A first for a five-man country band from South Carolina, it’s a crush called “Moonlight” and a it’s a No. 1 single.
Outshyne recently snagged the spotlight to shine on Sirius XM’s hit-launching channel The Highway with “Moonlight Crush.”
The song was co-written by Marv Green, Blake Wise and Rodney Clawson.
Clawson, 2013 BMI songwriter of the year, has written hits for the likes of Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line, “who once opened for us before they hit it big,” said Waylon Owings, lead singer and guitarist for Outshyne.
“It’s awesome and overwhelming,” said Owings. “We’re so appreciative to our fans, they’re the reason we are who we are.”
And they are: Owings, Matthew “Smiley” Norris, Josh Coleman, Jason Paxton and Casey Joe Kelly.
“We’re all from Laurens, South Carolina, except for Casey Joe Kelly and he’s the odd man out from the next county over, Anderson,” said Owings.
According to their biography, an early Outshyne single was written by the then-unknown Florida Georgia Line.
“They opened for us right before they signed their deal,” said Coleman, lead guitarist and vocals. “They played for like 10 people. I felt bad.”
Outshyne’s next single, “Night With Your Name On It,” was written by the band’s good friend Thomas Archer with Cole Swindell and Adam Sanders.
And then came “Moonlight Crush.”
Currently, “Moonlight Crush” is selling in excess of 5,000 downloads a week “with the popular single selling more than 78,000 to date,” according to a press release which also stated there have been more than 238,000 combined views on YouTube of the video, too. Watch it here.
Not too shabby for a band that almost wasn’t.
The launch of Outshyne was “almost unintentional.”
“We had a rock band for a while, but I was growing away from that style of music,” said Owings. “I started playing acoustic stuff, writing songs and playing at parties. I was talking about moving to Nashville to be a songwriter, and my buddy Jason was like, ‘Let’s just start a country band.’ I didn’t want to unless we could find a good guitar player, and Josh was the first guy that came to mind. We grew up with him.”
“I love country, bluegrass, Southern rock and enjoyed playing in rock bands, but my heart was in country,” said Josh Coleman, who plays lead guitar.
“Plus, when you start getting out of your teens, your musical tastes change. You can relate more to a country song than you can a rock song about being mad at your parents. My brother called to say Jason(Paxton) is looking for you. Next thing I know, we’re jamming at Smiley’s house.”
“Smiley never listened to country a day in his life,” said bass player Paxton.
Norris though, wouldn’t say it wasn’t so.
“My dad was an R&B guy. I didn’t think it was ever going to be anything serious when we started playing. It was just for fun.”
All that “fun just for fun” eventually turned into touting a faithful fan base along with endless requests from clubs who wanted to book them.
Their first show, a fundraiser for a friend, paved the way as they were playing to raise money for a hometown girl who was paralyzed.
Coleman explained that after the show “everybody liked us” and “it just kind of took off.”
“We always wondered how long it would take to go from bar gigs where the crowd is just doing their thing and not paying attention, to having a crowds that actually showed up to see us,” Owings said.
Turns out nice guys don’t always finish last.
“We’re nice guys. We want to meet people and make friends and we always try to return messages (via social media),” said Owings.
Before long they were touring regularly, which eventually moved them to ditch the day jobs for a full-time tour schedule that was beginning to conflict with the normal 9 to 5.
“We weren’t sleeping and we all felt like death. We just decided to go all-in, quit our jobs and be more than a local band doing weekend shows,” said Coleman.
A win-win for both fans and the band, the new schedule made for more time “to be who we are,” said Owings. “We love meeting people and hanging out after the shows to take pictures.”
Now managed by Millstar Entertainment Group, the band plans to release their second single soon.
“We’re going to wait about a month and watch how things go,” Owings said.
Their current album, “Starting Over” contains “Moonlight Crush.”
Performing full-time since 2010, theirs is a tour schedule that brought them to Myrtle Beach a week prior to the hit on The Highway and will take them on road trips to Montana, Nebraska and back across the continent to Wisconsin.
For a complete tour schedule, go to www.outshynemusic.com.
Traveling by van (even for the 30-hour trips) they’ll ride side by side “for as long as we can put up with each other,” laughed Owings.