The Lacs Rebolution is here

By on April 13, 2017

Photo-Jonathan Hawkins

The Lacs seek recognition for their different blend of country,
Southern rock and rap

Clay Sharpe, nicknamed “Uncle Snap,” has been at the music business
since 2000 with his partner, Brian King, nicknamed “Rooster.” But the
co-founder of The LACs still hasn’t accomplished his main goal, and
it’s a lofty one: creating a subgenre in a musical genre that arguably
doesn’t have any.

“Country is the only genre out there in the last 50 years that don’t
have subgenres,” Sharpe said in a phone interview from Virginia. “You
look at rock, you’ve got classic rock, you’ve got metal, you’ve got
thrash, you’ve got contemporary rock. Same thing with rap – you’ve got
gangsta rap, you’ve got Southern hip-hop. There’s subgenres of
everything but country.”

Photo-Jonathan Hawkins

“We have to be considered as a subgenre of country, (even though) we
rap about country things. We’re not traditional of any of the other
genres,” Sharpe said.

The LACs play with several openers Saturday at The White Buffalo
Saloon in Sarasota, Fl. The group’s fourth album, “Outlaw in Me,”
released in May, debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Country Albums
chart.

Photo-Jonathan Hawkins

Sharpe said their musical blend sometimes ticks off country purists.
But it’s a mixture that suits their natural abilities.

“The real traditional country people, we definitely catch some flak
from them,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we started rapping
because we couldn’t sing that good – if we could sing, we would try to
be George Strait. But I have to think of a different way to get my
messages out.

“Country music’s what we love; we grew up in a country town, we’re
still there. (But) we love rock, we love Southern rock, rap, hip-hop.
We just try to put a little bit of everything on our albums,” he said.

Photo-Jonathan Hawkins

The LACs – whose name is an amalgam of its members’ middle initials as
they used to be a trio and they are from the tiny town of Baxley, Ga.,
population about 4,000, a background that colors much of their
writing.

“I think living in a small town makes you focus on the smaller things
in life; it’s just not as fast-paced as living in a big city,” Sharpe
said. “You take time to sit on the porch, drink a glass of juice,
sitting in the porch swing, instead of rushing home and rushing to the
gym and rushing here and rushing there. That’s why I’ll never leave a
small town.

“Sometimes we’re on the road so long (they do 150 shows a year), when
we get home, the first thing we do is turn the cellphones off, don’t
answer emails, just go off the grid for a few days,” he said.

Photo-Jonathan Hawkins

But Sharpe admitted living in a place where everyone knows everyone’s
business can get a little old.

“That is the one downside of it,” he said. “There’s a lot of gossip
that goes on. (But) you learn to deal with it as the years go by, and
you learn who you can say stuff to and who you can’t say stuff to in a
small town.”

“Outlaw in Me” is loaded with references to drinking, fishing, trucks
and women – did we mention drinking? “God Bless a Country Girl” is
pure country musically with vocals heavily influenced with hip-hop.
The raunchy “Make the Rooster Crow” contrasts with the almost tender
“Tonight on Repeat.” And “Out There” is a dark, spooky track that
Sharpe calls “one of our hardcore songs.”

Photo-Jonathan Hawkins

The brief spoken-word track “Great Moments in Redneck History,” a
made-up story about the invention of the rocking chair, is a humorous
segue between tracks. They’ve done a different “moment” on each of
their albums.

“When we put the first one out, we were sitting around the studio
drinking and came up with it,” Sharpe said. “We started naming some
products that had to be invented by a redneck, whether we get credit
for them or not. So that’s how those stories came about.”

Their songwriting process is an effective mix of spontaneity and
planning ahead. They write the first half of the album ahead of time,
then write the second half while in the studio recording the first
half.

“I love doing spur-of-the-moment stuff in the studio, and sometimes we
just may not have the time to do the whole album like that,” Sharpe
said. “I definitely prefer going in there and (saying), let’s write
one on the spot and record it right now. That’s just the fun part for
us in writing, taking a guitar and turning it into a whole song in the
same day.”

He cites Hank Williams Jr. as his biggest songwriting influence.

“He’s put out over 100 albums and on a lot of those, what people don’t
realize is, he played every instrument on them,” he said. “You don’t
have that too much anymore.”

Sharpe describes his relationship with King as a meeting of kindred spirits.

“We’re very similar,” he said. “We’re homebodies; we’re almost hermits
when we go home. We don’t even come out of our house and yard.

“(In the beginning), we just hit it off musically. We would start
seeing each other more and more at social functions and parties – he
would have his guitar playing stuff. And finally one day we just said,
man, let’s try making music. We have to be around each other almost
24/7, and we never fight or anything. I think it’s just because we’re
kind of the same easygoing kind of people,” he added.

Sharpe said he’s pleased with the pace of The LACs’ career so far. But
he has his sights firmly set on getting his subgenre recognized
big-time, not just by listeners, but by the industry as well.

Photo-Jonathan Hawkins

“One of my goals is to have the genre on an awards show, whether it’s
called ‘hick hop’ or ‘country rap,’ or whatever the Association (of
Country Music) wants to call it,” he said. “(To have) a place to come
and go for all people in our genre – our goal is to get it recognized
by the association.”

Almost Kings were the opening act for The Lacs American Rebelution
tour. Almost Kings brings their energetic live show from city to city.
Hailing from the dirty south rock clubs of Atlanta, GA. Almost Kings
hit the road in 2008 and never looked back. Supporting groups like
Rehab, Framing Hanley, and Sevendust through their early releases
(“Filthy Nice”, 2009 & “Club Rock”, 2011), AK managed to build a loyal
underground following throughout the southeast, up the eastern
seaboard, and beyond.

Overall the American Rebelution tour is very different if your not
familiar with the new Country/Rap they Call “Hick Hop”. With the
opening act of Almost Kings, it’s a not miss tour when they come
through your town. I learned a lot about The Lacs from our
interview with them. Mostly that they are just some good ole country boys doing what they love. If you go to their show, be ready for a drinking good time with some Georgia backwoods boys.

For more  info and tour dates:

The Lacs- https://thelacsmusic.com/
Almost Kings- https://www.facebook.com/almostkings/

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