The LACS, country-rap duo comprised of Brian King and Clay Sharpe, are riding high this week as their latest “Keep It Redneck” album becomes their highest charting project. Shifting 14,000 copies first week of release, their third studio effort lands at No. 3 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums, following previous best with “190 Proof” (April 2012) with 7,000 sold (earning a No. 16 bow). The title track’s music video has garnered well over 300,000 views on YouTube in less than a month, keeping their momentum on fire.
“Oh man, it’s awesome,” King gushes about the milestone. “It’s definitely our highest growing video. We filmed it in our hometown and used regular people in it.”
The video, which features a rough and rowdy storyline, was filmed in Baxley, Ga. “It was a lot different [than previous videos] because we were in our hometown,” Sharpe says. “We got to show everybody that was new that came to the video [shoot] what we do.”
He adds, “There [were] some new people from around South Georgia, but we had a lot of our own friends there, too.”
In the clip, the redneck crowd is seen getting dirty on mud-slinging four-wheelers, something the pair is used to doing quite frequently. “That’s about all we got to do down there,” Sharpe admits. “We hunt and fish and ride four wheelers.”
King chimes in, “Probably when we weren’t able to drive a four-wheeler, our parents had four-wheelers that we rode on with them. [It’s] something that’s been a part of our lives forever.” Sharpe continues, “After we outgrew our power wheels, we went straight to the four-wheelers.” [laughs]
Being from a small town, Sharpe confesses that there are definitely some advantages and disadvantages from that lifestyle. He explains, “One of the biggest disadvantages is everybody knows your business. That’s how a small town is. But, everyone [there] pretty much has our back. They have had our back since day one. I just love being out in the country. I can’t see myself ever moving anywhere else.”
“If somebody sees you walking down the side of the road, they’ll stop and say ‘what you need?’ or if anything’s wrong, they’ll fix you up,” King says.
Of course, small town life also supplied ample time for crazy antics. King reveals one of his wildest moments, “I drove my dad’s bronco through my mama’s convenience store. I didn’t know it was a five speed. I turned the key, and the whole damn bronco went through the two double doors in the front. That was probably my worst whoopin,’ too.”
Likewise, Sharpe shares a moment from his youth, “I used to break into people’s hog pens just to ride their hogs. For some reason, I liked riding hogs when I was young.”
With the new project (out Aug. 20), they concede that simply “making music” is inspiration enough to keep them motivated. “It was just the normal things,” King notes about “Keep It Redneck.” “We are inspired because we love it. We love everyday of making music. That’s inspiring enough.”
On particular influences, Sharpe says, “I think a lot of influence on this record [comes] from being on the road so much writing it. We have some homesick songs on there. We had it on our first two [albums], but that was definitely the biggest influence on this one.”
Going from boisterous chorus on one song (the title track) to more intimate sentiments (“Kick Dust”), there is plenty of diversity to appease every type of fan. “It’s good to have all the party songs and drinking songs, but at the end of the day, country music was founded on the blues and breakup songs. You have to make sure you have a few of those on [there, too,] if you call yourself any kind of country artist,” Sharpe asserts, quite frankly.
On “Kick Dust,” friend and engineer Noah Gordon lends his voice to the track. “It was just one of those days where we were on a long trip, and we were ready to get back home,” he says. “Somehow the concept came up, and Noah got in there and sang it. We thought it was perfect.”
Another of the album’s more emotional moments is “Make Things Right,” a song inspired by real life. “That seems to be a lot of the girls’ favorite one. It’s just your typical breakup song. Everybody’s had breakups. We put ours on paper. I think that’s just one broad subject that everybody has been through before, and that’s why people like it.”
“It might not have been one particular situation [that inspired it] but it might have been a couple breakups. It’s definitely inspired by real life.”
If the duo were to suggest a song to listen to first on the new album, King points to “Field Party.” He says, “It explains how we like to party and listen to music and hang out with friends.”
Throughout the record, King and Sharpe also include two skits, “Great Moments In Redneck History” and “Rusty’s Junk Shack.” Sharpe explains the reasoning behind the tracks:
“Great Moments in Redneck History” is something we’ve done every album. How that came about was we started thinking about inventions. You can look up on Google and see who invented [something], but whoever invented it was inspired by somebody else’s half-way rigged idea. We thought some good ole boy redneck had to come up with some stuff like that. We kind of put our own twist on it and how things were invented. That’s how we came up with [that one]. “Rusty’s Junk Shack” came from a real radio station down here by the house. They do what they call “Dixie’s Flea Market” on the air everyday. We tune in just to hear people call in and talk about what they found on sale.
While the two tracks serve a comedic purpose, you’ll never find the duo doing standup any time soon. Laughing, Sharpe says, “I don’t think we could ever entertain a crowd for an hour and 30 minutes and stand there.”
Amidst the album release, King and Sharpe also wrote the theme song for Animal Planet’s upcoming reality show “Mud Lovin’ Rednecks,” set to premiere Aug. 27. “We loved the show’s title, and we watched a couple clips of it and fell in love with it. It was a win-win for us,” Sharpe notes on deciding to take on the venture.
On penning the theme song, he adds, “There were certain things we had to say in that song. You definitely want to mention the whole cast’s names, but other than that, [it’s] such a broad topic. It came natural.”
Fans will be happy to know that appearing on the reality show might be in the band’s future. Sharpe says, “We’ve been approached a couple times about reality shows. We just haven’t heard the right fit, I guess you could say. We’ve [definitely] talks about being a guest star on this show.”
With modern country music coming under fire for being “too pop” and “too hip-hop,” criticisms don’t phase them much. Sharpe details, “People get thrown off by the rapping we do, but I usually tell people “it’s all about your delivery. If we delivered it a different way, it would be traditional country.” Then, I tell them, “Johnny Cash had a song called ‘I’ve Been Everywhere,’ where he pretty much rapped the whole song.” There are still words of that song that I don’t even know. When I tell them like that. “Charlie Daniels was rapping when he did ‘Devil Went Down to Georgia.’” When I explain it like that, they get where we’re coming from. Then I tell them, “we don’t sing all that good, that’s why we rap in the first place.” [laughs]
“We’re just country boys who love to entertain,” he adds.
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