The Dirty Guv'nahs

The Dirty Guv'nahs

The curious journey of Knoxville, Tennessee's favorite sons, The Dirty Guv'nahs, came together on a lark in 2006 to perform just a single show. That one, short, inauspicious set however, led to a series of extraordinary events—a life-changing path for these six UT, Knoxville grads—but still just the prologue to a story that continues to unfold.

The Dirty Guv'nahs most recent CD, Youth Is In Our Blood, produced by two-time Grammy-winner Justin Guip (Levon Helm, The Black Crowes) at Helm's renowned barn/studio in Woodstock, NY is the follow-up to their eponymous 2009 debut. It is a hot, roiling stew of gritty, soul-influenced rock 'n' roll, mixed with a hefty helping of roots, funk, blues and country. It's the sound that has earned them the distinction of being voted Knoxville's Best Ban —three years in a row—by the readers of that city's alternative weekly, Metro Pulse.

Considering the accolades the band has received in its hometown region, it is downright ironic that not one of the Guvs had planned to pursue music as a career. In fact, lead singer, James Trimble, who now holds a master's degree in public administration was preparing for med school when one of his UT roommates, Guvs bass player Justin Hoskins, committed his "band" to perform for a friend's benefit concert. The only problem? There was no band to speak of.

With barely two weeks to prepare Hoskins (who just finished his master's in business) recruited Trimble, and his younger brother Aaron Hoskins (the band's only remaining undergrad). Chris Doody (who also has a master's in business), had recently returned to Tennessee and signed on. Another roommate, a Knoxville man-about-town known as The Guv'nah, introduced them to guitarist Michael Jenkins (whose degrees now include a bachelor's of science in nuclear engineering and a master's in business). "We were four guitarists and bongos," Trimble recalls. "I became the singer by default. By the third practice Chris moved over to keyboards. None of us had ever played in a band, we really didn't know what we were doing."

Nevertheless, something clicked and that show led to another gig. Then Trimble graduated and left the country to travel for the summer. He returned a few months later a changed man, with a passion to play and write songs. The band reunited and people responded to the music and the energy. Soon there were more offers and bigger venues even though shows were sporadic as band members continued in their academic pursuits.

By 2008, a year and a half into their musical venture, the guys got serious and decided to record a CD, so they had music to sell at shows. They headed to Athens, Georgia to work with producer David Barbe, known for his work with R.E.M and The Drive-By Truckers. The Dirty Guv'nahs has a raw, energetic feel, that Metro Pulse described as "…rock the way God intended," an apt description of their cathartic live shows that consistently drew capacity crowds to Knoxville's largest bar venue.

The CD arrived in April 2009 and The Dirty Guv'nahs had big plans for its release. "We wanted to play the Bijou Theatre," Trimble notes. "It was time to move from bars to rock venues." But theBijou's promoter AC Entertainment declined to book them, fearing the Guvs wouldn't draw a big enough crowd in the 750-seat theater to be profitable. Undaunted, the band decided to rent the theater instead, assuming all costs for venue fees, tickets, lighting, and security themselves, a bold and risky move for any artist. The show was a stunning success, and just a handful of tickets shy of a sell-out.

Impressed by the numbers, AC Entertainment chief Ashley Capps, who also organizes Bonnaroo, immediately invited the band to perform at the festival. They played two sets and wowed fans and industry tastemakers alike, one of whom sent tracks to Guip. "He heard some of the songs and loved them," Trimble says. "And he invited us to come up to Woodstock to record our next CD."

The result of those sessions, two weeks in December 2009, between final exams and Christmas, is The Dirty Guv'nahs' new disc, Youth Is In Our Blood. "The time we spent at the studio was great, but tough," Trimble says of the recording process. "By the second day it had snowed 10 inches, a mountain's worth for us Southern boys. I came down with the Swine flu and we had a hard time adapting to the specifics of making music in the studio. Justin had some hard talks with us and gave us two days to figure it out or go home. What we had accomplished thus far wasn't good enough for him to put his name on."

The day of reckoning came and it didn't start out well. "We had to dig our van out of several feet of snow," Trimble, a natural storyteller, reveals. "We're headed down the mountain to the studio and the van starts belching out this acrid grey smoke. We pulled into the nearest gas station thinking the worst. Turns out we'd driven the last eight miles with the parking brake on!"

Opening the parking brake proved the metaphorical end to a bad beginning. They arrived at the studio, found their groove and laid down five solid rhythm tracks that day. "He definitely pushed our buttons and challenged us," Trimble says about Guip. "He encouraged us and helped us create some great music. There's a real honesty that exists on this record, it's the struggle of a man trying to find his place in a world full of expectations."

With a new album planned for a spring release, a shack-shaking live show and a growing legion of fans, there's no doubt The Dirty Guv'nahs are indeed perfectly poised to find their rightful place in that world.

The Kalob Griffin Band

After developing a reputation as pioneers for the revival of original live music in its birthplace of State College, Pa., The Kalob Griffin Band continues to deliver naked, full, foot-stomping Americana rock that is yet to be matched. The Kalob Griffin Band, better known to its fans as KGB, compliments its creation of genuine music by captivating its fans with fresh and infectious live shows.
The band evolved twice over to finally fuse into the ultimate folk rock quintet in the fall of 2010 with Kalob Griffin on lead vocals/rhythm guitar, Rob Dwyer on lead guitar/mandolin/banjo, John Hildenbrand on keys, Derek Biddle on bass/backup vocals, and Eric Lawry on drums/backup vocals. Since its reinvention, the Kalob Griffin Band embarked on two national tours, one of them opening up for Michael Franti & Spearhead, as the supporting band for emerging British singer/songwriter Bobby Long (ATO Records).
The Kalob Griffin Band has played to crowds of thousands and is a familiar face to attendees of both WXPN Music Festival in Philadelphia, Pa. and Mile High Festival in Denver, Co. After festival season dwindled to a close, the members all relocated to Philadelphia. The city of Brotherly Love welcomed The Kalob Griffin Band with open arms, providing the band with headlining shows and legions of devoted fans that can’t seem to get enough of the raw power and energy that the music provides.
The Kalob Griffin Band’s music is rooted in culture - music made of the people, for the people, and by the people, managing to scrape and dig beneath various surfaces. The band produces an honest, organic, and energizing sound, uniting novel storytelling with lively harmonies that the audience simply cannot resist. The lyrical style is reminiscent of the old-fashioned and generational narratives of Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. The diverse set of musical compositions launches the listener into an enthusiastic, footloose, and lively groove similar to the likes of contemporary artists such as Yonder Mountain String Band and The String Cheese Incident.
Capitalizing on the endless creativity and innovation that is sweeping the transformation of the music industry today, the Kalob Griffin Band is tenaciously determined to iron its own footprint among rock n’ roll’s greats. The Kalob Griffin Band’s debut, six-track self-titled EP is now available on Itunes, Amazon, and other digital outlets. The official website, www.KalobGriffinBand.com will be launched in April 2011, filled with streaming songs, pictures, videos, and more. Expect to see the band vigorously touring the country through 2011, capturing fans and communities everywhere with its cultivated and refreshing sound.

Levee Drivers are a blues, country, rock group from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The Deli Magazine says, “it might just be a matter of time before the boys who have a sound that’s reminiscent to Johnny Cash and Hank Williams blow up big time." Members are August Lutz on Vocals, Guitar and Harmonica, Jeff Orlowski on Drums, Jason Schultz on Guitar, and Kyle Perella on Bass. They have been influenced by Johnny Cash, Son House, Bruce Springsteen, The Drifters, Dick Dale, Hank Williams, Elbow, The Clash, Levi Stubbs Jr. and The Four Tops, Patsy Cline, Tom Waits, Townes Van Zandt, The Walkmen, CCR, Robert Johnson, Black Sabbath, Ryan Adams, Blaze Foley, The Shangri-las, every Quentin Tarantino soundtrack, Radiohead, The Doors, Neil Young, Elmore James, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Bob Dylan, Whiskeytown, The Black Keys, Prince, The Temptations, The Misfits, Loretta Lynn, Howlin' Wolf, The Strokes, Wilco, The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, The Velvet Underground, Grinderman, and any Jack White project.

$12.00 - $15.00

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The Dirty Guv'nahs with The Kalob Griffin Band, Levee Drivers

Tuesday, November 13 · 8:00 PM at North Star Bar