By Jennifer Russo
It seems that the cover band movement has boomed over the last few years; it’s a guaranteed success move ~ people already love the songs and the bands that sing them. While some cover bands stick to one artist, there are others who take it all on, widening their set list to include everything from A to Z. From rock n’ roll to R&B, Drive South is one of those bands. With more than 125 years musical and stage experience combined and having opened for the likes of Randy Travis and the Charlie Daniels Band, this six-piece group simply does it all. The band consists of Jody Thompson (vocals), Lee Lavoie (vocals), Ray Perrone (keys, guitar), Eric Loslowski (lead guitar), Mike Clancey (bass) and John Murzycki (drums).Formed in 2009, Drive South has both male and female leads, making it possible to sing nearly every song you can imagine requesting, and the band can take requests, although members refuse to ever play the “Chicken Dance” (thank God) and “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.” Members decide their set list based on where they are playing and what they think might be best for the nightly crowd.
“Jody Thompson has such a wide range in her voice, which she can go from singing Heart’s ‘Barracuda,’ perform a soft rendition of ‘Faithfully’ by Journey, move on to ‘Good Girls’ by Carrie Underwood and then finish of the set with a rocking version of ‘Hot and Cold’ by Katy Perry. She is truly a great vocalist,” bandmate Perrone said.
Lavoie, who began his singing career as the lead vocalist in an Eagles tribute before he came to Drive South, performs everything from Grass Roots to Gary Moore to Bon Jovi.
What’s Drive South up to in 2014?
“Well, we played almost 60 shows in 2013 and have already booked 35 shows for this year,” Perrone said. “Our goals are to branch out into different demographic areas, get more involved in the Rhode Island clubs and look into playing the Boston/ North Shore venues. Also, the band has been asked to do several weddings, which is new to us and will be pretty cool. We also plan to go back into the studio to ‘retool’ and to add another 15 to 20 songs to our repertoire.”
Drive South will perform at the Auburn Elks on Feb. 8 for a Valentine Dance. For a complete list of shows and to learn more about the band, visit drive-south.com.