Hellbound Glory, the raucous Reno, Nevada-based country band is no more, and the band’s long-time frontman and songwriter has taken on a new moniker.
R.I.P. Hellbound Glory and Leroy Virgil, and hello Leon Virgil Bowers.
The band had the internet buzzing on October 1st when they announced that Hellbound Glory would be killed off. “31 more nights”¦ till the death of Hellbound Glory” the band stated, leaving fans of the resurgent country outfit wondering what the hell would be happening next. Then on Halloween, friends and family gathered at the at the Buckhorn Lodge in Pioneer, California to lay Hellbound Glory to rest, complete with a Hellbound Glory flag-draped coffin symbolizing the death of a music era that saw the band play hundreds of shows coast to coast, tour with Kid Rock and Leon Russell, and release some of the best independent country songs in the last decade.
The rest of Halloween weekend left fans wondering what was going to happen next. Then on Monday (11-3), a new website was launched and the name Leon Virgil Bowers, the given name of Leroy Virgil, emerged as the new incarnation of Hellbound Glory.
Leon Virgil Bowers has been the only permanent member of Hellbound Glory since the band’s inception in 2008. The band’s first two albums Scumbag Country and Old Highs & New Lows became landmarks of independent/underground country music and still remain testaments to Leroy’s prowess as a frontman and songwriter, along with his newer albums, 2011”²s Damaged Goods, and the recent 2014 LP called LV, named after Leon’s initials.
A name change is something that worked very successfully for Sturgill Simpson when he dropped the Sunday Valley moniker. Sturgill’s name change is considered one of the keys to his meteoric rise. Country music is mostly a solo name business, and for some reason bands working under an individual’s name tend to do better.
“I’ve actually considered it a lot. We’ve talked about it,” Leon said when Saving Country Music interviewed him in May and asked him about going with his own name in the future. But he also showed reluctance at the time to drop the Hellbound Glory name. “There’s so much momentum going with Hellbound Glory and I’ve got so many years of work into it. Within a week or two of moving to Reno, I’d written the song and turned it into a band name. So it’s been something I’m stuck with. Part of me would like a change.”
But don’t throw dirt on the grave of Hellbound Glory just yet. “We tried to kill it, but it looks like the spirit of Hellbound Glory will live on,” the band posted through social network. As they allude, the music of Hellbound Glory will continue to be enjoyed by fans. And who knows, maybe the name will be resurrected in the future. But with Leroy’s greatest asset being one of the premier songwriters of the independent world, working under his own name may just be the right decision to help get his music to the wider audience it deserves.