Southwood, pure and simple, plays state of the art country music by solid veterans with an abiding passion for the music. Featuring Bill Travers & Laura Moe, these accomplished pros are fast on their way to becoming a Twin Cities favorite, performing throughout the Upper Midwest. They all own solid track records, starting with Travers and Moe, who make up two-thirds of the popular trio Travelin’ Moburys with singersongwriter FrancisDuxbury III.
When singer-guitarist BILL TRAVERS isn’t performing with Southwood or The Travelin’ Moburys he puts in time playing classic rock around the Twin Cities with Rusty Nails. His career includes stints with Buckboard, Nevada, and The Cheater Slick Band. He’s been twice nominated Best Country Vocalist at the Minnesota Music Awards. His solo outing ‘The Legends’ is sterling tribute to such icons as Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. Travers signed on as producer and artist for The Travelin’ Moburys debut ‘Yesterday’s Wine’ and ‘Hide Me’ with songwriter Francis Duxbury III.
LAURA MOE was enlisted when Bill decided to expand the vocals for Southwood, adding harmonies, her shimmering five octaves and a wider range of songs. For good measure, she also plays guitar. Working with Travers and adding vocals for singer-songwriter Francis Duxbury III’s ‘Hide Me’ and singer Larry Carpenter’s album ‘Across The Waters’, she‘s now starting her first solo album. Performing as a duo, Bill Travers and Laura Moe are regulars at Midwest Country Theater in Sandstone, MN.
Sharp lead guitarist DON KASTE shares picking duties with Travers. Don, who produced ‘The Legends’, says “We had a great time. Just got together and made a record of the music we love.” He has produced 3 CD‘s for oldies crooner Eric Thomas and, multi-instrumentalist, has played in groups from Texas to Minnesota. With The Corvets in the 1960‘s, he opened for, among other greats, Conway Twitty, The Everly Brothers, Del Shannon and Tommy Roe.
Drummer TIM MOHRLANT recalls, “When Bill and Don started talking about forming Southwood, I was fortunate and honored to be asked to be part of it. This is by far the best band I have played with and I’m hoping we have a long future together.” Tim didn’t bring quite the same history to the group as the other three. Mohrlant had, however, been drumming since age 9, playing everything from polkas to waltzes to rock ‘n’ roll. The guys knew what they were doing when they asked him to join Southwood.
After seeing Ray Price at a state fair with his uncle in 1958, CRAIG WRONSKI knew he had to pursue pedal steel guitar. “In ‘61”, he recalls, “I decided to take up guitar after being influenced by people like The Kingston Trio, Bob Gibson, Brothers Four, and Clancy Brothers, to name a few. Over the years I have had the pleasure to share the stage with many notables including Marty Robbins, Oak Ridge Boys, Little Jimmy Dickens, and many more.” In 1992, he was also part of ‘Heartsongs’, the original musical based on the life of Patsy Cline, featuring Colleen Raye, which still tours the U.S.
TOM ERICKSON started out young to say the least. “I started playing at age 13 and a group of friends started a band called The Lads. People still remember us hauling our instruments to gigs in Radio Flyer wagons.” Tom had put in about 5 decades with bands, including Dave Carpenter and Friends, The Roller Dogs, Gary Meyer Band, Sweet North Band and Acoustic Overdrive. He hasn’t stopped since, playing in at least a dozen bands, spanning blues, country, jazz, bluegrass, even Traditional Irish Folk. In 2003, he switched over from bass guitar to the acoustic upright. “I decided to try something different. I started playing the upright bass and haven’t stopped. My electric sits idle now. I only wish that I would have started it sooner.” Better late than never.
“Southwood is a band of seasoned professionals having a fine time doing what they love. Give them a listen. You’ll probably love it, too.”
“Southwood is one of those strong outfits that leave you constantly wanting to hear more. Even if good old fashioned country music done to a fine turn isn’t your thing.”
Our thanks to Dwight Hobbes – Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Daily Planet for the opening and closing statements and for compiling the Southwood biographies.