By Katie Marsh
Country music tends to be divided into two camps: classic country and pop country. Surry Line embraces the former. With original songs reminiscent of country’s greatest classics, it’s little wonder that this local group has quickly established a strong following with their unique Americana sound. Based in Pinnacle, Surry Line began in early 2014 and released their first album within a few months. The self-titled, “Surry Line,” includes twelve original titles, though the group often performs covers when performing live – including Elvis, Johnny Cash, CCR, Eagles, and more.
The group began with Michael Motley and Nick McMillian and over time, they were joined by Rodney Hodges, Bill Imus, and Wayne Heidel.
Michael Motley serves as lead vocalist, and also plays guitar. He is the group’s songwriter and has over 300 songs in his personal catalog of songs. This musician is multi-faceted with the ability to play electric bass, stand-up bass and drums. But he began his musical journey 18 years ago with the banjo, ultimately winning awards and distinctions at regional old-time and bluegrass fiddlers conventions. By day, Michael works as a stylist at JWest Salon, but also owns Rockside Recording Studio.
Lead guitarist Nick McMillian keeps the melodies going, also offering his own vocals to the group. In addition to his talents on the guitar (an enviable 1958 Gretsch Anniversary), Nick is a highly accomplished musician. An 8th generation fiddle player, Nick holds the distinction of winning both the Mount Airy and Galax Fiddlers Conventions in 2010. He played professionally with his father, touring around the country at various festivals and events.
Michael and Nick are joined by Rodney Hodges. Rodney has also been recognized for his talents, specifically the mandolin. When he stopped by to visit his old friend, Nick, and was invited to join in on an impromptu jam session, the rest became history. By day, Rodney is a truck driver, but it’s music that really moves him. He has been playing for over 30 years, and the mandolin adds a distinctive sound to Surry Line’s repertoire of songs.
Formerly a drummer, Bill Imus made the switch to another form of percussion – the electric bass. He loves all types of music, especially New Orleans jazz and blues. Bill has recently fallen in love with country music and is excited about his role with Surry Line. Some may recognize Bill as the former owner of the Cumberland Café, and along with his wife, Margie, Bill spends his days providing organic produce to many local restaurants from his farm, The Minglewood Farm and Nature Preserve.
The newest edition to Surry Line is Wayne Heidel. Wayne has been playing the drums for over 30 years, and recently moved to Winston-Salem from Cincinnati, OH. While Wayne’s background is primarily that of heavy metal and hard rock, he decided to make the change to old-school country. As the drummer is known to be the backbone of the group, Wayne has accepted his role and new genre with enthusiasm.
Collectively, these men represent over 125 years of musical experience, as well as a broad range of musical diversity. Their combined talents, along with their love for music, is what sets them apart and gives them their distinctive sound that their fans have come to love and expect!
Surry Line has several shows scheduled for early 2016, including a performance at Mac & Nelli’s on January 30th. Johnny Cash fans will be excited to know that Surry Line will be participating in Cash Bash on February 26th at The Garage. Full details can be found on their Facebook page.
Visit SurryLine.com to learn more about the group, as well as upcoming shows. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Surry Line can also be found on Pandora Radio as well as ReverbNation. If you’re interested in booking Surry Line for your next event, please email SurryLine@Yahoo.com or call 336.341.2009.