The Rockwells
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The Rockwells

Knoxville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1999 | INDIE

Knoxville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1999
Band Rock Pop




"Review of Tear It Down"

“[Tear It Down] is actually the sixth CD by this foursome, and from this six-song EP, produced by Don Coffey, Jr. of Superdrag, it my be worth tracking down some of the others. It seems like catchy, up-tempo, streamlined, not too loud or garagy power-pop is breaking out all over, and with the harmonies between the Kelly brothers and solid support from the Bateman brothers, these Rockwells fit the bill. They spill the joy of finally getting a girlfriend on “Lonesome No More” and up the “back in the saddle” feeling on “Breakout,” though the best here is the Velvets/Sebadoh/Dumptruck-like “Lou Says.” But they can also ace two quiet waltzes (cue the close dancing) on “Theme From Miss Signal” and “Another Country Song”.” - The Big Takeover, by Jack Rabid

"Review of Tear It Down"

“This Knoxville, TN band debuts with a terrific 6-track EP (Tear It Down) that's varied in sound and solid in spirit. Catchy, energetic and somewhat gritty, this introduction piques the interest for more. Each tune is a surprise and a distinct element unto itself. More please.” - Miles of Music, 2004 (

"Review of Tear It Down"

“There’s something really percolating with this band. [Tear It Down] simmers with an ambition to do something different and follow its own rules---and its own muse---apart from other pop bands. But basically they play well-constructed pop-type songs as filtered through a good Rock ‘n’ Roll band.

“They don’t sound like anyone clearly---which we not only love but respect as it’s our job here to find the best of the best in indie power pop/melodic rock and give you some signposts to figure out if you’d like it. Well, we can’t really---but it does not mean it’s not a road you can’t go down and be rewarded. Extremely Highly Recommended.”
- Not Lame Recordings, 2004 (

"Preview of Tear It Down"

“Not only was there a fantastic self-titled EP last year from Knoxville’s pop kings The Rockwells (which included a gem of a tune called “Matters To Me” that may be the best Rockwells tune ever), but they have a new EP coming up called Tear It Down. These guys get better with every release and you can be sure the brothers Kelly and Bateman will deliver the rock.” - Jack Alberson, Spring 2004 (www.fac193.c0m)

"Eye On the Scene---Next Stop Cincinnati"

The Rockwells are the latest local contenders for Midwestern fame as participants in the 2004 Midpoint Music Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio. Last year’s local reps at the four-day music festival and industry conference were Westside Daredevils, Senryu and the American Plague. The Daredevils’ Gray Comer vaguely recalls his band’s jaunt to the festival as “a great deal of fun, good turnout, enthusiastic crowds.

“The particular district of town in which the venues hosting the event were located in has perhaps the highest bars-per-square-hectare ratio of any place I’ve ever seen in my life,” Comer reports.

Speculating on the Rockwells’ upcoming stint at Midpoint, Comer is optimistic. “If the general musical slant on things is anything like it was last year, they will stand out amongst the general blandness of most other bands playing like Dick Cheney at a gay pride rally. If they keep it relatively upbeat and display the combination of exuberance and finesse that their recent local shows have shown, they will destroy. And win the hearts of many a scandalously underage lass that will most likely be in attendance.”

Our dear Rockwells—who have surely never wronged underage hearts—join a line-up of 250 independent, original bands from all over the country scheduled to play on 18 stages. In order to warm up the Cincy crowd, the Rockwells will play their debut gig July 10 at the Barrelhouse.
- Metro Pulse (Knoxville, TN)

"Eye On The Scene---Knoxville At Night"

The Knoxville at Night festival held in the Old City on June 2 wasn’t as successful as last year’s event, perhaps due to heavy rains and an area tornado watch, but it still had a respectable showing. About 1,000 people came out to the several participating nightclubs and a coffee shop. A $5 cover charge got you in to see more than 20 local bands; it was impossible to see all of them, so you had to pick your favorites. Jack Rentfro, editor of the exhaustive Cumberland Avenue Revisited, was seen bouncing from club to club, muttering about the futility of the task but thrilled to have the chance to catch so much music. He raved about much of what he saw, particularly the Rockwells. - Metro Pulse (Knoxville, TN)

"Review of Tear It Down"

The Rockwells have been praised and criticized for sounding a lot like '60s British invasion bands. The comparison is not without merit, but on their latest EP, they sound to me more like the '70s Brit working-class rockers, a la Elvis Costello, Rockpile and Graham Parker. They don't quite reach the lyrical genius and depths of those artists, but they do blend catchy melodies, smart lyrics and raw emotion to good effect.

The group is made of Memphis transplants, two sets of brothers—Jonathan and Fred Kelly and Tommy and Trace Batement, with Jonathan Kelly handling the lead vocals and most of the songwriting duties. (For the record, Kelly is an intern at Metro Pulse.) The EP is the band's fifth release. The understated guitar playing is solid throughout, and there are some nice keyboard effects on "Red and Gray." Lyrically, the band sticks to the broken-heart variety, but that topic rarely gets old.

You can check the band out yourself at their CD release party at the Pilot Light on Saturday.
- Metro Pulse (Knoxville, TN)


  • Place & Time, 2007 (full-length CD, vinyl LP coming Fall 2022)
  • Tear It Down, 2004 (EP available on CD and vinyl)
  • The Rockwells, 2003 (EP available on CD and vinyl)
  • Little Symphonies For Kids, 2002 (full-length CD)
  • star*smile*strong, 2001 (full-length CD)
  • Return of The Rockwells, 2000 (full-length CD)
  • Raise the Radio, 2000 (full-length CD)

Selections from the entire catalog have gotten heavy regional college, community, and some "locals only" commercial radio airplay. All titles are being re-released to 180 gram vinyl from 2022 through 2024.



The Rockwells are a band of brothers based in Knoxville, TN. The Kelly Bros. (Fred and Jonathan) and the Bateman Bros. (Tommy and Trace) are lifelong friends who have played music in a variety of projects together over the years. This particular band is mostly guitar based Indie Rock...mostly.