Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, 500 Miles To Memphis was formed in 2003 by singer-songwriter and guitarist Ryan Malott. The distance from Malott’s home-town to the Memphis home of Elvis Presley inspired the band name. The line-up was unstable in the early years of the band’s career, with their 2005 self-titled debut completed by Malott, Jason Gallagher (guitar), Wade Owens (bass) and Lee Steele (drums). The album’s intriguing and energetic mixture of punk and country music was certainly not original (punk bands have frequently turned to roots music in the past), but it was unusual that Malott’s songwriting steered closer to country idioms rather than the modern malaise favoured by most of his emo contemporaries. A host of musicians then passed through the ranks before the relatively stable line-up of Malott, veteran local musician David Rhodes Brown (lap steel/keyboards), Jeff Snyder (bass), Stephen Kuffner (guitar/vocals), Paul Patterson (fiddle), and Kevin Hogle (drums) completed the band’s first widely available release, Sunshine In A Shot Glass.
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