Having just turned 18 years old, Noah Riley Teal is a singer, songwriter, and guitar slinger. “A southern rocker triple threat,” his publicist states.
They continue, “His empathy as a lyricist and a vocalist, and his fretboard flare evoke the presence of a well-seasoned artist, brimming with hard-luck wisdom three times his age.”
These statements had my interest piqued but it was his music that truly blew me away. I had to find out more.
Noah Riley Teal’s dad and grandfather were rock drummers.
They assumed that he’d become a drummer as well. His parents put him behind a drum set and that lasted a week.
“I traded that cherry red drum set for a cherry red Epiphone Les Paul. And I pretty sure it was my grandad who took me to trade it in,” Noah recalled.
With his father being raised on 70s and 80s rock n roll, the electric guitar was placed in his young Noah’s hands at age five, and he gravitated towards that.
“There was never a time when music wasn’t in my life. It was a natural progression. I wasn’t forced into music as a career, but I remember at age 8 years old that I knew this is what I was going to be.”
In the early years, he was always the guitarist, never the frontman or a songwriter. He continued to take guitar lessons and play in a cover band with his sister and friends for 7 or 8 years. One time when their lead singer couldn’t make it to an event at their school, one of the middle school teachers encouraged him to sing lead. He had done some acoustic stuff with his sister, but never in public. In eighth grade, he sang Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” and it was the first time anyone, including himself, ever heard Noah sing.
“We all were a little surprised. We don’t really have any singers in the family. It was nothing special, but I learned that I can actually do this,” he acknowledged.
Right before COVID, Noah started taking voice lessons to learn how to sing properly without overdoing it. And while the pandemic put live performances on hold for a while, it was this timeout for musicians which led Noah to meet Zac Brown Band’s, Coy Bowles who became his mentor. Because Zac Brown Band is based out of Georgia, they were able to meet via Banker Custom Guitars, an establishment they both worked with.
Coy challenged Noah to write five songs. At that time, he had no songwriting experience, barely any singing experience, but a lot of skill on the guitar. He didn’t know where to start.
Coy showed him the ropes via Zoom calls. They learned about recording software, and he taught Noah some methods which he adapted to fit his needs.
“The number one thing that Coy and the Zac Brown Band taught me was we could make a record that guitar players will love, or we can make an album that everyone will love.”
Given his background, it made sense for Noah to go down the Southern Rock route. However, at the same time, he had country guys showing him how to write songs. But his roots come from the Blues. Not only that, when he learned to play electric guitar, it was on 80s rock like Van Halen and Rush that he cut his teeth. It was then that he decided he did not want to be pigeonholed into just one genre.
Scheduled for July 7th, Noah Riley Teal’s debut self-titled album will explore some of his musical influences.
Last month he released his debut single, “Should Have Seen The Other Guy” an edgy blues-rock anthem that belies his young age.
Out on May 26th, on his second single of the upcoming record “I’m Coming Around,” Noah explores his inner funk meister. When the song was pitched to me, the first thing I thought was “How can one this youthful know so much about the exceptional rhythms, sounds, and anthems that were popular decades before he was born?”
Because he enjoys so many styles of music, he chooses the Americana label which is an umbrella for all types of southern-based music. Noah gets his blues out on one song, his southern rock on another, and his country on yet another where he discovers what he likes.
He explained, “One song might remind you of watching Yellowstone with the cowboy hats and the big, black F150s. Then you have a song that’s right after it like “I’m Coming Around” which is date night at the fair. The next song is about getting your heart ripped to shreds in this White Snake styled ballad. I am proud (of the variety) because initially, I didn’t think I was capable of it.”
Another thing he learned from Coy Bowles is that it really doesn’t matter what style of music you do if you can sell to the audience.
“The audience is not going to believe it if you don’t believe it. Legendary rocker Chris Cornell can cover Prince if he believes what he is singing,” he reminded.
And while many his age may share his musical aspiration; few can successfully implement it. He cites Eric Church as a creative hero who also explores the gamut of styles with the songs he releases.
Noah is so good because most of the members of his amazing band are 20+ years older than he is, including the amazing Nicki Harris, a co-writer and backup singer, and his dad on drums. You can see how phenomenal they are in the live video of their song “Georgia Eyes.” Recorded when he was just 16, their jam session that is not to be missed.
When asked about Nashville, he states it is not for him. He would rather be a big fish in a small pond than a little fish in a big one. Being from Jackson Lake, Georgia, an hour southeast of Atlanta, he is somewhat of a hero in his hometown.
He cites many musical influences like B.B. Kind and Joe Bonamassa (who follows him on Instagram) but one of his favorites is Billy Gibbons. He stated, “If I can be 10% as cool as Billy Gibbons, I will be happy.”
ZZ Tops fans who may still be reeling from the death of Dusty Hill can see some hope because I have found some music that may help ease the gap left by his passing.
Regardless of his career, Noah Riley Teal will always remain true to himself. I predict it won’t be long until the rest of Georgia and the world catches on. And remember that you learned about him first from me.
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Noah Riley Teal Track listing:
“Shoulda Seen The Other Guy”
“Ride or Die”
“I’m Coming Around”
“The Next Train Out of Town”
“Deal Me Out”
“Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong with the Blues”
“Son of a River Man”