top of page

The Band South River Drive

Earl Powers, the Blue Danube Waltz, and the South River Drive

Earl was raised in South Florida, and from an early age found himself appreciating a wide variety of musical genres.  From the graceful Blue Danube Waltz that wove its way so delicately through the iconic 2001: A Space Odyssey, to the whispers of John Denver’s mountain sonatas, Earl realized the power music has to capture and move the soul.

As a matter of course, his teenage years found him taking a journey into the realms of Rock n Roll, and by the age of 15 he was sure (like many other teenagers) that if he could just learn the guitar, fame and fortune would not be far behind.  Enter into this story a hand-me-down gut string Martin guitar, an older brother who showed him a few chords and he was off and running.  Never mind he played left-handed (the guitar was stung right-handed), he would learn, even if it meant playing upside down and backwards!

So, he learned to play.  Interestingly, Jimi Hendrix riffs and Led Zeppelin power chords did not ring as true on a beat-up classical guitar (nylon strings of which had by then been replaced with steel, utterly destroying any remaining tonality of a once beautiful guitar).  But surprisingly, what did sound good, what seemed to capture the gracefulness of the Danube Waltz, were the smooth chord voices of America’s ‘Horse with no Name’, the acoustic punch of Neil Young’s ‘Old Man’, or the sweet melody of Paul McCartney’s ‘Blackbird’.  He soon realized that even though he couldn’t be the heroes whose songs swept him off his feet, perhaps he could create his own unique sound.  Perhaps he could recreate emotions of what he has seen and felt in his own life.  Perhaps he could even write about it all.  It came to be that Neil Young and Paul McCartney’s acoustic style became a jumping off point, a place from which he found direction.  So, off he went, to find a tone, a melody, and a voice that was truly his own. 

Throughout the years, Earl has continued to strive to create emotion and passion of what he’s felt in his life as he observed people and events of the world around him.  His melodies are memorable, and his lyrics are powerful.  He strives to create an acoustic presence in his songs that stirs the soul, and inspires the imagination, much like he was inspired as a young boy listening to and feeling the gracefulness of the Blue Danube Waltz.

Iver Franzen – jack of all (well, a few) trades . . .

Iver wishes he were raised in South Florida, but in fact started out in Erie, PA (he would get to Florida eventually).  His older brother taught him guitar in his early teens, and from him learned picking styles that let him play songs from the likes of Mississippi John Hurt, Dave Van Ronk, and others from a wide collection of bluesmen and folk players - and got him started on the banjo, too.  In high school in New England he discovered, and fell in love with, a capella singing in large glee clubs and smaller barbershop-ish "twelve-tets."  This continued in college, and led to a degree in music as a conductor, further broadening his exposure to a wide variety of musical genres.  Other interests (skiing, sailing, the need for gainful employement) took him elsewhere after college, but not entirely away from music - he supplemented his day jobs with nighttime gigs, both as a solo and as a member of a number of different duos, trios, and larger bands playing a wide variety of folk, rock, blues, country ... all the while trying to work in harmonies.  His personal and professional travels took him far and wide, all the time experiencing more and more musical and social influences.  He's written a number of notable instrumentals over the years, but for reasons beyond explanation finds it hard to write lyrics - a little frustrating when all those social and emotional experiences and insights from his travels are banging around inside his head.  It does mean, though, that he really, really appreciates good song writers who can translate those feelings, insights, and experiences into lyric and song, and feels more than fortunate that he's been able to team up with just such a song writer.

The Band South River Drive


South River Drive was created in 2016.  The band consists of Earl Powers and anyone he has had the honor of playing with.  For his debut album, Seven Songs, Earl collaborated with his long-time friend Iver Franzen.  Iver is a gifted guitar, Dobro and banjo player who provided enormous talent, insight, and guidance to the Seven Songs project.  Bill Malley offered his talents on the bass guitar on Send Me an Angel.

bottom of page