Return to Sons of Sylvia


Published: Thursday, November 25, 2010

By Gary Graff
Of The Oakland Press


It’s safe to say Sons of Sylvia is in well with Carrie Underwood.

Ashley Clark, one of three brothers who comprise the group, played fiddle in the “American Idol” champ’s band for a time, and she’s returned the favor by repeatedly bringing the group — winners of Fox TV’s “The Next Great American Band” competition as the Clark Brothers in 2007 — on the road with her. SoS also guests on “What Can I Say” from Underwood’s third album, “Play On.”

“She kinda took us in like stray puppies,” says middle brother Austin Clark. “The relationship’s always been there, and when we started making our record, she asked us to do a duet on her record, and we were like, ‘Heck yeah!’ And then as soon as we did that she asked us to open up for her tour.

“She has just been the coolest supporter of our band ... and such a great friend. We’re honored and blessed to be working with her.”

SoS is also pleased to finally have an album, “Revelation,” which came out in April and has spawned two singles, “I’ll Know You” and “Love Left to Lose,” the latter of which was co-written and produced by OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, who’s the Clarks’ cousin.

“We knew each other growing up,” Austin Clark says, “but we really got close in our late teens and 20s because we all kind of migrated to Nashville (from Virginia) ... and discovered we all had the same dream, to do something in music. We’d all go to lunch and everything and always say, ‘Man, one day we need to write a song together or get a band going and go on tour ... ’

“It’s just funny how it all works out. Now (Tedder) is on tour with U2 and he’s written some of the biggest songs in pop music. It’s crazy he’s done so well. We’re so proud of him.”

Billy Currington’s last three albums — including “Enjoy Yourself,” which came out in September — have all debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard country charts.

But, he assures us, he has no aversion to the No. 2 spot.

“Next time — which is what I said about this album,” the Georgia-born Currington, 37, says with a defiant laugh. “Things seem to come not too fast for me, and I like it slow like this. It’s given me time to grow a business instead of having it all hit me at one time and being confused on how to run it at such a large scale.

“So I’m lucky enough to gradually learn so much. And the next one will go (No. 1) — or the next one after that. But it’s going to happen, I know that.”

“Enjoy Yourself,” meanwhile, does extol the virtues of doing just that — including on the first single, “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer,” which was Currington’s fifth song to top the country singles chart.

“I’m definitely not the biggest beer drinker in the world,” Currington confesses, “but I related to it and I thought it was a good beer-drinking anthem for a lot of my buddies.

“But there’s a lot of different stuff on (the album). I never wanted to be one of those artists that had to have people looking at me as, ‘He’s just country’ or ‘He’s just this or that.’ I always wanted to be known as someone who’s diverse and mixes it up a little bit. So I’ve got fun stuff like that but a lot of other things, too.”

Billy Currington and Sons of Sylvia perform with Carrie Underwood at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29, at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Lapeer Road at I-75. Tickets are $55.50, $45.50 and $35.50. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.