infuses blues with rock"

The Last Straw infuses blues with rock
By KAREN KRAFT
kkraft@dnj.com

The Last Straw lets loose on stage Friday night at WallStreet, bringing the rocking and the rolling to the ears of local audiences in Murfreesboro.

These guys really know how to get on stage and rock out for an audience, leaving them craving for more. Their blues-infused rock 'n' roll music reveals a distinct passion for music and performing for crowds. Their vocals resemble the soulful yet scratchy pipes of Chris Robinson from The Black Crowes or Stevie Ray Vaughn.

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The Last Straw is a must-see band that is quickly dominating the music circle. Never before has a band taken over the stage with such a presence as The Last Straw, and maybe they are the last straw for true rock music in Rutherford County.

We talked with the band:

Who are you?

Members: Kyle Daniel, guitar/lead vocals; John Salaway, drums/acoustic guitar/vocals; Quincey Meeks, guitar/harmonica/vocals; Adam Botner, keys/vocals; and Justin Pickle on bass guitar.

About the band mates

Although the band has only been together since February, members said it feels as though they've been performing together for many years. They clicked musical and spiritually since their first jam session. The band has toured the Southeast United States with recent gigs in Nashville, Murfreesboro, Alabama and Kentucky, while also in the studio working on the debut album release, due out at the beginning of 2008.

What's in a name?

The Last Straw's name may have come from the band's promotions coordinator Brad Fletcher who said, "This is The last straw" when members were searching for a name for many weeks. They say the name stuck because they felt that in an age dominated by mediocre rock, emo and meaningless pop music, they are The Last Straw for rock 'n' roll.

What can fans expect?

A righteous experience of high-energy rock 'n' roll, that tells a story and leaves the crowd hungry for more, members said.

Musical Influences?

Led Zeppelin, The Allman Bros, The Black Crowes, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Meters, Johnny Lang and the Rolling Stones to name a few.

What's next?

The band is currently in the studio working on the first full-length album release, expected to drop in early 2008. Although all band members write music, Kyle Daniel and John Salaway are the main songwriters and are currently working on writing a catalog of songs to choose from to put on the record. When finished, and if it is put out independently, the album will be available on iTunes and most independent record stores. However, the band is currently in talks with Music Row officials. The band currently has an EP for sale at shows.

For more information about The Last Straw, visit www.myspace.com/TheLastStrawJams. - The Daily News Journal


"Show Review - Southeast Performer Magazine"

Up With the Joneses / The Last Straw / Caesar Brown / Exit/In
Nashville, TN
January 4, 2008

It was a frosty night in Nashville, but the music inside the Exit/In was warm and inviting as the bands treated an enthusiastic crowd to balmy, soulful rock ‘n’ roll.

Opening band Caesar Brown started the night off with smoky, smooth rock. The six-piece band, joined by three lovely backup singers, played a mix of tightly performed songs for their many supporters. Solid covers of Led Zeppelin’s “The Ocean” and Allman Brothers Band staple “Whipping Post” showed their influences, and originals like “2nd Ave Blues” and “Queen of the South” proved their songwriting mettle.

The Last Straw’s lead singer/guitarist Kyle Daniel led the band through 11 finely crafted tunes and extended jams. Daniel’s potent vocals and fierce guitar leads drove the melody while drummer John Salaway and bassist Justin Pickle locked in and anchored the rhythm. This combination allowed guitarist Quincy Meeks and keyboardist Adam Botner to add their own flavor to the mix. Botner’s keys shimmered and swelled around the music while the barefoot Meeks played a mean harp that brought the blues to the band’s blues-rock sound. Each Last Straw member more than held his own as a soloist, but the band’s strength came through in its tightly arranged numbers.

This tight musicianship was on display all night - especially when sax player Dave Jones joined the group on the stellar “Soul on Fire” and the Allman Brothers Band’s “Southbound.” Sans sax, standout tunes included the opener “Take a Ride,” the powerful “Down the Line,” and a new song, “Find Your Way Home” - each boasting solid riffs and soaring choruses. The middle section of the set centered on a colorful rendition of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s “Love the One You’re With” that melded into a rhythm section solo. As the rest of the band briefly left the stage, Salaway and Pickle stepped up to shine. One by one the band reassembled, launched back into “Love,” and showed that, while the band’s parts are magnificent, the sum is even greater.

The night closed with a bang provided by Up With the Joneses. T.J. Greever and company came to the stage with frenetic energy and catchy funk-pop songs. Bassist Dan Pinson led the charge with bombastic runs reached a peak in the band’s rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” that would have done the master - and The Red Hot Chili Peppers - proud.

All three bands benefited from a personalized light show that ebbed and flowed with the music and brought even more warmth to the venerable Exit/In.

-Review & photo by Jason Peterson - Performer Magazine - Atlanta, GA


"Musician's start songwriting scholarship in memory of Silas Botner"

Juli Shipley 04.OCT.07

MTSU recently approved the first-ever songwriting degree under its Recording Industry Management program and one Murfreesboro musician is establishing its first scholarship to honor a young boy whose memory is close to the heart of many locals.

As drummer for The Last Straw, John Salaway met Silas Rock Botner, son of the band’s keyboardist, Adam. Having a five-year-old daughter himself, Salaway understands the delicate balance of chasing one’s dreams and raising a family.

He would often lift young Silas onto his stool, put the sticks in his hands and watch as he happily pounded away at the skins.

The children would dance and play together at the band’s rehearsals and gatherings.

Barely past his third birthday, Silas strayed outside the home of family friends. His budding mind unable to comprehend that he hadn’t yet developed the skills necessary to survive without his water wings, he slipped unseen into the backyard swimming pool.

Silas’s sweet and brief life came to an end on that August afternoon, but his plentiful spirit leaves a lasting impression on those that knew him and his kindhearted and genuine parents.

“Silas changed a lot of people, made us look closer at our own lives and relationships,” Salaway says. “He showed us all that we can’t take life for granted.”

By creating the Silas Rock Botner Memorial Scholarship, Salaway is creating a legacy.

“I want to pay tribute to him by helping others in his name. This scholarship could inspire that next great songwriter to write songs so profound that it changes lives.”

Silas’s parents, Adam and Amanda Botner, are both musically inclined and it was a mutual gift for songwriting that initially kindled the love they share.

“This is the appropriate way to memorialize him,” said Amanda, who played music, sang and took drum lessons with Silas in the womb. “He was a musical child from day one, drumming or playing on the keyboard. We sang together every day.”

Working closely with Music Row’s ASCAP chapter, MTSU will choose each year’s finalists based on transcripts, essays and original recordings.

The Botners, along with DefKat Music, will choose the winners and it’s a task they hold dear to their hearts.

“I definitely want to be close to them, really get to know the finalists,” Adam said. “We want it to be someone deserving who will use the scholarship to its fullest potential.”

John envisions the scholarship “bringing light to the family in a dark time.”

“This is starting local, though it can have global effects. MTSU brings students from all over the world and Silas can help cultivate that talent,” he said.

But first they’re going to need your help Murfreesboro.

The Last Straw will play a benefit show with Angela Ammons and Mike Anderson the night of Saturday, Oct. 6, at Bluesboro with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the scholarship fund. Another benefit featuring SkyHi, Ethan Swim and The Last Straw is planned for Nov. 2 at Wall Street.

For more information or to make a donation online, go to at myspace.com/silasrockbotnerscholarship.

- The Murfreesboro PULSE


"Benefit concert pays tribute to drowning victim"

By ERIN EDGEMON Business Editor

Silas Rock Botner
John Salaway and his record label Def Kat Music want to foster the next big songwriter and remember a young life tragically cut short through the creation of a memorial scholarship awarded to students enrolled in MTSU’s new commercial songwriting program.

“Think about your favorite song and what it means to your life,” Salaway, a 2006 graduate of MTSU’s recording industry program, said. “These songwriters (attending MTSU) could write that next song.”

The Silas Rock Botner Memorial Scholarship was created to remember the 3-year-old who died in a drowning accident Aug. 11, 2007. The first scholarship will be awarded for fall 2008.

“I just wanted to pay tribute to him,” Salaway said. “I really wanted to do something positive in his name.”

Silas’ father, Adam Botner, is in the band The Last Straw with Salaway.

Salaway said even at his young age, Silas loved to play the drums.

“I just know he was very passionate about music,” Salaway said. “He loved music. I am sure that it would be a part of his life.”

Salaway said he also felt compelled to start the scholarship because as a single parent, he knows the struggle of trying to pay for college.

“The only way I made it through college was scholarships and grants,” he said. “I know how important it is for some people.”

Steven Barnes, development director for the College of Mass Communication at MTSU, said the university is grateful that it is able to offer this scholarship to talented students.

“Memorial scholarships are a truly meaningful way for family and friends to create a legacy of a loved one,” he said. “Silas’ short life will be a lasting legacy that will benefit many students within the recording industry program.”

MTSU currently has 600 privately funded scholarships, said Kippy Todd, assistant director of annual giving and stewardship at MTSU.

“We are fortunate we have donors including friends and alumni that are willing to support students in their dream of education,” she said.

About 450 of these privately funded scholarships are endowed. Some of these funds are used for lectureships and program support.

“We pay out approximately $1 million a year in endowed money awards,” Todd said.

Salaway and other supporters are actively working to raise money for the scholarship. They hope to be able to give four $500 awards to gifted MTSU songwriters every year.

“We hope to help a few students out,” Salaway said. “Obviously, the more money we raise, the more people we can help.”

The MTSU commercial songwriting program, “Partners in Craft,” is a joint venture with the Nashville office of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) that will launch in spring 2008. The program matches veteran industry songwriting and publishing mentors with student songwriters.

Donations to the Silas Rock Botner Memorial Scholarship can be made by visiting www.myspace.com/silasrockbotnerscholarship. Donations also can be made directly to MTSU at the attention of the Silas Rock Botner Scholarship to P.O. Box 109, Murfreesboro TN 37130.

Salaway said he wants the Silas Rock Botner Memorial Scholarship to go to students who have a “true passion for music in their hearts.

“I want a person whose total passion is music and has a unique gift for songwriting but just needs some time and experience,” he said.

MTSU commercial songwriting students who have received candidacy, typically juniors and seniors, can apply for the scholarship through the university’s financial aid office. Applicants must submit a resume; a personal essay expressing their experience and explaining why they want to become a songwriter; and a recording of some of the applicants’ best songs.

The application deadline is April 15.

Salaway, Silas’ parents Adam and Amanda Botner and others from Def Kat Music will select the scholarship recipients.


Erin Edgemon can be reached at 869-0812 and at eedgemon@murfreesboropost.com.


What: A Silas Rock Botner Memorial Scholarship benefit concert
Where: Bluesboro Rhythm & Blues Co. on the Public Square
When: Oct. 6 at 8 p.m.
Who: Featuring The Last Straw, Angela Ammons, Mike Anderson and Alison Parson
How: A portion of the cover charge from the show will benefit the scholarship

How to donate to the Silas Rock Botner Memorial Scholarship:
Checks can be mailed to MTSU at the attention of the Silas Rock Botner Scholarship to P.O. Box 109. Murfreesboro, TN 37130.
Visit www.myspace.com/silasrockbotnerscholarship to give electronically.
For more information, contact Steven Barnes, development director for the MTSU College of Mass Communication, at 494-8784.

Member Opinions:
By: KJ on 9/25/07
That is a beautiful way to commemerate this child's life and it allows his spirit and love of music to live on in assisting others toward their dreams. God bless the family and friends for using their pain in such a positive way. - The Murfreesboro Post


"Three bands contribute to making the local scene great"

Marc Williams 31.MAY.07

Anyone not at the Bluesboro Rhythm and Blues Co. on Friday, May 18, missed a show of the highest caliber.

Let me start by saying I’m glad I didn’t miss the performances by Acoustic Revolution, The Last Straw and The Incredible Heat Machine.

Acoustic Revolution brought an old-school pop feel, reminiscent of the Beatles with a modern edge. The music has an upbeat feel combined with strong political and social commentary that gives it a unique dynamic—very clean well crafted songs.

Band founder John Salaway shined in this ensemble of musicians as he sang, played drums and guitar throughout the set.

However, Salaway had little chance to rest, as he is also the drummer for The Last Straw.

The Last Straw kicked off its set with their original song “Down the Line,” a powerful rock anthem about the residents of New Orleans and hurricane Katrina. This song to me is an indication of where the future of Southern rock lies. Bassist Justin Pickle and Salaway lay down a rhythm section much tighter than a tiger. Added to that, Quincy Meeks pulls double duty on the slide guitar and harmonica and Adam Botner plays the keys. Kyle Daniel completes this line up on lead guitar and vocals. Daniel won the Southern Kentucky Blues challenge in 2004 at the age of 17 and then went on the next year to finish as a finalist in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis out of a field of over 500 contestants. Several times I thought this guy was gonna sprain something in his face bearing down so hard on a solo with such intensity and ability rarely seen these days.

Only four months into existence, these guys have a big future ahead.

The final band of the evening was The Incredible Heat Machine. The Heat Machine took the stage and didn't let up for the rest of the night. The Heat Machine boasts a stellar rhythm section of their own with Ray Dunham on drums and Keegan Povlovic on bass. The band, rounded out with local veterans Jeremy Pinell on lead vocals and guitar, Rob Knugg on Keys and John Turner on guitar, unveiled some new material that all Heat Machine fans should be excited about.

The Heat Machine is a band that’s been around for awhile, and they represent what what makes the music scene in Murfreesboro so special. On any given night you can go out to one of the many venues in town and catch a band that rivals any major act out there today.

Catch The Last Straw and the The Incredible Heat Machine together again July 4 at at The Pulse’s Inaugural Independence Day Bash at the Boro Bar and Grill, along with T.H.B., Sky Hi, Penguin, and others. Look for more details in the next issue.

- The Murfreesboro PULSE


Discography

The Last Straw - Brought to Life (Feb. 2009)

EP - The Last Straw (2007)

Live Recording - The Last Straw Live @ 2nd Half Studios (2007)

Photos

Bio

Four men, from different musical backgrounds, combine the influences of their past and their vision of the future to create a sound so unique, yet so recognizable, that it can be mistaken as nothing but The Last Straw. Screaming riffs, impeccable percussion, roaring slide guitar, groovy bass, and the sensation of the perfect organ notes fill the sound that becomes so easily familiar. Songs like “Rock N’ Roll Queen,” and “She Don’t Love You” are reminiscent of some of The Last Straw’s greatest influences; such as The Black Crowes, The Allman Brothers, and The Beatles. Kyle Daniel’s lyrics scream blues, soul, and rock with the power of a voice far beyond his years. Marc Williams keeps the bass line fresh for every song. Pearce Harrison marks the beat with his well timed thunder .The combination of all four men’s eclectic southern roots and influences produces a stripped down, in your face sound that’s familiar, yet fresh. Their huge guitar solos and keys sweep over the top of the hip-swinging bass lines and precisely timed drums and combine with many of the same elements that made bands like The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin, and The Who legendary.

Not often is it that you find something that is so fresh, unique, and new wrapped up in a sound that pleases your senses like The Last Straw. On stage they go huge on songs like “Down the Line” and “Take a Ride,” and blend covers from the Grateful Dead to Rage Against the Machine into their originals. They’ve performed in both festival and concert format, and their long list of accomplishments include The Forcastle Festival of 2009 as well as opening for Blues Traveler later that year. They’re a powerhouse in Middle Tennessee, and recognized throughout the southeast as one of the best progressive southern rock bands touring today. They’ve received great accolades and multiple awards. Their work ethic and dedication to the music is taking them places…..and fast!

“...their short set simply killed. A last-minute addition to the (Forecastle) festival lineup, this fearsome five-piece from Murfreesboro, Tennessee played with the ferocity of a caged animal... Expect them to be added to many festival lineups in the future.” Frank Etheridge, Jambase.com, July 17, 2009

"The Last Straw opened the show with their always effervescent energy, hard-hitting rock ’n’ roll and catchy tunes that are conducive to the large crowd they draw to every show." Jodie Campbell, Pulse Magazine, December 11, 2008

"Each Last Straw member more than held his own as a soloist, but the band's strength came through in its tightly arranged numbers... while the band's parts are magnificent, the sum is even greater." Jason Perterson, Southeast Performer Magazine, January 4, 2008

“Their sound has an appeal that spans across three generations, reviving the way music was meant to be played.”
Christy Cheshire-Shreve, SOKY Happenings, Nov. 2007