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Soul Circus Cowboys

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A country band steeped in the sound and attitude of Southern rock, the Soul Circus Cowboys were formed in Tampa, Florida by songwriter and vocalist Billy McKnight. McKnight had pursued a solo career before forming the group, having released a solo album in 2007, and had received some press notice for his tempestuous relationship with country singer Mindy McCready. But in 2009, McKnight set out on a new creative path, and teamed up with guitarist Stephen Haendiges, bassist and backing vocalist Mike Bach, and drummer Jason Alfano. McKnight was friends with fellow Floridian Henry Paul, who had worked with Southern rock hitmakers the Outlaws and later with the popular country band BlackHawk. McKnight and Paul became songwriting partners, and when McKnight returned to Tampa after visiting Paul in his new home in Nashville, he and the Soul Circus Cowboys began putting their own spin on their new material. The Soul Circus Cowboys developed a following the old-fashioned way by touring extensively through the South, and in 2011 the group released its first album, Love Is Like a Rodeo. In 2014, the band had released a second album, That's the Way We Roll, and added a second guitarist, Terry Cole. In 2015, the Soul Circus Cowboys cut a single, "Gotta Get Me One of Them," and the lineup shifted once again, with Terry Cole and Stephen Haendiges out of the group and Rick Morgan in as the band's guitar man. In 2016, the Soul Circus Cowboys dropped their third full-length album, Tailgate Country. ~ Mark Deming


2009 in Tampa, FL

Years Active:

'00s, '10s