Soul Karnival

Soul Karnival is the Braintrust of four very unique musicians.  Justin “Dobby” Smith (lead vocals), Cash Cotton (lead guitar), Ryan “Sponge” Grider (bass) and Brax Harris (drums).

Soul Karnival has been together since May 2015.  They came together through a series of mixed bands crossing one another’s path. The chemistry, once the right mix of musicians came together, was immediate.  Their very eclectic sound and timely, but ever present lyrics make them something new and different, yet familiar, on the music scene. Their sound does not fit in any one genre type, it includes; rap, rock, jazz, hip hop, blues, and maybe a few other surprises. 

Soul Karnival was featured on Let’s Talk Birmingham on January 6th, 2019.

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Lemon Street
— Let's Talk Birmingham's song pick


Justin “Dobby” Smith is a singer and songwriter from Scottsboro, AL, attended Northeast Alabama Community College, and now lives in Birmingham, AL. He is heavily influenced by Hip-Hop, Reggae, and rock and artists such as Bob Marley, Yelawolf and Chance the Rapper. He draws content from life experiences and the things he sees around him. He began singing at a young age and his first performances were on the stage of a country church his father pastored. He began writing poetry in middle school and music came along in the following years. He, Cash (guitar), and Ryan (bass) knew each other through school and marching band and met Braxton (drums) through several weird twists of fate. And thus, Soul Karnival was born.

Granvielle LeCashron Cotton was born on July 4th, 1996 in Scottsboro Alabama into a house full of musicians. His father is a bass player singer and saxophonist and his mother is a classically trained pianist. He is a musician, songwriter, and guitarist for the band Soul Karnival based in Fort Payne, AL. He is heavenly influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Nat King Cole, Bob Marley and Tupac Shakur as well as other Jazz, Reggae and Hip Hop artists.. He began playing guitar at age eight. He first performed at his family church. He met friends Justin Smith and Ryan Grider at Scottsboro High. He moved to Fort Payne after he graduated where he would eventually meet drummer Braxton Harris. He attended Northeast Community College and is currently a music major at the University of Montevallo.

Ryan Grider is a musician born and raised in Scottsboro, Alabama. He is heavily influenced by Rush, Boston, Victor Wooten, and Marcus Miller. His parents bought him his first bass when he was 15, and started playing at church. He marched with Dobby and Cash in high school, while also playing in Jazz, Concert, Symphonic, Rock, and Steel Bands. He is currently attending Jacksonville State University as a Music Education major and is marching in The Marching Southerners.

Braxton Bryant Harris is a self-taught drummer, bassist, and guitarist from Fort Payne, AL.  Brax’s parents bought his first drum set in 2007.  He didn’t touch them until 2011 and hasn’t stopped since. He has been a part of several local groups, played in church, and was the drummer for a Contemporary Christian artist. Brax is influenced by many different genres of music from metal to jazz. Some of his favorites that influence his playing style would be Marco Minnemann (The Aristocrats), Mike Portnoy (formerly, Dream Theater), Jimmy Sullivan (The Rev - Avenged Sevenfold), to name a few. He is a graduate of Fort Payne High School and has been accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.