Jeremy Davis and Clay Johnson are true southern gentlemen.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the story of how their friendship came to be is as southern as it gets. See, in the South, arranged marriages may no longer exist, but arranged friendships are as common as fried chicken after church on Sunday, and that is exactly what Jeremy and Clay were – an arranged friendship. The two met as prepubescent boys heading into the awkward and dreaded era that is junior high. As fate would have it, the two were assigned identical class schedules at West Monroe Junior High in West Monroe, LA. Upon noticing this, their mothers decided that the two would be best friend – and as we all know… what mama wants, mama gets! Despite initially hating the time they were forced to spend together, a lifelong friendship eventually took root.
A turning point in their friendship came when the two discovered that they shared a passion and proclivity for music. In school, they both excelled in band where Jeremy played the saxophone and Clay played the trombone. The two continued performing together through high school and into college at Louisiana Tech, and it was there that they began experimenting with different kinds of music – Rhythm & Blues, Rock-N-Roll, Classical, Jazz, Christian, and even Hip Hop. Their fascination with all types of music combined with roots planted firmly in the south and Clay’s gospel background (having been raised by preachers, teachers and gospel singers) led to the founding, and eventual success, of one of the most musically diverse bands in the south: The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra.
The road to such success was not an easy one to travel. Jeremy learned the hard way how not to run a band, having led countless bands in over 200 shows prior to the founding of the Fabulous Equinox Orchestra. While Jeremy had a hunch that he was on to something with this new group, the catalyst was the decision to bring Clay in as a vocalist. In that moment, the arranged friendship that began in the Louisiana Bayou became the duo responsible for producing some of the best arrangements in southern music history.
Today, the group continues to gain traction and find success as the first “southern big band”. This band is unlike any other, and the terms “orchestra” and “big band” don’t even begin to scrape the surface of all that the group offers. Their diverse repertoire covers the songs and sounds that make up southern culture. Performing everything from the toe-tapping, front porch picking sounds of Appalachian Bluegrass to the smooth jazzy sounds of the French Quarter in NOLA; from the roots of country music in Nashville to the pride and glory-filled songs of Texas – this group does it all and pays homage to the culture that raised and inspired them. When asked about their success, Jeremy and Clay respond in true southern-gentlemen fashion:
“God bless our moms, God bless our wives, and God bless the South”.
-Johnson & Davis