Fronted by singer/songwriter and guitarist Darren Hodson, The Southern Companion is the pseudonym for a collective of some of the UK’s most passionate and talented musicians in their genre. They just released their new album, Shine A Little Light via Eleven33 Records, and spoke with The Fountain about the new record and what inspired the name, The Southern Companion.

TF: A new LP, how exciting, what can we expect from the record? 

Yes, I’m really proud of this record, I honestly believe it’s the best work I’ve ever done and I couldn’t be happier with it, for many reasons but mainly because it sounds “like us”. Somewhere in-between Country and Americana with a British accent, a love child of dual Nationality, Anglo-American heritage dressed in Country colours. It’s self-funded, self-produced and as it turns out self-released without any outside help, interference or influence.

Just me, my right hand man Mr Simon Johnson in the Producers chair and the rest of my kick ass band making the music we love, and a lot of love, time and attention has been put into the writing and recording of this record.

TF: You’ve titled it Shine A Little Light, only a little one?

Well, I guess the sentiment is I think everyone should Shine a Little Light for those around them and in turn could use a little light, love and guidance in return, I think a lot of us are struggling along alone and feel a bit lost. 

TF: You are known as the Southern Companion, what inspired that name?  

When I was finishing up the first album I knew I didn’t want to just put it out as a “Darren Hodson” record, I wanted a band / artist name. I liked the idea of “Southern” something as I’m from the South Coast and so I was coming up with a few different names, I’ve always thought of my favourite music as being a companion and when I first wrote “Southern Companion” on the page it just felt right. A few weeks after the album came out I realised that it was also maybe a sub concious nod to one of my favourite albums when I was growing up, The Southern Harmony & Musical Companion by The Black Crowes.

TF: Are you scheduled to perform the LP anytime soon? 

Yes we’ll be performing most of, if not all of the new album as well as our favourite songs off the first two records on our upcoming tour which starts on Feb 20th at The Thomas Tripp in Christchurch, Dorset and winds up on March 4th at The Hawth in Crawley.  

TF: What has been your favourite gig to date?

Favourite show to date would probably be.. with the full band at The Boisdale last year for Countryline & Under The Apple Tree, the gig itself was nothing spectacular but we’d had a little run of shows and the band was as tight as it’s ever been, the boys just played out of their skin and it was as if we could do no wrong, the pocket was so deep I could lean into it and it was like having a musical safety net, we were on fire that night. 

As a solo acoustic show I’d have to say The City Winery in Nashville, for some reason I had a rare moment of calmness and clarity, I should’ve been a bag of nerves as it wasn’t my crowd and it was my first time playing over there but the reaction was unreal and I simply loved every second of it.