Interviews Piedmont-Boys-Slide(lead)

Published on June 4th, 2013 | by Ballard Lesemann


The Punch List with Piedmont Boys Frontman Greg Payne

Metronome Charleston‘s weekly Punch List puts local musicians on the spot with a questionnaire that touches on music, venues, gear, records, vices, and more. This week, Piedmont Boys frontman Greg Payne — a musician based in Greenville who regularly performs in the Lowcountry — gives it what he’s got.

1. What is your favorite local hang?
“My favorite hangout in the Charleston area is the Windjammer on the Isle of Palms. Just don’t let [bartender] Brett Jones cook the okra because he always burns it.”

2. You know you’ve played an excellent show when…
“When I can remember it! Just joking. Our fans have a habit of bringing Jägerbombs to the stage, and we like to party with them so we partake. All kidding aside, we know it’s a good show when we are feeding off the crowd. When you see their faces, and they’re smiling and dancing and singing our songs, that’s when we know we’ve done good.”

3. What was the last show you attended that really got you fired up in a good or bad way?
“Last show that really fired me up was Shooter Jennings. We opened up for him in Greenville and then watched him play. He played well, but it was just cool to meet Waylon Jennings’ son.”

4. Define your musical style in exactly 10 words.
“Southern blue-collar, whiskey-drenched, nonpolitically correct, foot-stomping music.”


Good luck: Greg Payne (center) and the Piedmont Boys

5. What’s your theme song?
“It changes around, but right now it’s ‘Outlaw You’ by Shooter Jennings. I’m not a fan of today’s country music that’s being played on mainstream radio, and American Idol and The Voice really irritates me. Win a contest and you’re a superstar? I don’t buy into that. I would love to see someone like Scotty McCreery [from the 10th season of Idol] play the dive bar circuit we’ve played over the past seven years. I bet he wouldn’t last six months. ‘Outlaw You’ describes my frustrations perfectly.”

6. Gear-wise, what’s is your irreplaceable baby?
“I have a 1969 Gibson Dove [a flattop steel-string guitar] that my father gave me that is irreplaceable. It stays home!”

7. What’s the most overplayed album in your collection?
“Charlie Robison’s Beautiful Day [2009]. Great lyrics, great tunes, and just all-around good songs from start to finish. I could listen to it over and over.”

8. When was the last time you were genuinely star-struck?
“Probably when we opened for Gretchen Wilson at a rodeo in Oregon. After our show, she came running at me and complimented me on our sound. I wasn’t expecting to meet her, so it caught me off guard. After her performance, she invited us back to her bus to drink Jack Daniels. She was really cool to us, and I’ll always remember her hospitality. And she is very hot in person, and it made me stutter a little bit.”

9. What’s your poison?
“My poisons are alcohol and women. They both make me very happy.”

10. In 10 years, I will be…
“In 10 years, I will still be playing music, God willing, and still traveling around, meeting awesome people and seeing awesome things. I’m also planning on winning the Powerball, so I will be driving a new truck.”

Singer, guitarist, and Greenville native Greg Payne started strumming and writing country tunes after a brief stint in the baseball and football minor leagues. He formed the Greenville-based Piedmont Boys as a duo a few years ago, but it quickly blossomed into a full-on country-rock band. The current lineup features lead guitarist Adam Whitehead, bassist Chief Spires, drummer John Taylor, and fiddle player Matt Parks handling a mix of Western swing, blues, country, bluegrass, and vintage rock ‘n’ roll. The band releases its third album, All on Red, last summer. They tracked the collection of originals at Mill Street Recordings in Inman, S.C., with producer Tim Lawter (formerly of the Marshall Tucker Band).

Look for the Piedmont boys at the Windjammer on the IOP on Sat, June 8 at 9 p.m. Hidden Still opens the show. Admission is $10. Visit and for more.



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About the Author

Ballard Lesemann

is a musician and writer. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., he spent years playing in bands and working for Flagpole Magazine in the bustling music town of Athens, Ga. He returned to his hometown and served more than seven years as the Charleston City Paper's music editor. He's better at drumming than he is at playing guitar.

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