The Last Good Year: Swaggering Riff Rock from the Heart of Indianapolis

If you missed seeing Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Verizon Wireless Music Center last week, don’t throw away your denim jacket just yet. Luckily, Indianapolis is home to bands that play virtually every type of music under the sun, and one Indianapolis band in particular plays the kind of balls to the wall, big riffing, hook heavy guitar rock that you’d expect at a Skynyrd concert. Sure, The Emerson Theater showcases some heavy bands too, but nothing with the sing the chorus until you’re hoarse, clap your hands until they bleed songwriting that this group brings to the table. It’s The Last Good Year, and they’ve been bringing back the glory days of rock to a hungry Indianapolis music climate since their rise to prominence in 2007.

Video of The Last Good Year performing “Humbled” live at Spin Nightclub in Indianapolis


Like fellow Indianapolis band Glass Halo, The Last Good Year got catapulted into the Indy limelight after a victory at Birdy’s Battle of the Bands, an annual music contest that spans several rounds and takes place at Birdy’s Bar & Grill in Broad Ripple Village. After being encouraged by Jay Elliott of Stereo Deluxe, the barely year old band entered the contest at the last minute in 2007. In a crazy twist of fate, The Last Good Year ended up taking the title and the $10,000 that went with it, a surprise for no one except The Last Good Year. Using their earnings from the Indianapolis bar, The Last Good Year went ahead and recorded their eponymous debut in a Nashville studio, creating the first entry in a hard rocking tradition that still has a lot of life in it.

Video of The Last Good Year performing with Candlebox at the Bud Light Tourney Tent in Indianapolis during the NCAA Final Four Men’s Basketball Tournament


“It’s all about the big hook,” guitarist Joshua Bucy said in a 2009 interview with NUVO Newsweekly, “We’re all kind of windows down, fists out the window, singing along with the radio.” Driving at breakneck speeds through downtown Indianapolis is certainly an acceptable way to enjoy the music of The Last Good Year. Laced with influences ranging from indie rock to metal, The Last Good Year plays a fist pumping, rollicking breed of Americana rock n’ roll, recalling legends like AC/DC, Styx, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Meatloaf, and even a little Sabbath. This band is all about the mega riff and the big chorus, something the crowd always respond to at the Indianapolis events The Last Good Year performs at.

Video of The Last Good Year performing “Ton of Bricks” live at The Music Mill in Indianapolis for New Year’s Eve


The Last Good Year is made up of four members: Joe Doyel on guitar and vocals, Joshua Bucy on lead guitar, Steve Byroad on bass, and Darren Rayl on drums. Since their breakthrough in 2007, Indianapolis media has taken a shine to The Last Good Year. NUVO Newsweekly gave the band a “Best of Indy” award in 2007, citing the band’s debut album as “the sort of arena rock that defined several generations of concertgoers.” Several songs from The Last Good Year are often played on X103, an Indianapolis radio station that specializes in alternative rock. Indianapolis blogs also love The Last Good Year, creating buzz for their next project.

Video of Indianapolis band The Last Good Year performing “Road to Ruin” live at Reggie’s Rock Club in Chicago


The Last Good Year is no stranger to Indianapolis music venues. Indianapolis bars are known for their love of rock bands, and The Last Good Year imitates the best in the United States‘ brash, swaggering rock tradition. The band has performed with some of the most well known Indianapolis musicians, including Jon McLaughlin and The Elms, the former kings of Indiana Americana. Throughout the Indianapolis area, The Last Good Year has been seen at The Britton Tavern, Birdy’s Bar & Grill, Rock Lobster, The Music Mill, Spin Nightclub, the Bud Light Tourney Tent for the 2010 NCAA Final Four Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse, The Vollrath Tavern, the Hard Rock Cafe in Indianapolis (where they won yet another battle of the bands), The Vogue, and they’re scheduled to play at the next Oranje Exposition in September. Though The Last Good Year hasn’t conquered every Indianapolis cultural district, they’ve certainly been to a lot of places around the Circle City.

A tour video featuring The Last Good Year, an Indianapolis band


If you miss the glory days of rock, when pants were tight and hair was long (wait, that still sounds like 2010), you should check out a show with The Last Good Year. This is good ol’ boot thudding, bass heavy, guitar driven rock and roll, complete with spiraling solos, catchy riffs, addicting hooks, and rousing choruses. Champions of Birdy’s and a hard working, hard touring group with a lot of musical chemistry, The Last Good Year has the grit and determination to continue to pump out the growling Americana they’re known for. Their next challenge: breaking out on to the national stage, where they’re sure to be a radio friendly hit and a credit to the Indianapolis music scene.

For more information on The Last Good Year, including news, tour dates, video, song samples, media blurbs, and more, visit The Last Good Year’s homepage.

Indianapolis Music Venues

8 Seconds Saloon | Big Car Gallery | Birdy’s Bar & Grill | Chatterbox Jazz Club | Emerson Theater | Jazz Kitchen | Old National Centre | Radio Radio | The Vogue | More Indianapolis Music Venues

Indianapolis Bands

Amanda Overmyer | Cathy Morris | Flynnville Train | Gwen Stacy | The Elms | Haste the Day | Jennie DeVoe | Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s | Mudkids | Murder by Death | Sloppy Seconds | Straight No Chaser | More Indianapolis Bands

Indianapolis Musical Organizations

Arts Council of Indianapolis | Capital City Chorus | Ensemble Music Society | Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis | Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra | More Indianapolis Musical Organizations

Indianapolis Musicians

Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds | Freddy Hubbard | Wes Montgomery | Cole Porter | James Spaulding | More Indianapolis Musicians

Indiana Music by City

Avon Music | Brownsburg Music | Carmel Music | Danville Music | Fishers Music | Greenfield Music | Greenwood Music | Martinsville Music | Mooresville Music | Noblesville Music | Plainfield Music | Westfield Music | Zionsville Music | More Indiana Music