A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BAND
South Mississippi based Roots-Rock Jam group Royal Horses were formed in 2018 by founding members Shelby Kemp (guitar/vocals), Kenny Paul Mann (double bass), and Daniel Firth (drum set). The Trio began playing around the gulf coast of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama and began working on materiel for their first album, “A Modern Man’s Way To Improve”, which was recorded in 2018 at Downman Sounds in New Orleans, produced by John Micheal Early of the New Orleans band Flow Tribe, and released under High Rise Records.
While working the gulf coast and preparing for the release of their debut album, the group quickly began to pick up a healthy following along the I-10 corridor, largely due to their high energy performances and original material which struck a chord with lovers of roots music and jam bands alike. Fans of artists like Grayson Capps and Cary Hudson began flocking to Royal Horses shows as well, and the group pushed on with larger and better shows through the year 2019 before finally releasing their debut album in November of that year. The release was exclusively to vinyl, no digital streaming whatsoever, and that fact caught the attention of Record Store Day.
“A Modern Man’s Way To Improve” was chosen to be part of the exclusive release list for Record Store Day 2020, and 100 limited edition copies of the vinyl were made to be used for that purpose. Once the Covid-19 pandemic forced Record Store day to postpone, Royal Horses decided to hold off on streaming release until the limited vinyl release had come to pass. In this time, Record Store Day received orders for approximately 400 additional copies of the record, bringing the total to 500 which the band provided to record shops nation wide. The release was a huge success, although delayed due to the pandemic, and the album became available on streaming services in December of 2020, one year after the vinyl release.
During this time, the band worked to grow their live performances and continued to build their following, stretching out their range with shows in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Florida, all the while playing consistently around Alabama and Mississippi.
In the summer of 2020 Royal Horses isolated back in Downman Sounds with John Micheal Early, and began recording their second album “Where the Purple Flowers Grow”, set for release in late 2021. This album represented a more static version of the bands sound, and has been described as the most mature installment yet.
In the autumn of 2020 Royal Horses linked up with producer Eddie Roberts of The New Master Sounds and recorded three singles on his Color Red label based in Denver, CO. The Trio saw these singles achieve their highest number of streams yet on Spotify and were featured on numerous playlists, including Ditty Tv’s Americana playlist.
In 2021 the band continued its constant gig schedule, and began to go through some lineup changes. After an impromptu jam session in Ocean Springs led to a blooming friendship between the band and lap steel and mandolin guru, Jackson Weldon (formerly of Roscoe Bandana, Dr. Bacon), Weldon was added to the group as a full time member in the summer of 2021.
In late Summer of 2021, founding member Kenny Paul Mann decided to come off the road and leave the band as a full time member. He remains a close friend and confidante of the band. Bass duties have since been taken up by Scott Chism (Scott Chism and the Better Half, Cary Hudson’s Piney Woods Players).
September 2021 saw the new and extended four piece lineup out on tour in Colorado, and recording their third album back at Eddie Roberts Color Red Studio. This album features several special guests, and although much cannot be openly discussed at this time, more information will available closer to the release date.
For now, here’s what you can expect from a Royal Horses show-
A catalogue of original music spanning from roots rock to funky tonk, and from psychedelia to Americana. A high energy atmosphere driven by natural chemistry between the members and hours spent honing in on each other’s playing style. Reimagined covers from the music of the 1900’s which inspired the band in the first place.
Royal Horses is the premier up and coming band from Mississippi, the place where American music was born, and there is much more to come from the group.