As frontman Michael Donner entered the Dallas music scene in 2011, he had partnered up with old friends Eric Pearson and Jackson Giles to help bring some of his songs to life and get them out in the open. The trio put their heads down, drawing from influences such as Ryan Adams, Bob Dylan, and The Band, and they constructed a cohesive Americana/Alt-Country album that took them to a studio in historic Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
Michael Donner & The Southern Renaissance’s debut album, “No Better Time”, was engineered and produced by Ben Tanner (touring keyboardist with The Alabama Shakes) and was released in September 2011. The album earned them high marks from the local music scene, being deemed “not only one of the best under the radar releases of the year, [but] one of the best releases period.” (Chip Frazier, Twangville). The Dallas Observer even listed it as one the “Four North Texas Albums You Need”. Furthermore, they were nominated for the Dallas Observer Music Awards 2012 as Best Country Act.
Since that release, the group added a full-time rhythm section with new members John Aisner (drums) and Blake Butler (bass). Riding on the popularity of their debut album and by their memorable and energetic live performances, the group has been given the opportunity to provide direct support for major artists such as Dr. Dog, The Civil Wars, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Ray Wylie Hubbard, The Heartless Bastards, Wayne Hancock, Milo Greene, Dylan LeBlanc, Will Hoge, The Wheeler Brothers, Kevin Eubanks, and Junior Brown. With a full time five-piece band, the group has undertaken a much more collaborative writing process and are preparing to release the full group’s debut E.P in spring 2013. They are now known only as The Southern Renaissance.