Originally from El Paso, the Dirty River Boys wanted a name that best described not only where they come from, but also the sound they produce. The band's simple licks and Southern-fried acoustic performance can best be described as a ragged vibe that straddles the borders between Bluegrass, outlaw country and rock.
"We wanted something that represented both where we're from and sounded like the music we were creating," Cooper says. "The Rio Grande runs right through El Paso, and not that it's a dirty river, but we crossed that every day to play shows in Las Cruces."
So, is it difficult to get a rock edge with just acoustic instruments?
"No, not when us four get together, man," Cooper says with a laugh. "You'd think so. We never just planned the sound, we just fell into it."
When the band of Nino Cooper, Travis Stearns, Marco Gutierrez and Colton James started almost five years ago, they played nothing but small venues with little space; their sound came more from necessity than anything else. When they started playing larger venues, the Boys realized they had created something special.
Before recording the most recent album Science of Flight, the quartet already had two EPs, Long Cold Fall and Train Station, in their arsenal. The 15-song (plus one hidden track) Science of Flight was released in September 2012. And while the two EPs adhere closely to the band's live performances, they experimented a little on the album.
They not only tried coming up with their own techniques to produce a unique sound, they also brought a live rattlesnake into the recording studio for a rhythmic rattle to complete one of the tracks.
"We are still touring on what we have now," Cooper says. "We have a lot of new songs and we play them live occasionally. We do have plans to get back into the studio at some point and record our next record, but before that we are going to rerecord a song for a new single."
The Dirty River Boys perform Tuesday at Dosey Doe's Big Barn in The Woodlands, 25911 I-45 N. Showtime is around 8 p.m.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.