The Dirt Drifters Will Always Have a ‘Reason’ for Making Country Music
The Dirt Drifters are Warner Music Nashville’s emerging new band, consisting of five musicians from four states with backgrounds from across the spectrum and a hunger to make music that matters. Matt Fleener (lead vocals/acoustic guitar), Jeff Middleton (guitar/vocals), Jeremy Little (bass), Nick Diamond (drums) and Ryan Fleener (guitar/vocals) will be releasing their new single, ‘Always a Reason,’ to country radio the first week of July. The tune, penned by two of the band’s members, is the second release from their forthcoming album, ‘This Is My Blood,’ which will be available July 19.
‘This Is My Blood’ contains 11 tracks that feature the Drifters playing on each tune, most of which were written or co-written by the band. The Dirt Drifters play top-drawer country music, bringing vintage sounds and sensibilities up-to-date in a country landscape. Taste of Country recently sat down with the group of talented and good looking guys of the Dirt Drifters, and we are excited for you to get to know them.
How did you all meet and form the Dirt Drifters?
Matt Fleener: We met in church and bars. Some of us met through going to church together, and some of us met each other going to a songwriting bar. We’ve all been in town between nine and 15 years, so we’ve been in the system for quite a while. This band has been a chance for all of us to have a second chance at music. We’ve been through the ringer playing for other people or writing music for other people, so this was a way for all of us to make one last crazy push and really try to do things we wanted to do, write the music we want to do and see if that works.
Has your combined musical past made it a bit easier to work in the studio?
Nick Diamond: I don’t know about easy, but it definitely makes our sound. We’re from all over the place. We’ve got Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Louisiana … so we grew up listening to every genre of music that there is. We bring different tastes and backgrounds to the table, and that forms our sound. I don’t know if it’s easy but it is cool and different.
Jeff Middleton: I think with the different backgrounds we all have been doing this for long enough that we feel pretty comfortable about where we come from. Also, because we’re friends, we respect each others backgrounds and where we’re from, so that part makes it easier for us. Nick comes from a certain musical background, and I do too, but we find a way to make it work together.
What was the biggest challenge you guys faced while in the studio?
Matt Fleener: I think the biggest challenge for us was getting over that first fear. We had been waiting for so long to go in and make the music we wanted to, so going in and actually getting your shot … realizing that the recording button is about to go down and you’re going to do it. Even though we had been in the studio a ton throughout all of our individual careers or together, we knew that this was our shot at making the record that we wanted to. So there were a little bit of nerves with that, but other than that, the rest took care of itself. We’ve been traveling and playing for so long. That’s what we do. Once we finally got over the nerves of saying, ‘All right, we’re just in here playing the same chords and singing the same notes … this is no different than any other time we’ve been in the studio.’
Jeremy Little: To me the biggest challenge was trying to narrow the songs down. We walked in with about 200 songs, then that got narrowed down, and then that go narrowed down. Then all the sudden it’s 20 songs, and we’re sitting there in the studio trying to figure out what is going to represent us the best and what are the best songs. For me, that was a big challenge. We had all these note cards with song titles that mean something to some people and mean more to other people, so to narrow that down was a big challenge.
What can we expect on your debut project?
Matt Fleener: I feel like we went in and cut music that we wanted to and I feel that we cut the record that we can be proud of and hope the other people who have been involved with us can be proud of. We put our best foot forward and let creativity be the major part of this record.
The new single, ‘Always a Reason,’ is getting ready to hit radio in just a couple of weeks. Will there be a video for the song?
Matt Fleener: A good friend of ours came out on the road, brought her camera and filmed what we do when we travel: soundcheck, playing live, drinking beer [laughs]. We wanted the video to feel like that. Sometimes you get somewhere and it isn’t like it looks like on paper, but you do your job just like anyone else. We have yet to see the final version of it. We did a little fishing out on the lake, playing music and just hanging out!
For those who have never seen you guys live before, what can they expect if they go to a Dirt Drifters concert?
Diamond: It’s fun! It’s entertainment all around. Great songs, great entertainment … you definitely get your money’s worth!
Little: It’s definitely high energy. We enjoy it. We like to party [laughs]! Music is fun. We love what we do, and we hope that translates to people!
Matt Fleener: Two or three years ago, a lot of us were doing construction work or waiting tables, and we know that two years from now we could be doing that again. We’ve all been in the business long enough to know that the tables can turn, and we could be back on the bottom or somewhere in the middle. I feel that our live show is that. We play knowing that we’re blessed. You can be out in the sun roofing a house or installing windows, but tonight you’re getting to play music. That’s how I perform! Don’t hold back!
Meet The Dirt Drifters