Wedding Bands: It’s not just about swing anymore

So, you’ve picked a date, you’ve picked a church (or hotel or farm, etc.). Now, you need to pick your band. If you’re going traditional, your reception will probably have a dance floor, and the bride and groom are probably already taking ballroom dancing lessons. Many brides want a band with a strong horn section for those Sinatra classics that lend themselves to couples dancing.

But what if your wedding has veered off the beaten track? Southern Sirens is a female Americana band that caters to people who want their wedding more rustic than Redken.

“We get booked for a lot of outdoor ‘country’ type weddings because of our instrumentation even though we play a lot of pop and contemporary music. Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, that type stuff. We did get a request for Jim James once, so we do just about anything,” says Anna Blanton, who, along with Emmy Bodner and Madison Cunningham, sings with Southern Sirens.

Photo by Little Rex Photography

Southern Sirens. Photo by Little Rex Photography

Their sound features fiddle, acoustic guitar, cajon and drum kit. “Sometimes we might bring out a mandolin or ukulele,” says Blanton.

Southern Sirens plays for weddings and receptions. “We aren’t a party band, so we normally provide ambient background music when needed. We perform usually as an acoustic three piece for these events, but we do occasionally perform as a full four to five piece electric band. It all depends really on what the bride and groom are looking for,” Blanton explains.

All three band members have played in male-dominated bands in the past. Then, one propitious night, they had a ladies-only jam session and posted a recording of their cover of “I’ll Fly Away” on YouTube.

“Next thing we knew, people were asking us to play gigs, so we ended up forming our all female band. That song currently has over 16,000 listens on SoundCloud,” Blanton says. Visit southernsirensmusic.com for more information.

Tony and the Tan Lines. Courtesy photo.

Tony and the Tan Lines. Courtesy photo.

On the opposite end of the spectrum (maybe, depending on what your spectrum looks like), there’s Tony and the Tan Lines who cover Hall & Oates, Steely Dan, Gloria Estefan and Huey Lewis whilst wearing the pinks and hot floral colors of the 1980s television series “Miami Vice.”

“Just to look at it is kind of a piece of art in itself,” the band’s co-founder Justin Shaw.

The yacht rock band, specializing in a throwback Miami look and sound, caters to couples that want the unconventional.

“We’re not really a wedding band. We’re more of a party band. You have to know what you’re getting into when you hire us. We don’t usually play the traditional wedding songs,” says Shaw.

Shaw’s band recently performed at the wedding of a friend, which took place outdoors at Mockingbird Valley. The band played a few notes and “everybody got off their feet [to dance] and did not sit back down for about two hours,” Shaw explains. “We don’t want anyone to ever leave the dance floor.” Visit tonyandthetanlines.com for more information. VT


And here’s a quick round up of other bands that do weddings among other things. We can’t promise that there’s a band here for every wedding from Wiccan to Star Trek, but these bands will appeal to many who don’t want to go the traditional route:

Vintage Voodoo
Fans of southern rock rejoice; southern rock band Vintage Voodoo is available for weddings up to 10 miles outside Louisville. If you fell in love while four wheeling through the foothills or dancing at a road house or if you are marrying in a log cabin, contact Vintage Voodoo to provide the musical backdrop to your wedding. Visit reverbnation.com/vintagevoodoo for more information.

Conch Republic
Not sure where you’re going to find a beach to get married at near Louisville, but if you have your heart set on a beach wedding, Conch Republic, the specialists in beach music, are your band. According to their gigmaster.com blurb, Conch Republic will travel 500 miles from their Lexington base, which will not get you either to the Atlantic or the Pacific but will let you bring the ambiance of the beach to your Louisville reception hall. Celebrate your love to the tunes of Jimmy Buffet, The Beach Boys and Bob Marley. Conch Republic is the go-to band if your reception features a limbo contest. Visit conchrepublicband.com for more information.

Gravel Switch
Why should hard rockers settle for elevator music at their wedding? Kentucky-bred Gravel Switch plays hard rock; it’s not head-bangingly hard, but it’ll certainly get the crowd on its feet. If you need thumping bass lines, crashing cymbals and guitar riffs at your wedding, this is the band for you. They will travel up to 10 miles outside Louisville. Visit facebook.com/gravelswitchband for more information.