The Motions
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The Motions


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"Rock Out with The Motions"

Is it summer yet?

It’s close enough, but if you need an extra boost of fun summery sounds, check out the debut album by The Motions.

The Mississippi-based rock band released its self-titled record in May – a perfect month for an album full of jangly, super-catchy rock.

The record kicks off with the excellent “Little Bit of Fiction,” a song that could be a hit right now. The hook is toe-tap worthy, and the sing-along chorus makes the song memorable. It’s instantly likeable.

The hits-in-waiting continue with the radio-ready “Goodbye” and the bouncy “Free Again.”

The guys try and succeed for an edgier sound on tracks like “The Road” and “Intertwined Mind.” There’s a little punk thrown in on the terrific “Fallen.”

According to the band’s MySpace page, the average age of the band members is 16, and that’s evident on the record. The CD has a fun, youthful, carefree feel that’s instantly infectious. The music could be a little bit more complicated, but it’s really, really hard to fault the guys on that. And if this is what The Motions sound like at 16-ish, imagine where they’ll be in 10 years’ time.

The Motions have created a solid debut CD. It’s one of those rare albums that you like the minute you hear it. Things can only get better from here. - Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

"Five Questions with Toby Hartleroad"

Toby Hartleroad is the lead singer and principle songwriter for Columbus, MS indie rock group The Motions, who are playing Saturday night at The Depot. Hartleroad’s band has, by all accounts, taken it’s act to the next level this year– a year that included the release of their phenomenal debut album, a tour that took them to Austin’s world-famous Continental Club and the introduction of a slew of new songs that are bringing their buzz to a fevered pitch.

All this, and he’s also starting his first semester of college. Age is certainly the elephant in the room when talking about The Motions, but while some bars won’t book them– the ones that will are finding out what everyone else already has. This band is no novelty act– it’s for real.

Hartleroad was kind enough to take some time to help us start our new feature, “Five Questions With:”.

1. Artists can take on any subject, but you chose music. What was it about music that drew you with such fervor?

I was exposed to music at a really early age. I can remember listening to the Doors, Pink Floyd and Blind Melon when I was around 3 or 4. It just always seemed so beautiful to me. It was so natural.

2. You guys started your band and have cultivated your band while keeping a homebase in Columbus, MS. Now, I think you’d be the first to agree that Columbus isn’t exactly a “hotspot” for artists. What has that experience been like?

It’s been interesting. I think a big lesson we’ve learned is just to make the best of your situation. I mean we were lucky enough to have some cool places to play around the area as well as some really great musicians that were raised around here. Our record was recorded by a guy from West Point, MS. If we weren’t playing around here, we never would’ve heard of this guy.

3. You’re a clever lyricist, especially for your age. I listen to your record and I keep coming back to lines like “emotion sickness and it’s bringing me down”. There are lots of layers and textures in your words that make the songs consistently interesting. Talk about the writing process and where some of that comes from.

Haha. I never get to talk about lyrics. Some of our songs are nearly 2 years old at this point. I wrote a lot of them as I was battling that stereotypical teenage depression thing. So a lot of them are really sad. The newer ones are quite a bit more upbeat. I think the new ones definitely show a sense of maturity. I mean, I used to write only about myself. Now I’m able to write about other people and things. It’s a different approach. But I’m happy with it.

4. A lot of people may not know this, but you are related to your drummer and your bassist. The band started out as just you, Max (drums) and Miles (bass). Tell us a bit about what it’s like making your art with family.

The family thing is really great. We have more chemistry than anyone I’ve seen. We know exactly what each other is doing. We share a very similar vision with what we want our music to sound like. So it keeps the arguments to a minimum. I mean, I don’t want to say we never argue, because we do, it’s just not very regular and usually not about petty things.

5. One of the things we are always going to do at the end of this is give the artist a chance to recommend an album or band that may not be at the “top of the foodchain”, so to speak. What is something you are listening to now that you’d recommend to our readers?

Ummmm. I think everyone should hear a record by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. My personal favorite at the moment is “The Boatman’s Call.” So if you haven’t listened to it, go do yourself a favor and pick it up.

The Motions will play Saturday night at The Depot.
- 15th Street Dinah


Little Bit of Fiction/Goodbye (Hackberry Records), 45 RPM single, 2009

The Motions (Hackberry Records), LP, 2009




Reed Watson
The Hackberry Group

In a world full of assumptions and predeterminations, everything about The Motions encourages skepticism. The first, and most obvious, observation is the average age of it's members can't be more than 18. (It's 16.) Next, they come from Columbus, MS...and nobody ever mistook that town for being a musical hotbed. Finally, you think back to who you were when you were that age, and you're quite certain that most folks that age can barely get their homework done, much less write original music and impress a crowd.

And right then, that's when Toby, Max, Kyle and Miles walk on stage, plug in their instruments and proceed to blow away every preconceived notion you might have had. In fact, that's what The Motions have been doing for a while now, and they've captured that spirit on their debut, self-titled album. Sure, it's a record with the classic trappings of youth-- it's got your yearning, it's got your enthusiasm, it's got your emotion and it's got your wide-eyed observations. But it also displays a remarkable understanding of what it takes to make a great rock record. It draws from it's influences, but creates something new and vibrant. It demands repeated listens--and respect.

Yes, respect is something that The Motions are finally getting--but it's not stopping them from continuing to seek out new influences and grow as a musical outfit. And all that respect isn't stopping first-timers from being skeptical. As a matter of fact, you can find evidence of both at their next show. Just look for the folks with their jaws on the floor. (EPK)

The Motions, formed in 2005, routinely play in bars/clubs throughout the Southeastern United States. Their self-titled debut LP was recorded at EAR Studios in Austin, TX and produced by James Stevens (Moonlight Towers). The band was signed to Hackberry Records in the summer of 2009.