Ned and the Dirt
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Ned and the Dirt

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
DJ Rock Alternative




"SXSW: Here's to Meaning it!"

Now, it’s no secret that bluesy rock is not really my thing, but checking out new bands is. I went to the party and got to see three guys who love their music, playing on a tiny back porch (complete with a step stool to help people awkwardly get into the house for drinks and snacks while the band was playing).

I saw these musicians entertain the gamut of kidsters, hipsters, and oldsters. When neighbors walked or biked by, Ned called to welcome them to the yard, offering pizza and beer. The band had CDs and shirts for sale on a card table, and Ned’s stepmom (Kiya Heartwood, another great musician—it’s Austin!) walked around with a jar to collect tips (AKA gas money). Ned had a banner on “stage” with the band name and promoted merch in between songs. After the show, he hugged friends and family and headed straight to the merch table and talked to people there.

Again, this all happened in a backyard at 5pm on a Sunday. The band was nice to everyone, and I could genuinely feel their appreciation for the people who attended their rock-n-roll potluck.

Regardless of the style of music, Ned and the Dirt are my favorite kind of band—the kind that works hard, has fun, lets it show, and gives its all on the road. SXSW can bring out the unusual and wonderful in people who care enough and are brave enough to connect their music, in person, to a bunch of strangers.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I love it. I love the enthusiasm of a band enjoying itself. We don’t all have the energy or the means to play 5+ shows at SXSW—there are kids and jobs (or lack of job) and, well, life. But when you’re in a place in your life to play a zillion times a day, I say go for it. Play on the corner in the morning, in the club at night. Just play. Play and mean it. You’ll inspire the rest of us. - Erin Walter - Austin-American Statesman

"Album Review: Ned and the Dirt - Giants"

Every once in a while life gets in the way. You try to make the time for things and there just doesn't seem to be enough time for everything. I've had Ned and the Dirt's latest album lingering in my iPod for a couple of weeks now. It soundtracked a few hours back and forth to work, my daughter heard it enough to start singing along. I kept meaning to find this hour to sit and write about it, then I realised already it has quietly snuck into my psyche, and has been consistently rewarding me with each play. Opener 'Physical Proof' is a seductive and beguiling song. It is a a plea for desire, to fulfil lovers, which grows from an electro-tinged landscape that Justin Vernon used so well with his last Bon Iver album, and also Gayngs. 'Physical Proof''s guitar dances around, twistng and turning on a mesmeric refrain before the last stanza when Ned Durret leans back and unleashes a sonic, kaleidoscopic boom that scorches your eyebrows off and climatically fulfils the song's desires.

Looser, dirtier, 'Boyhood Pride' swaggers into view holding "a broken beer bottle". It is a strutting, raw blast of a song. Like a long and slow dance from a stranger that will forever be etched on your groin. 'Boyhood Pride' has a Faces groove that simply bludgeons you into glorious submission like the smile on Edward Norton's face after a thrilling beating from Tyler Durden. We are then taken back down into the long, hot, steamy night with 'Turkish Delight'. Hands are "on your thigh" as things are "heating up". Durret hits us up with a wickedly pure falsetto that only heightens the song's tension, as that hot night builds from a glance, a smile, to "me coming home with you". All this is soundtracked in a barely controlled crescendo of noise that peaks with a carnal howl and then the breath is exhaled, before we are riding out on some magnificent, epic noise. Like the Afhghan Whigs at their best, 'Turkish Delight' similarly blinds you with its depth and prowess.

Ordinarily after such a ride as 'Turkish Delight', oft what follows has a sense of anti-climax, yet Ned and the Dirts show how good they are, that 'Dear Liza' more than stands tall in the incendiary wake. It is powerfully epic as Durrett truly unleashes his powerful voice. 'Dear Liza' simply absorbs you, daring you to look away, yet you can't as the view is utterly entrancing. 'Dear Liza' has a sense of drama that I've not felt in a long time. A distant cousin to Live's 'Lightning Crashes', but 'Dear Liza' is no rehash and has a timeless classicism to it. 'Dear Liza' spills into 'The River', yet another emotive, skyscraping song that sweeps you up and places you so deep inside that you never want to leave its embrace. It has a harder edge, pushing back and forth, then up into the stratosphere as riffs the size of Jupiter stomp around you and that sky is filled with brilliant flashes of sound. And yet, through it all, there is a masterful undercurrent of tribal restraint, quietly bringing you down to the song's end.

Then we are back with the bourbon and screaming electric blues with 'Sugar'. It takes you to the bar, pours that sweet liquid straight down your throat, gets you dancing with her, and then has you taking her to the sweetest oblivion all the while, "not even knowing your name". Then all to quickly we find ourselves at the last song of 'Giants'. 'In Ronda' is a is a wonderful waltz of marching drums, Durrett's impassioned, raw voice and a tale of "throwing it all away". Then it takes you dancing back up into out atmosphere, gliding amongst the clouds and starlight, closing 'Giants' perfectly. In this day, where there are no restraints of time or quality, 'Giants' is a wonderfully powerful and masterful album that embeds itself deeply into you. If I have one complaint, it's that it is over too quickly, so I promise you will press play again and again, just to be fulfilled. I am so glad that I finally found that hour.
- The Sound of Confusion Blog


"4 out of 5 stars!"

Ned and the Dirt is a band who writes music that fills the room.

“Physical Proof,” the first song on Giants, is a good example of Ned and the Dirt’s ability to take an intimate feel and extend it outward. Its guitar melody is ruminating, its lyrics contemplative, personal, and perhaps cryptic. Ned is singing about one particular girl and how he personally feels about her, as the instrumentation builds, and as the instrumentation builds, so does Ned’s lyrics. The song ends not only with a more exhilarating guitar part, but also with Ned’s vocals reaching a crescendo, as the song is now about how the girl affects not just him, but her entire surroundings, namely the room.

Ned’s voice is one that works best on an emotional level. Take it from the man himself.

“Music gives me a release I can’t get anywhere else, and because of that I form a special connection with my bandmates, who help me make it, and the fans, who give us an external reason to create it,” Ned said of his band’s sound, “My ideal listener is someone that is willing to connect with the band and the music we’re creating.”

For Jane Hearn, a fan who was front and center for Ned and the Dirt’s live performance, Ned makes it easy to connect.

“There’s a very raw quality to his performance that you can’t help but be fascinated by,” Jane said. Jane and the audience were especially moved by the last song of the set, “In Ronda,” where Ned sung without the use of a mic to add to the levels of raw emotion in the song. In “In Ronda,” the background guitar draws you into a layered song about lament and every day life.

Complexity is important to Ned and the Dirt, and though Ned is the driving force behind the direction and content of the band’s music, the end result isn’t something he could achieve by himself. Ned Durrett is joined by lead guitar Trey Lewis, bass player Cameron Powell, and drummer Mike De Kozlowski.

As Trey says, “Ned usually writes the songs…and then we ‘bandify’ whatever he brings to us…”

About the song “In Ronda” itself, Trey says, “Ned came…with 4 verses over this waltz progression. Together, the band talked about what the feeling and the soul of that song was, and then we made it happen piece by piece.” From the beginning guitar waltz to when the drum picks up the repeating rhythm, the song works.

While some songs like “In Ronda” begin somewhat delicately, others, such as “Sugar,” erupt almost raucously from the very beginning.

All and all, Ned and the Dirt is a band that takes their music seriously, but isn’t out to redesign the wheel. Listeners that are turned off by music that is abstract, experimental, and dense need not fear. But at the same time, Ned and the Dirt isn’t out to reuse the same pop rock conventions of what you’d hear on the radio.

“My ideal listener,” Ned says, “is someone that is willing to connect with the ban and the music we’re creating. Our music is for active listeners who can appreciate the levels that we built into the music.”

Trey agrees.

“We put a good bit of thought into the parts we write, and while I think that translates well for any listener, I think those who try to match that level of thought are the ones who understand (and ultimately enjoy) the music better.”

The amount of feeling and attention Ned and the Dirt places into their songwriting, and the organic, coarse feeling they instill into their playing makes them a band to watch out for. - Wordkrapht

"REVIEW: Ned & The Dirt's GIANTS"

Now called Ned and the Dirt, the band has released its first album, Giants, and it doesn’t disappoint. Fans familiar with the band’s repertoire will be happy to hear several favorites on the album, including the “sexy song” (otherwise known as “Turkish Delight”) and the crowd-pleasing “Sugar,” as well as entirely new material, like my personal favorite on the album, “In Ronda.”

“Physical Proof” kicks off Giants with a clever balance of Ned’s powerful vocals with Trey Lewis’ guitar. “Closer” follows, a solid tune that on its own serves as a good representation of the band’s overall sound. Next is the gritty and memorable “Boyhood Pride”, which was recently featured on Stereofly’s April mixtape. “Three boys were walking. / Two boys came home.” The darker territory “Boyhood Pride” drifts into is well-served by its production; Kenny McWilliams’ work on this song, and the album as a whole, is fantastic. Also a standout is the aforementioned “In Ronda,” which has a slightly different, more hopeful sound than some of its companions on Giants. It rounds out the album nicely, and, as I imagine it’s one of the band’s newer songs, makes me excited for what they will do next. - The Stereofly Magazine

"Ned & the Dirt Get Gritty at New Brookland Tavern"

"Giants" is an impressive, expansive sound that encompasses ’80s pop (the David Sylvian-like opening of “Physical Proof”), white soul (the “Sarah Smile”-era Hall and Oates-influenced “Turkish Delight”), ’90s emo balladry (the stately, overwrought “Closer”), and ’70s riffs (the Zep-via-Soundgarden lite-stomp of “The River”). With Kenny McWilliams at Archer Avenue providing the production expertise, the styles and sounds flow seamlessly across the eight tracks, highlighted by Durrett’s powerfully expressive’s unusual to hear so many different genres encapsulated in one act. But they play the songs in such an inspired fashion it’s hard not to be captivated by the beauty of the results. - The Free-Times

"Otis Taylor's Pick of the Week"

Ned and the Dirt, formerly known as Ned Durrett and the Kindly Gents, will release “Giants,” a record that is all over the place. Making no mistake, the preceding phrase was a compliment. Rock, Americana, blues, blue-eyed soul, Durrett, accompanied by an articulate working band, has documented the strength of his songwriting range. The key to presenting such robust ideas is making sure they remain cohesive, and “Giants,” recorded at Archer Avenue Studio, succeeds. Durrett’s falsetto on “Turkish Delight” is nothing short of gripping — and pleasantly surprising. It’s a risk that was worth taking. “Closer,” a clever rock song about a lover’s dwindling influence, has him closer to the radio than to burying his career in, well, the dirt.

- The State Newspaper


"Giants" (2013)