Kid, Skynyrd Team Newest in Southern Rock

Kid Rock teams with Lynyrd Skynyrd to be next big thing in Southern rock.

Aug. 22, 2008 — -- Southern rock is a musical genre based heavily on a combination of rock 'n' roll, blues and Tennessee whiskey. The amount of each ingredient varies.

Head to many rural bars south of the Mason-Dixon Line and you'll be hard-pressed to avoid hearing the twang of the acoustic guitar, the bluesy riffs of the electric and powerful Southern-accented vocals providing testament to the simplicity of life in the country.

While the genre saw its height of popularity in the 1970s, America has seen a resurgence of Southern rock in the last few years. Let's take a look at the bands that have brought the genre back, as well as those responsible for its inception.

Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd will be performing on "Good Morning America" today.

Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd

Kid Rock made his leap into superstardom from the springboard of proud trailer trash metal rap and explosive energy. But soon, Kid transformed his sound, using his 2001 album "Cocky" as a transition into the world of Southern rock.

Despite growing up in the Detroit area, Kid had his Southern credentials stamped when he teamed up with legendary Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd this year to release "All Summer Long," a Southern rock ballad that Rolling Stone called a "monster hit."

Sampling perhaps the most famous riff in all of Southern rock, a hook from Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," the Rock-Skynyrd collaboration gave summer lovers of 2008 an undeniable anthem.

"All Summer Long" has also rejuvenated the Lynyrd Skynyrd fan base, which was receding, but never dead. "Free Bird," another Skynyrd classic, has been requested by audiences of bands of all genres so often that it has become a pop culture joke.

Currently, Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd are on tour to promote "All Summer Long" as well as please longtime fans with the songs that made each act a hit.

The Allman Brothers

Credited with being the first great Southern rock band, the Allman Brothers came together in Macon, Ga., in 1968. With intense blues and soul influences, the band produced what Rolling Stone called an "unprecedented sound: a searching, polyrhythmic extension of rock."

But the sound was not quite Southern rock, not at first, at least.

In the early '70s the band lost two crucial members. First, Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident. And a little more than a year later, bassist Berry Oakley was also killed in an accident.

Rather than call it quits, the Allman Brothers added pianist Chuck Leavell and pushed its music more toward a country sound. The result? The Allman Brothers became the first masters of a new genre called Southern rock.

The band rode wave upon wave of success until the fire of creativity and creation seemed to putter out and the band broke up in the '80s.

Less than a decade later, though, the Allman Brothers reunited and continued producing albums throughout the '90s and into the new millennium.

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Using blues masters like Otis Rush and Muddy Waters, and rock legends like Jimi Hendrix as inspiration, Stevie Ray Vaughan was integral in inspiring the rock/blues revival of the '80s.

Out of Dallas, Vaughan caught the attention of then-superstar David Bowie, who invited Vaughan to play on his album "Let's Dance" in 1982.

Vaughan's debut album, "Texas Flood," was released in 1983 and was, as VH1 called it, a "blockbuster blues success."

Despite a dive into alcoholism in the mid-1980s according to VH1, the blues rocker continued to produce impressive music, including the album "In Step," which nabbed him a Grammy for best contemporary blues recording.

Vaughan's soaring career and life ended abruptly in 1990, when after a concert in Wisconsin, he boarded a Chicago-bound helicopter that crashed. At the age of 35, Vaughan was killed along with four other passengers.

Charlie Daniels Band

To the uninitiated, leading a rock 'n' roll band featuring a fiddler would seem curious at best. But this is Southern rock. And as the Charlie Daniels Band has proved, rocking with a fiddle is as easy as rocking with an electric guitar as long as you've got enormous talent and a charming, solid image.

Not only was the Charlie Daniels Band known for its music, but for its "good ol' boy" attitude -- two factors that led VH1 to call the band "a virtual symbol of conservative country values."

Taking heavy cues from the Allman Brothers, Charlie Daniels formed his band in the early '70s and pursued that Southern rock tradition.

Then, when Daniels decided the audience for Southern rock was drying up toward the beginning of the '80s, the band took a more country-oriented direction.

In 1979, the band had an enormous hit in "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." The Country Music Association called it the Single of the Year.

Since then, Daniels has done several crossovers from country to Southern rock, but has not been able to equal the success of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."

Hank Williams Jr.

It may have taken a little while for Hank Williams Jr. to distance his sound from his country legend father, but once he did, Hank Williams Jr. certainly made a name for himself.

Adding distinct rock 'n' roll influences to his father's famous country roots, in the late '70s Williams hit a gold streak of Top 10 singles that lasted into the late '80s.

As his popularity and patriotic sentiments grew -- he wrote a pro-Gulf War country rock ballad in 1991 -- Williams became an American icon.