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Rival Sons

California's Rival Sons play straightforward, unpretentious rock & roll informed by the greats of classic rock. Since forming sometime in the late 2000s, the band has risen to critical and commercial acclaim, hitting a new level with their Grammy-nominated 2019 album Feral Roots. The band has made several appearances on late-night television and ended up sharing stages with many of their heroes like AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and Guns N' Roses. They continued to elevate their sound, recording and releasing the ambitious companion albums Darkfighter and Lightbringer in 2023. Rival Sons formed in Long Beach in 2008 around the quartet of guitarist Scott Holiday, bassist Robin Everhart, drummer Mike Miley, and vocalist Jay Buchanan. All were veteran musicians who had found some small measure of success with previous projects. The band established their creative relationship with producer Dave Cobb from the very beginning, resulting in their self-released 2009 debut album Before the Fire. They received some exposure when their song "Tell Me Something" was used in an ad campaign for Indy car racing, and the following year, they opened for some high-profile acts, including hard rock legends Alice Cooper and AC/DC. In 2010 Rival Sons made the unlikely jump to extreme metal label Earache, which quickly issued a self-titled EP that the band had recorded in 2010. This paved the way for their follow-up album, Pressure & Time, which was again produced by Cobb and featured artwork by rock legend Storm Thorgerson. While it made a modest impression in the U.S., the record found its way onto a handful of charts around Europe, where the band toured with Judas Priest and Queensrÿche before heading back Stateside to join up with Evanescence. They stuck with classic rock riffs and blues-influenced sound on their third record, Head Down, which was released in 2012 to widespread critical acclaim and even greater chart success in Europe; in Scandinavia, the LP hit the Top 20 in three countries, including a number six chart position in Sweden. Rival Sons toured heavily in support, playing the Download Festival and supporting Kiss and Sammy Hagar. Exhausted from years of hard touring, Everhart bowed out in late 2013 and was replaced on bass by Dave Beste. Heading back to Nashville, Rival Sons teamed up with Cobb for Great Western Valkyrie, their fourth full-length. Released in June 2014, it became their first legitimate American success, topping Billboard's Heatseekers chart and cracking the Billboard 200 at number 125, while making a typically strong showing around Europe. Rival Sons' ascent continued with their fifth LP, Hollow Bones, which again featured Thorgerson's artwork on the cover. Released in June 2016, it became their biggest domestic success to date, hitting 115 on the Billboard 200 and again topping the Heatseekers chart. Along with eight originals, it included a cover version of "Black Coffee," written by Ike & Tina Turner and immortalized by Humble Pie. Maintaining their European stronghold, the group headed overseas to support Deep Purple before joining Black Sabbath as main opener for their high-profile The End Tour. In 2018, after four increasingly successful albums on the Earache imprint, Rival Sons announced that they'd signed a deal with Cobb's Elektra imprint, Low Country Sound. Their first single for the label, "Do Your Worst," appeared that September. Along with the blazing "Back in the Woods," it later appeared on the band's sixth studio long-player, Feral Roots, which was released in January 2019. Their third consecutive effort to top the Heatseekers chart, it received Grammy nominations for Best Rock Album and Best Rock Performance for the single "Too Bad." In 2020, the group offered up an acoustic reworking of the Feral Roots track "Shooting Stars." In October of 2022, the band released "Nobody Wants to Die," the first single off their Dave Cobb-produced seventh studio album Darkfighter. The full-length appeared in June of 2023 just behind the second single, "Bird in the Hand." They returned quickly with a sixth album, Lightbringer, which arrived in October 2023. Recorded during the same 2021 sessions with producer Cobb, both Darkfighter and Lightbringer reached the Top 50 on the U.K. Albums chart.
© Gregory Heaney /TiVo


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