WANT TO GO?
Fifth on the Floor
With Sasha Colette and the Magnolias
WHERE: The Empty Glass, 410 Elizabeth St.
WHEN: 10 p.m. Friday
COVER: $5 before 11 p.m., $7 after
INFO: 304-345-3914 or www.emptyglass.comCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It takes more than conjuring up the right accent and raising the right beer to create music that's real country. Ask Justin Wells, frontman for Kentucky-based alternative country/Southern rockers Fifth on the Floor and he'll tell you sometimes all it takes to get country cred these days is to "mention Johnny Cash, say something about Budweiser and talk bad about Yankees and that makes you a Southerner."
Wells, whose band returns to The Empty Glass on Friday night, thinks it takes a lot more than that.
"Southern is about culture and history," he said. "These days it's been turned into some kind of cartoon joke. You've got guys who are not even from the South, throwing on a Southern accent, making a country album and selling millions."
Wells said he doesn't exactly see Fifth on the Floor as country music, just a band with some very clear country sensibilities and musical roots. "We're just one of those bands that wears its influences blatantly on its sleeve."
Fifth on the Floor write songs about broken hearts, drinking too much, hard luck and wanting to do right.
"We're a lot about justice," he said. "Everything from the maybe outdated Southern vigilante style of justice to other kinds of justice."
It's what they've seen and what they've experienced. A few months ago, Wells got locked up for a DUI in northern Louisiana.
"I was playing out solo, picking with some friends, and they promised there'd be a [designated] driver," he said.
But everyone got drunk. Wells said he thought he was good enough to drive and offered to get them home.
"There was a split highway with one road going one way and another road going the other. A big median was in the middle," he explained.