The Lacs: Deplorables Tour

Doc Roc Presents

The Lacs: Deplorables Tour

Big Smo, Demun Jones

Sun Oct 29

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

Cain's Ballroom

Tulsa, OK

$23.00 - $38.00

This event is all ages

Advance $23
Day of Show $25
Door $25
Mezzanine (21+) $38

There is a $2 fee that applies to each ticket purchased at the Cain's Box Office.

No re-entry! No smoking! No refunds!

Support acts are subject to change without notice!

The Lacs
The Lacs
You and I both know that America has been through a lot these past few years. Clay “Uncle Snap” Sharpe and Brian “Rooster” King know it better than most. But as The Lacs, they’ve had a unique view of where we’ve been, where we’re going — and what parts of our identity haven’t changed at all.

On American Rebelution, their aptly titled sixth album, The Lacs take all that they’ve witnessed, roll it up in a unique sound they call “dirt rock” and lay down the truth as they see it. Yes, these 12 tracks stand on the hip-hop/country/Southern rock bedrock Snap and Rooster pioneered along with a handful of other innovators. But that’s just the beginning of this story.

Nearly 20 years ago, these proud sons of Baxley, Georgia, unleashed their first beats and ripped through their first rhymes. Since then they’ve headed down highways far from the hometown dirt roads, watching landscapes roll past on the way to their next shows. Over time their venues got bigger, their audiences more diverse. They still play the mud parks for their longtime fans, but lately they’ve noticed differences in the crowds they’re drawing.

“That’s awesome,” Brian rumbles over the phone from their bus, en route to wherever joint he and Clay will be rockin’ in a few hours. “It feels great when people come up and say that because of our music they went to a mud park for the first time. I’m like, ‘Don’t you wish you’d done it years ago?’”

He laughs, a gully-deep chuckle as Clay jumps in. “It’s definitely no disrespect for anybody that don’t live our lifestyle, but this is us and everybody who comes to our shows is just like family. We’ve learned a lot from our fans over the past few years.”

Much of what they’ve learned courses throughout American Rebelution. The soul of The Lacs is right where it’s always been, front and center in their music, infused by pride in their country, love for their family, an inclination toward rowdy celebration and an unexpected tenderness when it comes to the ladies in their lives. What’s different is how they color these qualities, with a wider palette than they’ve ever used before.

“This album was different because we used four different producers for the first time,” Clay explains. “We realized that you can’t just stay with the same sounds forever. You can’t stay one-dimensional. You’ve got to evolve. It’s a fine line to walk while still being true to yourselves.”

They walked that line without a misstep. A stinging electric guitar lick and mellow electric piano on “Redneck as Me,” old-school steel and fiddle on the romantic “One More,” retro organ and front-porch banjo on “I’m Good,” an electronic pulse punctuated by the ominous click of a gun being cocked on the title cut — The Lacs have widened their scopes but stayed focused on what they believe.

“For the most part, we write about home,” Brian says. “That’s why we do our writing back in Georgia. We’ll write about things we’ve seen on the road but even then, it’s about how we see them because of who we are and where we’re from.”

Home, on American Rebelution, is where you kick it with your friends, on a mellow afternoon in “Lake Somewhere” or a wild Friday night in “Drink as a Team.” It’s spending time with your family where you grew up, in their “white trash trailer on a dirt road” (“My Kinfolks”). It’s the satisfaction you feel when you can persuade an “uptown girl” to reconsider her ways (“Now I’ve got her listening to Merle and I think she might be changing her mind,” Clay slyly suggests on “Redneck as Me.”) It’s that edgy underside of braggadocio when comparing the size of your truck to someone else’s on the metaphorical “Mine’s Bigger.” Sometimes home is where you’ve passed your limit and drunkenly improvise the latest chapter of The Lacs’ ongoing epic, “Great Moments in Redneck History.”

It’s also a place where you invite your fellow artists to challenge you, inspire you and let them feel the energy bounce back from you in the studio. Cympleman and Hard Target trade verses with Brian on “Happens Every Time” in a volley of sizzling rhymes. Hard Target returns with another fiery guest shot on “Her Way,” a reflection on love lost delivered over a snapping beat and sweetened by rhythmic mandolin. And on “Jack in My Coke” The Lacs welcome two longtime heroes for the first time.

“We’ve been fans of Montgomery Gentry for a long time,” Brian points out. “We first opened up for them five or six years ago before a NASCAR race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. We’ve always wanted to work with them but we didn’t have the perfect song until now.”

“It’s not like we wrote this with them in mind,” Clay adds. “It’s just that when we wrote this, it was like, ‘Man, they would sound great singing on this!’”

Above all else, home is where everything The Lacs do begins and ends. They still live near where they were born; you can sense it in every note the sing and word they say. “You want to make the folks back home proud when they listen to you,” Clay says.

This means not trading in what you know and who you are for something glitzier or trendier. It’s being true to yourself and trusting people will notice. That’s been borne out so far, as The Lacks have already passed half a billion streams on Pandora.

“None of that has come from radio or big publicity campaigns,” Clay insists. “It’s all from our fans telling other people about our music.”

“And those new fans have been coming around,” Brian says. “People are starting to get tired of this so-called pop country. They want something a little more hard-core, something that comes from rock ’n’ roll and the kind of country we had back in the Nineties.”

“There’s always gonna be old-school country fans ain’t never gonna accept rap,” Clay notes. “But the people who do give this music a change, it can touch them in a way they’ve never experienced before.”

Which takes us back to the top: America has been through a lot recently. But all the changes we’ve weathered have only sent us back toward the things that endure, the beliefs that anchor us and tie us together. The Lacs have always known that. That rings truer than ever throughout this American Rebelution.
Big Smo
Big Smo
“This album is definitely about growth.”

So says Smo, whose growth as a force in American music cannot be denied. Having topped 50 million views on YouTube, sold more than 450,000 tracks and dominated both the country and rap charts, the charismatic Tennessee-bred artist, outdoorsman and family man draws fans from across all social boundaries.

How does he do it? He speaks truth. He lays down epic rhymes that challenge listeners to party when they can, to champion the values on which they were (or should have been) raised, to look straight into the eyes of life, to laugh and love and even get angry every once in a while if that helps make things right.

These many sides of Smo are represented proudly on his latest album. Yes, We The People is about growth, in creative horizons as well as in a worldview nurtured by time and trial. But it’s also about the growth it inspires among his ever-expanding audience, who see their own stories mirrored in his.

“I see things today in a clearer way than I ever have, as a father, as a son, as an American,” Smo insists. “It’s about that growth for me as an individual and hoping I can influence my listeners to grow with me.”

From working dawn to dusk on his family farm to riding border to border on his bus, from meeting and entertaining his fans, aka “Kinfoke,” from fusing elements of raw country and hip-hop in a makeshift studio to the private moments he shares via his “Smo On The Go” video posts on Facebook, Smo incorporates all that has come his way into a unique and personal sound.

A new and especially difficult turn impacted Smo’s approach to music and life in general. Last year Smo underwent quadruple bypass surgery, an experience that can’t help but change those who survive.

“When you’re facing death and you’re given a second chance with life, you find that you value that life much more,” he reflects. “I’ve been guilty in the past of taking the simple things for granted. Today I stand here, clear-minded, with my eyes set on my target.”

Smo addresses this in his “manifesto,” a creed laying the foundation for the album. It pulses throughout We The People, in the empowering proclamation of the title track, the determination to succeed that drives “Say My Name,” the spice and sass that conjures P-Funk on a backwoods parade with “Struttin’ In The Stix,” an irresistible call to rock the house from “sunup to last call” on “Retox”…

And then there are bases Smo has never touched until now, including a gentle love lyric framed by string quintet on “Thing For You” and his first duet with a female singer: Josie Dunne as the girl waiting for her traveling love on “Never Get Old.”

“Getting the opportunity to work with Josie was a blessing for me,” Smo says. “In fact, it’s a blessing for me to work with all of the singers on this album rather than the other way around. When Casey Beathard and I cut the demo for ‘We The People’ and he sang the chorus, his voice was just so majestic that I knew that no one else could fill that position. My longtime friend and backup singer Haden Carpenter has just the right amount of funk and country for ‘Struttin’ In The Stix.’ We had Michael Ray on ‘Rollin’,’ a phenomenal artist and a dear friend. William Michael Morgan is amazing. There’s so much old country in this young man’s voice. You don’t find that a lot nowadays. Plus Corey Crowder, Todd Nielson, Hookman, Brandon Rogers, Jimmy Burney … Being able to work with each of these great talents wasn’t really work at all.”

Smo gives much of the credit for bringing We The People home to his producer.

“There’s a reason why you haven’t heard a production like this on my past projects,” he says. “It’s because of my good friend Jason Mater. Our creative process was like, as soon as I thought of an idea, he was already playing it. I wanted to test the boundaries and really dig into the multi-genre experience. As soon as my manager Dan Nelson and I heard what Jason was capable of, we knew he was the guy for the job.”

You can hear the fruits of their collaboration from the opening track’s mock-inaugural of Smo as “our Commander in Chief” to the uplifting closer, “My Kind America.” One clear example is “Movin’ On Up,” an affirmation of hard work and harvest it yields, built on a handclap gospel beat that keeps peaking to the edge of explosion and then backing off.

Why this groove tease? Smo smiles and explains, “We talked about how every day we work to achieve the top goal we set. Then as soon as we achieve that goal, we set another one. And when we reach it, we set another one. We never really reach the top because once we get to what we think is the top, we set standards for our next level.

“So,” he concludes, “we don’t have to get to some exploding point because we’re never gonna feel like we can stop and quit working. For us, that point doesn’t exist.”

Which takes us back to that idea about growing, about how Smo sees himself and the world that motivates him to work and perform and connect and lift it all just a bit higher tomorrow. If We The People is about setting down his beliefs and what he’s learned, then the last track is about wrapping it all up and offering it to his kinfoke.

“‘My Kind America’ is at the end for a good reason,” he says. “I began with ‘We The People’ to get listeners thinking about this album. It’s about finding the things that make us who we are as Americans. It’s about loving. It’s a reminder that, hey, even though we’re going through hard times and people are feeling a certain way about other people, we’re fortunate to wake up every day in this country where you can stand up for your belief. You don’t have to sit on the sidelines and do nothing. Don’t put all of your energy into complaining about how things are. Get up and do something about it.

“Make this Your Kind America.”
Demun Jones
Demun Jones
DEMUN JONES has always had a way of keeping it real when it comes to the music he has written, recorded and performed throughout his career, but, that said, JONES COUNTY might well be the most genuine collection of songs that represents who the Georgia native is and certainly illustrates the place where he’s lived his entire life.

Asked how the songs for his forthcoming solo project came about, Demun said, “I went out in my front yard and imagined what are they doing? What are they thinking? What are they going to do? What do I see?”

Life in Jones County, which is just north of Macon, is southern and some, including the Jones family, will say they’re rednecks. They drive trucks. They fish and hunt. They like keeping things simple—sort of a what-you-see is what-you-get type of place. All the same, Jones County is what you hear and Demun is hoping people who are from there will respect and love his latest collection of 12 songs, while people who aren’t from around those parts will be “captivated by it and want to listen to it.”

Demun – a nickname he earned at a young age because he was aggressive and energetic – was 10 years old when he was transfixed by the immergence of N.W.A. and how they represented their own hometown. He’s never forgotten how that seminal album affected a southern boy down in Georgia. He’s always wanted to do the same for Jones County.

“I’ve had inspirations that cover the whole gamut of genres,” Demun said.

His musical influences are not all southern or country.

His oldest brother Chris introduced him to Led Zeppelin along with AC-DC and Black Sabbath, while his mother Cheryl introduced him to the likes of Marvin Gaye and other Motown acts, including James Brown and Michael Jackson. A ranch owned by Otis Redding is right down the road from where Jones grew up the son of a lifelong brick mason worker. He was the third of six children, who spent their hot summer days playing football in the front yard and frog hunting in a creek behind a hayfield that surrounded their modest home.

His uncles introduced him to the southern rock soundscape of The Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Back then Demun wasn’t a singer, but he knew at a young age he wanted to do something musical. He started listening to hip hop and rap and was intrigued by breakdancing. That’s when he heard N.W.A. That album was about Compton, for Compton and the whole world took notice.

It was a musical documentary – sort of a bird’s eye view of life – that Demun wanted to portray in his own autobiographical song selection for Jones County.

“It gave me some hope that I could make my own music,” said Demun, who wrote his first song when he was 15. “It took a long time for me to realize I could make country music without singing the whole time and still be for the country person.”

And that is exactly what Demun, whose vocal delivery is as intense as it is distinct, set out to accomplish with Jones County.

The challenge was infusing his country inspired lyrics with hip hop grooves.

Demun said the creative process often began with a drum beat or chord progression on the guitar, while – thematically speaking – each story was influenced by characters (friends, family and actual folks from the heart of Georgia) and the very experiences Demun had come across throughout his life growing up and living in Jones County, Georgia.

“I tried to focus on music that was for people I grew up around,” he said.

No song is more familiar to him on Jones County than I’m a Man, which he co-wrote with the guys from I4NI and Jon Conner. It’s about his father Ricky, 61, who has been laying bricks past 49 years. It’s about hard work, ethics and honesty, but, more importantly, Demun said, “He’s always wanted me to sing on a song and this is one of the first, you know what I’m saying, and it’s about him.”

Demun added, “I had to do to it once I heard the demo and I did what I had to do to pull it off.”

He’s already filmed a video for Tannerite – the lone fictional tale of what happens when some southern boys are playing with explosives and what occurs when they come across a Sasquatch – and Boondocks is another tune that’s all-too-familiar to Jones and a legion of rednecks that Jones County speaks to.

It’s an actual place in Georgia, where Demun shot The Muddy Muddy video, in a 1,000-acre field in front of 5,000 people. “That’s when I really understood who I was speaking to with my direction,” said Demun, who went there to film a video and was so affect by the experience he wrote an entire song about it. It had rained all week leading up to the Fourth of July video shoot, but the weather was nice by show time and, of course, muddy.

“It was redneck heaven,” Demun proclaimed.

For Demun, Jones County is a great place to live and Jones County the album finally illustrates his evolution as a person – he’s married and the father of two girls, 3 and 4 – and as an artist. It’s all part of the freedom of expression that comes with writing songs for a solo project.

“It came natural once the process started,” Demun concluded. “Jones County was the easiest album and the easiest songs I’ve written in my life.”

These songs might have come naturally to him, but Demun has been playing music for a long time – including a 10-year stint as a member of Rehab – and it’s taken all that time for him to get to a point where he can write songs that represent his life as it is today.

He extensively toured with Rehab band mate Danny Boone and co-wrote a lot of the Rehab material, including the critically acclaimed songs for Welcome Home. He also co-wrote Welcome 2 Jawga with the Jawga Boyz, who made an appearance on Jones County as do Charlie Farley, Bubba Sparxx and Locash Cowboys.

Demun’s first mainstream credit as a songwriter came on title track of Colt Ford’s popular Ride Through the Country, which also featured John Michael Montgomery.
Venue Information:
Cain's Ballroom
423 N Main St.
Tulsa, OK, 74103