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The Dirty Guv'nahs  

American Rock and Roll Band with Southern Soul Roots

I don’t believe that things happen by chance… incredible things happen when people work hard, live humbly, and give credit where credit is due. You just gotta stay curious and dig in.” – James Trimble, lead singer – The Dirty Guv’nahs That sentiment rings true to the curious journey of Knoxville, Tennessee’s favorite sons, The Dirty Guv’nahs, who 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 new 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 their new record, 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.

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