When you look out at the faces in the crowd of a D7 show, it’s more than just a little indicative of what kind of show you’re going to get.
Amy Hughes and the Dirty Seven like to describe their style of music as, “sorta rock, sorta country.” Some people call it, “country for people that don’t like country.” Both descriptions hit the mark.
Among the sea of faces, there are a few Metallica shirts, certainly some snakeskin boots as well as a ton of Pat Green loving college kids, and believe it or not- a group of Harley owners who bring their hog down for nearly every show. And the eclectic nature of the crowd is just the way these musicians prefer it.
“I like that we can’t be fit into a neat little box,” says Amy Hughes, whose musical influences range from Janis Joplin to Jewel to Wade Bowen. “It’s more fun that way.”
She’d like to say that she’s a pretty big portion of the country in the band, having grown up in Nashville, sitting in the crowd while her dad played his own traditional country music. Because of this influence, Amy decided at an early age that playing the guitar and singing her songs was hands down the path for her. Contributing the raspy, infectious powerhouse vocals, as well as the majority of the songwriting in the band, she formed the group with fellow country music lover- lead guitar player, Joey Wells- whose gritty tone and southern style are inspired by Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes as well as Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Together, Amy and Joey created the first album in the band’s repertoire, 45 South, which boasts both catchy songwriting and unique melodies combined to make for a debut album that’s actually worth paying attention to.
Not too long after the completion of 45 South, they joined up with drummer Jason Malmstrom, who proved to be just the right amount of progressive rock that the band needed. It’s pretty obvious that Danny Carey of TOOL is the most influential musician in Jason’s style, and that suits the music just fine.
“I really dig Jason’s style,” says Joey. “He brings a level of musicianship to our music that we need, and he pretty much completes that link between country and rock and roll in our songs.”
But you won’t catch Jason overloading the crowd with excessive flash or overdone stunts. Instead, he displays a quiet confidence that draws your attention to the blaringly obvious fact that he is one of the most technically sound drummers around.
At last having snagged the perfect drummer, they only needed one more piece to complete the puzzle. After several shows and just a few members later, the band finally found that last piece in bassist Kevin Johnson. His musical style is distinctly metal, having grown up loving Pantera and Metallica, and he adds the final dimension of rock to top off the eclectic style that perfectly compliments the Dirty Seven sound. Together they make country music that rocks, music that continuously leaves their audience not just wanting- but needing more. Between Amy’s refreshingly honest lyrics and the bands unapologetic mix of country and rock, the Dirty Seven is capturing a diverse audience that is quickly becoming a following.
“[The band] is like Jewel meets Janis Joplin with a little Hank 3 thrown in,” says Sandra Bell of Huntsville, Texas.
And more than one fan has exclaimed the fact that it is about time a girl band came along that could actually stand up to the Wade Bowens and the Cross Canadian Ragweeds of Texas/Red Dirt Music.
Feeling well established and itching to produce more music to put into the hands of that enthusiastic following, D7 is now in studio working on their first cd as a group. They have already shared the stage with such well known artists as Bleu Edmondson, Roger Creager, Jimmy Kaiser, Bonnie Bishop, Matt Powell and Granger Smith. Combined with the determination to keep their music honest as well as the overall infectiously witty nature of the group, it seems that Amy Hughes and D7 are destined to continue to share that stage with musicians they’ve always looked up to. And whether the band is labeled Country, Rock, Red Dirt, Americana, or Texas Country doesn’t matter so much to them as long as the Dirty Seven gets to play. And the songs they play are something you’re going to want to hear.
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