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MUSIC

Dirtfoot stomps back for show at LR

By JACK W. HILL SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

This article was published March 14, 2013 at 2:09 a.m.

Shreveport band Dirtfoot has called the music the group makes “gypsy punk country grumble boogie,” which the members figure should just about cover it.

“We’ve added some guys along the way and just keep on going,” says J. Bratlie, a banjo player and singer who formed the band in the aftermath of an April 2000 tornado, when a tree fell on his guitar-playing, songwriter neighbor Matt Hazelton’s house. The two became friends when they discovered mutual musical interests and began playing together. Other members are Scott Gerardy on saxophone and vocals, Nathan Woods on bass and Derek Russell on drums.

The band, which has performed in Little Rock, Fort Smith, Russellville and Fayetteville as well as the Wakarusa Festival in the Ozarks, released its first album, Entertain Me, in December 2006, followed by Bone Sessions in November 2008. The third Dirtfoot album, Live and in Prison, came out in December 2011.

“That started out as a video idea,” Bratlie says. “A guy told us our music sounded like outlaw stuff, like Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson pioneered, I guess, and we really loved the idea and it grew. We called the state prison in Homer, La., and they invited us to come out and do a show, and said we might as well record it and film it.

“So we did. And we called a friend of ours, Bill Sadler, who was an actor in The Shawshank Redemption, and asked him to play the warden. He was happy to help, even after we told him there was no money involved. We got a 35mm camera and made a short movie, and I guess it’slike our Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison sort of moment.”

In April 2012, Dirtfoot won the John Lennon Song Writing Competition at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and were then able to record a live version of “Bathroom Sink” on the John Lennon Mobile Recording Tour Bus.

Dirtfoot has opened shows or performed with Victoria Williams, Primus, Yonder Mountain String Band, Rev. Horton Heat, Isobel Campbell, Brady Blade and Buddy Flett of The Bluebirds. The band is going into Blade’s studio in April to start work on its next album.

Brooklyn-based opening act Yarn, which formed in 2006, has released five albums, the latest of which is Leftovers, Volume 1, containing tracks from studio sessions in 2006-2007. The group’s previous recording, Almost Home, was released last year. Fans of the band, who are called the “Yarmy,” responded tothe group’s Kickstarter request for financial aid in recording last year’s release, contributing more than onethird of the $15,000 required. The album was produced by Bil VornDick, whose credits include work with Alison Krauss, Ralph Stanley and Bob Dylan.

Singer-songwriter Blake Christiana leads Yarn, which has performed more than 150 shows each year since the band formed. The band records all its shows and puts them on-line for fans to freely access. The band’s website says the band’s sound owes as much to Gram Parsons and Earl Scruggs as to Jerry Garcia and Exile on Main Streetera Rolling Stones, and that the band follows in the tradition of The Flying Burrito Brothers and New Riders of the Purple Sage.

Yarn’s self-titled debut album in 2007 was followed by Empty Pockets in 2008; it was nominated for eight first-round nominations for Grammy Awards in 2009. The group’s third release, Come on In, came out in 2010.

Dirtfoot

Opening act: Yarn

9 p.m. today, Stickyz, 107

River Market Ave., Little

Rock

Admission: $7

(501) 372-7707

stickyz.com

Weekend, Pages 40 on 03/14/2013

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