Dirty River Boys Use Live Rattler to Give Band's Sound Real Bite

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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.

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