Produced by Grammy award-winner Matt Ross-Spang, the Memphis-based Dirty Streets have released their new album, Who's Gonna Love You
The Memphis-based rock band Dirty Streets release their new album, Who’s Gonna Love You - today. The trio spent the last two years of their pandemic-induced forced time off the road creating new music and finding a new home with the Los Angeles-based independent label, Blue Élan Records. The bluesy rockers joined the independent label’s eclectic roster, which includes Soul Asylum, KT Tunstall, Liz Brasher, America’s Gerry Beckley, Grammy-Award winning guitarist Eric Johnson, and more, earlier this year. The band will celebrate the album release on October 14th with hometown fans at Growlers in Memphis and look for them to be hitting the road in North America and Europe during 2023.
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.”
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.”