Barry County's new rising stars
Point South, a southern rock band from Exeter, has reached a pivotal point in its career by topping the music charts at several Kansas City, Texas and Oklahoma radio stations.
"Point South is featured on our station (TOSSM Music) and have been getting tremendous amounts of requests," said Philip Corder, of TOSSM Music. "Last month, they reached number one for a couple of weeks and they currently are in the top 20."
"I think Point South will hit the Texas and Red Dirt music scene hard soon," said Corder. "They will be getting booked all over Oklahoma and Texas."
Fans need only spend a few minutes listening to Point South's music to realize the potential of the young band members.
From the big brother authoritative attitude of Cody Ennis, vocals and harmonic, to the soft spoken, quiet creativity of his brother Aaron Ennis, lead vocals and rhythm guitar, the band members complement each other in a harmonious fashion.
Jeff Luney, lead guitar and vocals, Paul Pyles, percussion, and Gary Mitchell, bass guitar, complete the band with their own individual personalities and musical talents.
"We're all friends," said Cody. "We feel like family. Our friendship and the music walk hand in hand in this band."
Point South began a little over a year ago when Cody and Paul joined Jeff for an impromptu practice session. The next day, Aaron joined the group and the four have been together since.
"Gary learned the bass five seconds before he started and he was really good and we don't know why," said Cody.
Gary joined the band last May as bass guitarist. Even though he learned the bass around eight months ago, Gary has been playing music for over 13 years.
"I think we've all just always been playing music," said Aaron.
Numerous years of musical experience have led to the band's recent transition to self-written music.
"We didn't used to be that serious, but we're now trying to work on our own stuff," said Cody. "We have around 12 songs besides the five on the demo."
Although Point South credits their music to the entire band, Gary and Aaron wrote the five songs on the band's first CD, which is entitled Leaving to Come Back.
"Aaron or Gary have an idea that they put on the table at practice and we sit around with acoustics adding our own thoughts," said Jeff.
Point South's song ideas generally come from life experience, said Aaron.
"We try to write things people can connect with," said Aaron, "but ultimately we're just going to play it the way we play it and other people will connect with it."
Cody compares most of their song ideas to short stories and says he doesn't believe the audience is a concern when they are putting together a piece of music.
"When we hear it, we will know if it's good music and we think other people will also," said Paul.
Point South's favorite self-written songs are "One Dollar" and the title song "Leaving to Come Back."
"They are both upbeat songs about our lives, our music and where we want to go," said Gary.
Other tracks on the demo CD include: "Sweet Angel Eyes" and "I Hope You See," which the band members consider love songs.
Receiving inspiration from southern and classic rock bands like Lynard Skynard, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, the Eagles and Nirvana, the band members strive to reach the Red Dirt, Texas and Oklahoma music scene.
Paul's personal interest in modern alternative rock groups like Third Eye Blind, Sublime, 311 and Match Box 20 is also subtly apparent in Point South's music, giving the band a sound all its own.
"We're trying to travel now," said Jeff. "We have a show coming up in Oklahoma in two weeks with Badwater."
Later this year, Point South will open for Cross Canadian Ragweed of Oklahoma. Between big shows, the band continues to offer local performances at clubs and restaurants across Barry County.
As Point South moves through its music career, the band members have vowed to remain together on their musical journey.
"We want to go as a band," said Cody. "That's what makes our music so good."
Currently, songs from their Leaving to Come Back, which was recorded at McCready Recording Studios in Seneca, have played on several Kansas City and Texas radio stations and Internet-based southern rock stations.
When asked what keeps the band moving forward, lead singer Aaron offered one quick, truthful word: "passion."
"The pure joy of playing music," said Aaron. "There's nothing else I want to be doing. That's the truth."
Jeff adds that the support of family, friends and fans also keep the band going.
"This is the only thing I've ever wanted to do," said Gary. "It gives me the satisfaction of being where I want to be at that moment."
"We get into tiffs, but that's what friends do," said Paul. "It's awesome to be doing something that so many people want to be doing."
The band members admit that a year's worth of experience has taught them a lot about the music business in general.
"There's a lot more work in music then I thought at first," said Jeff.
"There's things that we've had to work on that we didn't think about, like stage presence and energy," said Aaron. "We are trying to make each other sound as good as we can."
The members learn the most from crowd reaction and music veterans who they have personal contacts with.
"The best advice I've been given was from Mike Kennedy, who said 'just get up there and play,'" said Aaron.
With a year of experience under their belts, the members are now able to offer their own advice to other local bands.
"Just don't give up," said Jeff, "because it isn't easy."
"Make sure you are with the right people and practice, practice, practice," said Aaron. "Your weekend life is pretty much gone, but you will gain a lot of fans, friends and experience."
Point South's next local concert will be held at Short Stop Bar in Monett at 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10. Fans can visit the band website for free music downloads, photos and more at www.myspace.com/pointsouth.
Although Leaving to Come Back is currently sold out, the band hopes to have more CDs in stock at Fastrip in Cassville in three weeks.
Point South thanks Tanny and Michael Liehman, Mike and Cindy Carr, Mike Riehn, Burl Mitchell, Gary Fields, Flo Ennis, the fans who purchased CDs and their families for moral and financial support.
All Point South band members are graduates of Barry County schools. Cody, Aaron, Gary and Paul graduated from Exeter between 2001 and 2003 and Jeff graduated from Cassville in 2004.