“If you need to visualize the soul, think of it as a kind of train. Yes, a long, lonesome freight train rumbling from generation to generation on an eternally rainy morning: its boxcars are loaded with sighs and laughter, its hobos are angels, its engineer is the queen of spades – and the queen is wild. Whoo-whoo! Hear that epiphanic whistle blow. The train’s destination is the godhead, but it stops at the Big Bang, at the orgasm, and at the hole in the fence that the red fox sneaks through down behind the barn. It’s simultaneously a local and an express, but it doesn’t transport weaponry, and it certainly ain’t no milk run.” — Tom Robbins, Villa Incognito
Sol Driven Train’s music weaves through genres like images in a Tom Robbins paragraph. The band’s playful sonic schizophrenia absorbs songwriting influences like John Prine and Paul Simon, Afro-caribbean rhythmic explorations, and funky New Orleans-style brass into earnest songs of life, love, loss, and long johns. The versatile 5-piece band, based in Charleston, SC, features rotating lead vocalists, and multi-instrumental talent spread across horns, strings, keyboards, and percussion. Combining rich varieties of American pop and folk music into their own brass-kickin’ roots rock sound, Sol Driven Train has carved out a unique musical identity within the Jam and Americana music scene.
Sol Driven Train’s sound has helped shape their hometown’s musical identity for more than a decade. It’s soulful and rich like Charleston’s food, approachable like its people, rooted in history like its architecture, and as diverse as you’d expect from a city that, for instance, has a Prius-driving Democrat for a mayor in one of the country’s reddest states. During the spring of 2000, a close circle of friends began gathering in college apartments downtown Charleston to create sound and share in the fun and cathartic joy of music. Through the course of nearly 18 years and over 1,500 live shows, this same spirit still guides Sol Driven Train through the rocky road of the music industry. The venues have grown from bedrooms to festival stages, the amps have gotten louder, the lineup has evolved, and the crowds have multiplied, but the sense of brotherhood, mutual support, and creative independence within the band has strengthened. Along the way, the band has performed alongside their musical heroes, sharing stages with greats such as Bruce Hornsby, Levon Helm, Michael Franti, and Blues Traveler.