Looking for local bands in the southern California area, I was able to find and interact with this next band through Twitter and Instagram. With such a massive personality, I was instantly hooked to this band and felt the need to listen to them. After several plays through their latest album, I couldn’t stop listening to them! With a sound different from most of my posts on this blog, Ned and the Dirt is a great change of pace for my readers.
Hailing from Los Angeles, Ned and the Dirt is Ned Durrett on vocals/guitar, Andrew Johnson on the guitar, and Chris Clark on bass guitar, featuring a rotating drummer. With a southern rock flavor, their sound resides in the indie rock and rock n’ roll genre. Being a band with such giant charisma and character, it is only fitting that their latest album is titled “Giants,” an album that any listener will instantly be hooked on because of the passionate and innovative sound from the start.
What I find interesting about their music is that I’m having a hard time comparing them with other bands because of their unique sound. Having toured with bands like The Good Old War and of Montreal, I can easily hear the influence of these types of bands on their music, yet cannot oversimplify things by stating that they sound similar. Besides those newer bands, I can also hear that classic bluesy and southern flair that’s reminiscent of bands like ZZ Top and Aerosmith. Songs like “Boyhood Pride” and “Sugar” deliver that twangy lead guitar with overdriven rhythm sections, and even features a Wolfmother-sounding solo in “Boyhood Pride.” Amongst those southern-like songs are songs like “The River” and “In Ronda,” being more indie-inspired, and what I consider very radio-friendly songs. With riffs like Jack White’s work and simpler song structures in those songs, Ned and the Dirt can easily be recommended to just about any fan of rock music. Thanks to Durrett, Johnson, and Clark, they provide that interesting sound that isn’t too common in today’s music.
My two favorite songs on the 36 minute album “Giants” are easily the songs “Closer” and “Dear Liza.” “Closer,” being what I believe should be the album’s single, and “Dear Liza,” with a structure that totally reminds me of the great “Blackbird” by Alter Bridge, by far show the quality and greatness of this band. The album on multiple occasions focuses on love and loss, with both of these song’s containing the most passionate and compelling lyrics on “Giants.” With a melancholic sound, both songs are much slower paced and more subdued, showing that Ned and company, having such driven and uncontainable passion, can be held back when needed. I applaud them for their performance on these two songs, showing Durrett’s vocal range, and Johnson’s/Clark’s effect driven guitars. The lyrics behind “Closer” are perfectly written, describing hope of reuniting with a loved one in the beginning of the song, only to have those dreams not come true by the song’s end. The lyric structure shows how each person in this relationship attempt to take “one step closer” to each other, only to take “one step further” as things fall apart. My favorite lyric is in the opening verse:
“So I heard you’re back in the state / I’m surprised by how long you stayed away / Did you get what you needed to feel safe / I kept a journal these days you were away / I filled its pages with ink stains and peppered dreams / These marks rarely stay” (source)
My favorite of the two is “Dear Liza,” another downhearted song about the pain that comes with being in a relationship. I can easily imagine Ned and the Dirt closing their set with this song, giving them the opportunity to expand on the song’s closing moments with improvisational guitar work and the chance for Durrett to show all he’s got on stage with the song’s bridge and chorus:
“Look me in the eye, tell me what you see / Cause I’ve been feeling tired, and full of disbelief / So come on baby cry, I’m as open as can be / So tell me baby why, you’ve been holding out on me / I can’t see you / No, I can’t see you” (source)
I had a chance to catch up with Ned Durrett, who described the events in his life that influenced this album:
“Making “Giants” was a great experience, because it’s a true life mile marker for me. The record marked the colliding of two major life events for me: my brother died and I got married to my then girlfriend of 8 years. “Giants” really encompasses the unique part of my life where I was constantly being reminded that joy, love, struggle, sadness, and fear are all essential pieces of everyone’s path.”
Please support “Giants” by Ned and the Dirt, a local band just trying to get their name out there. With such a personal and poignant message, this is an album that needs to be heard! If you or anyone you know are fans of indie/southern rock, or bands like Lydia, City and Colour, Beck, and other softer bands featured on this blog, I ask that you share this album. You can find their music on Bandcamp, which is currently offering this album for free! You can find them on their website, or by following them on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram page for latest Ned and the Dirt news. They are currently in the process of writing a new album, so I’m sure you will hear of Ned and the Dirt again.
And to Ned and company: Having missed the opportunity to see you guys recently in San Diego, I regret every minute of it. I’ll make it up by seeing you guys live the next time you’re in town. Life gets busy when raising a one month old.