Some bands are put together around a vocalist or vocalist and guitarist and then put out a single without much touring behind them. And some other bands form organically and play for years. Very few ‘put together bands’ survive over time while the ‘organically’ formed bands tend to last for a long time. A good example of the former is Twister Alley and a good example of the latter is Diamond Rio.
Taking a page from the Diamond Rio playbook is the Dirt Drifters. Featuring five members from four states, lead vocalist Matt Fleener and his guitarist brother Ryan Fleener joined up with guitarist Jeff Middleton, bassist Jeremy Little and drummer Nick Diamond after all the members were in various different bands and acts along the way they found themselves liking what they heard. It wasn’t long after forming and playing an early gig in Nashville that the five-piece band ended up getting signed to Warner Brothers Nashville and then hitting the road and touring for a couple of years, all of this before recording their debut album.
Working with Justin Niebank, The Dirt Drifters created This Is My Blood, their debut album. The album mixes the band’s influences into a blender and what comes out is unabashedly country. Every note of the album was played by the band and while those influences may bleed through form time to time, it’s immediately evident that, from album opener “Something Better” to the closing title track, This Is My Blood is pure country music, the kind that is the real deal. The lyrics ground the band in country music as The Dirt Drifters sing of blue collar people throughout every track, be it about human nature to be ‘waitin’ on something better to come along’ in “Something Better,” to a common man’s lament about the ills of the world in “I’ll Shut Up Now.”
Other standout tracks on This Is My Blood include the second single “Always A Reason,” a tune about our ability to wash away our sorrows or cheer even the smallest of victories in a bad economy. There’s “Name On My Shirt,” a song about being proud of who you are and what you do and “Married Men and Motel Rooms,” a song that chronicles cheatin’ men while “Sun Goes Down” is an honest-to-goodness love song that doesn’t succumb to cliché.
There’s not a bad track on This Is My Blood. It’s that simple. While not traditional country music, the record is still not going to be confused with modern rock or pop music. If you like tight musicianship and strong bands who record only strong songs, you’re sure to find The Dirt Drifters debut This Is My Blood to your liking like we did.