"I like the gritty sound that reminded me of outfits like Black Oak Arkansas and Foghat..." - New Artist Radio
"Heart Full of Dirt meets AC/DC and ups the ante one Aerosmith and then throws in their loaded dice of Americana with a big Cheshire smile." - Smother.net
Hold on. What year are we in? 1978? Why all the references to these dinosaurs of classic rock? Aren't we in some other century here? You know, sampled beats, baseball caps on backwards and pointing at the floor and all that? What about the advancement of our collective musical consciousness, the goal to move beyond leather jackets and Marshall stacks?
"There is no life beyond leather jackets and Marshall stacks," says Kevin McKeon, Heart Full of Dirt guitarist. "We lost interest in popular music about the time Prince started prancing around. Does that make us neanderthals? Hey, you bet."
You won't get any apologies about style from Heart Full of Dirt, a band that glories in mining the signature elements of classic rock to craft new, twisted elegies of American life - with amps on 11. HFOD uses a combustive formula of hard rock, with influences of heartland Americana evident in the arrangements. It's not unusual in a Heart Full of Dirt song to hear a mandolin in lock-step with a Strat ("Roadhouse"), or a soft acoustic guitar passage in the center of a blistering rocker about a murder/suicide ("Crow").
"A band enamored of the harder edges of what is now called classic rock, writing songs that would not have been out of place spewing out of some spent eight-track machine in a 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner." - Pop Matters
"Exactly," McKeon says. Okay. So that must mean vapid lyrics about girls, parties and choppers, right? Here's this Harley guy on the cover, song titles like "Bitch Slap," and "Drunk by Noon." But on first listen, one realizes that every song on American Road moves far beyond the obvious, always juxtaposing the insipid with the cleverly insightful.
"Just about all of us were around when Kennedy was assassinated," says Mike Regan, singer. "So if anything, we may have a slightly different perspective and a few different priorities that we want to address than somebody, say, 20 years younger." Crass irreverence and sardonic humor infuse songs like "Registered Sex Offender" ("I like 'em all - race, creed or gender - I'm a registered sex offender") while a song like "Cactus and Skulls" is told from the perspective of a coyote running aliens across the Mexican border. Unpaid by his client, he decides to leave his cargo in the back of the truck to die. Another song is a story told by a hitchhiker forced to abandon his farm and picked up by a driver in a Mercedes who offers him a ride, but no job ("He shipped 'em all overseas"). "Innocent Bystander" talks about injustice in society ("Three shots in Dallas from the textbook tower, Jackie saw the power...") and the suffering of the silent majority.
"Clever social satire disguised with a blue collar wrapper." - New Artist Radio.
Three members of the band - Regan, McKeon and guitarist Jim Coyle, met 25 years ago in Santa Maria, California. "We just didn't have it back then," Coyle says. "Aspirations, maybe, and a concept, but pretty much talent-free." The teaming resulted in a four-track, ten-song cassette titled "Heart Full of Dirt."
The cassette sat in Coyle's drawer for about 15 years. The three left California and scattered to different parts of the country.
"In 1996 Coyle calls us up and says 'hey - let's get the band back together'," says Regan. "He's in Connecticut, I'm in Houston, and McKeon's in Washington state. We've got jobs, families, how are we supposed to play music together?" To make it even more difficult, McKeon recruited friend and bassist Jim Jones, entrenched in rural Virginia. So the band's 1998 self-titled debut cd was recorded in four different studios across the U.S. Six years later, American Road was recorded completely in drummer/engineer Fred Krumins' basement in Lynnwood, Washington, with the various members traveling to McKeon's part of the woods to participate. The sound, on both records, is completely cohesive, the sound of a seasoned band playing together for years.
"The musicianship is first rate." - New Artist Radio.
So, the story of American Road is a winding one, but a rewarding ride for HFOD's small but growing cadre of fans, and at least for the band itself. "Just to make it this far," Regan says, "Hey, it's a gift." Prince lovers beware though, HFOD won't be giving up their Marshall stacks anytime soon.
"A sense of humor permeates the album and gives it a familiar feel that band newcomers will enjoy and love." - Smother.net
"If Harleys came with cd players, this would be the soundtrack." - Impact Press
"They look like a bunch of guys I wouldn't want to see hitch-hiking after midnight near the local prison, but if I ended up at a roadhouse outside of town and these guys were on stage I'd (still probably s--t my pants but) have just as much fun as everyone else in the room." - Mote Mgzn
Check out the artist's website:
2. Bitch Slap
3. American Road
4. If I Find Jose
5. Ride the Highway
7. Stop Right Here
8. Cactus and Skulls
9. It's All About You
10. Drunk by Noon
11. Registered Sex Offender
12. Innocent Bystander