Ken’s Music Pick: Dirt Heavy at Bowery Electric
Dirt Heavy are an alt-country rock band out of Nashville, TN. Spawned from a meeting of the minds by Matt Haeck (pronounced ‘Heck’) and CT Stephenson, two songwriter souls walkin’ around in landscapers’ bodies.
In that context, it’s easy to envision the name ‘Dirt Heavy’ being inspired by a hot Tennessee workday, full of slinging gravel and mulch, with sweaty, Hulk-speak voices grunting “dirt….heavy”. That kind of scene is a very fitting genesis for the duo, as it’s in this same fashion that Haeck and Stephenson hoist and hurl loads of imagery and language around, getting scraped and filthy in the pursuit of a good day’s work and good day’s pay.
A more reasonable take on the name is the undeniable grittiness to their songs, both in musical heft as well as lyrically — even the ballads — that earns the banner without trying too hard. It’s a very pleasing style, all wrapped up in a melodic sound hovering near Old 97’s territory, and Wilco in some cases, but with a more “callused hand” delivery.
Both Stephenson and Haeck have played with several bands over the years which has helped give them an exceptional handle on blending voices and guitars, a gauged touch that lends itself well to Dirt Heavy’s live shows. While able to fill a stage nicely on their own, the two co-front men are also supported by an excellent band made up of Eric Whitman on keyboards, Vince Wynne on bass, Ben Eyestone on drums, and New York’s own Sean Healy on pedal steel.
They’ve recently recorded an EP, and are now on tour, making stops in North Carolina, New York and New Jersey. They’ll be making their NYC debut at the Bowery Electric on Friday.
Dirt Heavy play Bowery Electric, Friday July 20, 8pm //$8
Splitting his time between performing and producing, contributor Ken Beasley primarily plays with his own roots/rock band, Ken Beasley & Co., as well as the power punk outfit, Missy Sport, while also curating the Underground at the Abrons music series on the Lower East Side.