The Dirty Guv’nahs are a deliciously sweet mix of southern charm and classic rock, and their elusive sound is never more apparent then on every track of their new album, Hearts on Fire. Born out of Knoxville, Tennessee, this six piece band has all the heart of gritty, soulful country folk and all the passion of epic, anthemic rock. Comprised of James Trimble (lead vocals/songwriter), Cozmo Holloway (lead guitar), Kevin Hyfantis (piano, organ, vocals), Justin Hoskins (Bass), Aaron Hoskins (drums) and Michael Jenkins (rhythm guitar/songwriter); their talents combine to form a massive, yet authentic sound that is both refreshing and inspiring. Their music has been featured on several network television shows and they’ve opened for an eclectic array of amazing bands from Zac Brown Band to The Black Crows to Wilco. It’s been an amazing year for the rising band, and with the release of Hearts On Fire, I can only anticipate it’s going to get better.
The album opens with the harrowingly emotional Where We Stand, a reflection for our generation and the battles we continue to fight every day, trying to make this world what we wish it was. James Trimble’s voice is smooth as honey as it glides over the building rhythm, eventually soaring over the full, big chorus, for an epic feeling that gets your heart beating right along with the music. They’re no strangers to big harmonic moments, which is more than apparent on Morning Light, where they croon in pitch perfect harmony, “All I get is this one little life, you see. What I want is the freedom to just be me…” Spoken like true members of their generation, where so much of our focus is on living our lives to the fullest and surrounding ourselves with love that actually matters.
They go from epic to classic in just seconds, when Lovin comes blasting through your speakers it will take you back in time to the days of Creedence Clearwater Revival, soulful harmonies torn from R&B’s early days suffused right into rambling acoustic rock riffs. They can stand on a soapbox and reflect on the ups and downs of life, diving deep into the emotional human journey, or celebrate falling in love with a sunny disposition that brings a smile to your lips. Ever Start to Wonder is the latter, full of bright beats and jazzy piano. Slow Down Easy is an authentic and tender study of the end of a relationship, featuring powerful belting harmonies that would give even Steven Tyler a run for his money. The album maintains it’s energetic crescendos, full of big moments and acoustic instruments, that essentially allows their sound to transcend from modern day touches and classic country and rock influences in the blink of an eye through, obvious on tracks like Tarwater (The Fighter) and Under Control.
Then there’s the bluegrassy Three Little Angels that’s ample with stripped down harmonies, simple voices singing together, that give real thought to the power of love and it’s ability to inspire us to be better people. Honesty and heart burn slowly through Someone to Love, where Kevin Hyfantis absolutely slays you with his invigorating talent on the organ. They never fail to take the emotional introspect up a few more notches with each track, leaving you wondering where they’re going to end up next and what genre they’ll seamlessly weave into their music. It ends with Canyons, a song about the strength to power through your obstacles. It’s a simple, bare bones song that’s all piano and vocals and beauty; completely impossible not to fall in love with.
I stumbled across this band by accident on twitter months ago, watching as they released tracks to build up to the release of Hearts on Fire, falling in love with each one. Now that the album is here in full, I have to give credit where credit is due. This is one of the best albums of 2014, and this band is only going to get stronger, more talented, and larger from this moment on. Take a listen to some of my favorite tracks from Hearts on Fire and then go here and buy the album. Because you’re going to want to.