Memphis-Based Dirty Streets joins the Blue Élan roster with single, "Alright," and announce new album
The Memphis-based rock band Dirty Streets spent the last two years of their pandemic-induced forced time off creating new music and finding a new home with our label. The bluesy rock trio join an eclectic roster, which includes Soul Asylum, KT Tunstall, Liz Brasher, America’s Gerry Beckley, Grammy-Award winning guitarist Eric Johnson, and more. Their new album, Who’s Gonna Love You, is set for release on September 29 with the first musical taste, single “Alright,” out today. Listen to "Alright" today: https://dirtystreets.lnk.to/alright
In late 2019, when the band headed into the legendary Sam Phillips Recording studio to record Who’s Gonna Love You, with the Grammy-award winning Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, John Prine) in the producer’s chair, the band immediately felt the connection. “Matt Ross-Spang is like nobody I’ve ever worked with,” recalls singer/guitarist Justin Toland. “Bringing the songs into the studio, he really listened and sat with them. Most of the time he would be laying on the floor with his eyes closed, or hunched in the corner on a chair, just fully open. He was really into us performing them in the room while he just concentrated and soaked it all in before making any swift judgements.”
Justin continues, “There is a knack some people have for sensing a feeling in one bone of a song and building a whole skeleton. Matt is one of those people. He works more like an artist than a producer, shaping sounds and guiding without effort. It was just such a natural relationship between us that I felt like he was in the band the entire time we were recording. Some of the songs took an entirely different direction from the original concepts we had, but we were able to trust his insights, because they seemed to have an essence of purity and true creativity.”
Writing the album went quickly for the band, using forced time off of the road and their life experiences to carve out most of the material. Says Justin, “Our first single, ‘Alright,’ originally came out of the pressures of everyday life. Working, deadlines, disasters and all the other things you have to fight through. Into the pandemic it seemed to become more of an anthem for the pressure that we feel every day. This all happens while telling ourselves that we are making it just fine. In the end, that’s an attitude I try to stick with. I’m not in denial about what’s going down, but I just think of hardships as a means to grow and learn. The song is sort of a one-two punch against the world falling apart around you. I wanted to create a picture of tenacity against relentless storms so that I could mirror it in myself.”
Scan the press on soul-groove outfit Dirty Streets and you’ll see numerous references to rock, soul, and dirty-blues touchstones like the Faces, Humble Pie, Otis Redding, CCR, and more. Spin Dirty Streets’ records and you’ll hear all of those echoes, plus others—some jazz timing, some acoustic balladry. But by and large, what you’ll hear is a raw, rowdy blend of Motown, Stax, and rock—the pure American blood-beat moving through the heart of Memphis groove. The trio recently released “Good Pills,” a song which appears in the Netflix series Sex Education, resulting in over 1 million streams for the track!
Austin-born Justin Toland (guitar/vocals) found his own musical food early through his father, a classic-rock aficionado who turned Justin on to the Stones, Creedence, soul music and the Stax sound. At 17 Toland moved to Memphis and met Thomas Storz (bass), a native of the city, through mutual friends; the pair found common musical ground and began playing groove-grounded rock with a series of temporary drummers. Andrew Denham (drums), a Shreveport-born drummer and British hard-rock fan, joined up with Storz and Toland in 2007.
Albums followed—Portrait of a Man (2009), Movements (2011), Blades of Grass (2013), White Horse (2015), Distractions (2018), and the live Rough and Tumble (2020), drawn from an in-house performance for the DittyTV streaming music service—all steeped in the raw rock-soul groove that serves as the band’s taproot, the musical core from which all of its explorations still proceed. And within that core, too, is the element that gives their music, the music they love and play, its unique character.
“Soul and blues music is about testifying,” says Toland. “To me, that’s great songwriting. When it’s good, it’s good because it’s true, because it’s authentic.”