Anyone who is a connoisseur of rock music knows of the Van Zant family from Jacksonville, Florida. Known as the “First family of southern rock”, the family founded three major bands: Lynyrd Skynyrd, 38 Special, and the Johnny Van Zant band. Now there is yet another band born into the “first family”: Shanytown from Jacksonville, Florida. And the Van Zant legacy continues . . .
Shanytown is comprised in part of brothers ROBBIE MORRIS (Drums) and RONNIE MORRIS (lead vox/guitar), nephews of the late Ronnie Van Zant, Donnie and Johnny Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 38 Special, and The Johnny Van Zant Band.
Robbie’s musical roots are deep and as fine as his uncles’, and like his uncles he’s the real deal. Robbie learned drums at age ten and began his professional career at age fourteen when he and his uncle Johnny founded the “Austin Nichols” band which segued into the “Johnny Van Zant Band”. Together they made six albums and toured for years with bands such as Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, ZZTop, Journey, AC/DC, Bob Seger, Peter Frampton, to name a few, until Johnny joined Lynyrd Skynyrd as frontman. Robbie is an acclaimed drummer both in the states and Europe and played with several bands until Shanytown was established. He retains a worldwide following from his days with the Johnny Van Zant Band, and now with Shanytown. It is said that a band is only as good as the drummer, and Shanytown claims one of the foremost drummers in the industry.
Ronnie Morris is highly experienced having begun his musical career as lead vox and guitar as a teenager; his uncle Ronnie presented him with his first guitar at age eight. He helmed several bands throughout his career before becoming an original member of Shanytown. He was named after his uncle Ronnie and nicknamed “Lil” Ronnie by the family. Many say that Ronnie’s voice and stage presence reminds them of his uncle Ronnie; if so, it is not intentional… it’s just who he is…a Van Zant.
Kevin Williams–Lead guitar (original member.) is well-known for his smokin’ drivin’ leads that leave the audience breathless. He played with a number of Florida bands before becoming an original member of Shanytown.
Jerry Carr–Bass. Florida’s premier Bass player. A Fan recently said that a good bass player and drummer fit together like soup and a sandwich. That being absolutely true, Jerry and Robbie not only offer soup and a sandwich but an entire gourmet meal along with Kevin n Ronnie. Jerry and Lil Ronnie played together in the Florida band “Single Handed” in their younger days. Jerry most recently was a member of “Sunset Circus” from Jacksonville, Fl.
Duane Johnson –Guitar/vocals has been a friend of Robbie and Ronnie since they were teenagers, and has been playing guitar for just as long. At one time, Jerry, Robbie, Ronnie and Duane comprised the band Single Handed. Duane also played with Confederate Outlaw for many years.
Shanytown carries on the Van Zant family tradition of musical excellence forging a new path with their own style that rivets audiences. Shanytown cannot be pigeonholed as “Southern Rock”, “Rock”, or “Country”, even though they incorporate all the genres. Shanytown melds the genres into its own unique sound that brings something to everyone, whether they are fans of country, rock, or southern rock.
Shanytown enjoys radio play in the United States and across the globe from Japan to France, Australia to the UK and all points in-between, and enjoys consistently strong global CD sales.
Shanytown fans are as diverse as their radio play, hailing from Hong Kong to Thailand, South Africa, Australia, Indonesia, Romania, France, England, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Mexico –even Tanzania, and the list goes on and on…