The Dirty Beggars were one of those bands whose name I kept seeing, but I didn’t get to checking out. Luckily I caught them live – by pure accident – and was completely blown away, and they have become one of the first bands I’d recommend folk to go and see.
The family-fuelled five-piece are far from just a live band though, and released one of the best albums of 2011 with Bite The Bullet.
If I mentioned they incorporate violin, double bass, banjo, acoustic guitars, and wonderful harmonies, the word twee may come to your head, but this is no folk band. Instead of turning to Belle and Sebastian for influence they have looked to the deep south, and are producing a down and dirty bluegrass bonanza that is quite brilliant.
The band recently answered some questions for the blog, here’s what they had to say:
If you had to introduce folk to The Dirty Beggars in one tweet (140 c haracters or less) what would you say?
Someone once said in a (very nice) review that we were “four Scottish lads dressed in NME finest”… probably not that – there’s five of us for a start…
Your debut album was released to download on Dimerock Records last year. How did this association come around? and how big a boost was it to release with a label?
Kieran, Finn and Pete have known the director for years, and he just happened to be a fan. We’re very pleased to have his help, having no manager does have it’s advantages but it took us 6 months to release the album, without Dimerock it would have taken us a hell of a lot longer. They’ve put the album on most online retailers, so its reaching as wide an audience as possible.
Folk can now get a physical copy of the album, how can they get a hold of it?
It’ll be available to order on our website soon, and we’ll have them at gigs from now on. We’re planning to get them into independent record stores as soon as possible too.
What influenced your bluegrass sound? and what bluegrass music would you suggest for a novice to the genre like me?
For me, I’ve always been surrounded by it but I remember seeing Alison Krauss on TV a few years ago and thinking that was how I wanted to play. Kieran, Finn and Pete were kinda brought into it by sessions at the local pub and fell in love with it, and Stuart was like me I think, born and raised by it! I think the best place to start is younger bands – Old Crow Medicine Show, Nickel Creek, Gillian Welch, The Civil Wars… They’ve all done a lot for making the style popular. Old Crow in particular are a riot.
How would you describe your live show?
A damn dirty hoedown! When a place is full, our gigs are always great fun. They tend to be a noisy, raucous kind of night – lots of dancing, drinking and singing along!
You’re part of Celtic Connections again this year, what are your plans for the festival?
Other than the gig, we’re trying to make the most of whats going on. We’ve a few interesting collaborations in the pipeline for it – nothings decided yet, but it could be exciting! Theres some great bands on this year, the Punch Brothers and King Creosote in particular, as well as Rachel Sermanni, Washington Irving… We’re just gonna get as much drinking and playing done as we can.
What’s it like having several family members in the band?
It’s actually pretty great, theres quite a bit of bickering but in a way I think its better that its in the family – theres no real fall outs. Things get pretty wild sometimes though!
What were the highlights of 2011 for the band?
Too many to mention! We spent a month touring the states, which was a riot! We just rented a couple of cars and hit the road, it was great! Releasing the album, playing Celtic Connections, being spotted by MTV… it just keeps getting better!
Have you made any new year’s resolutions? or are there any you think other band members should have?
Nah, more of the same!
If your music could be the soundtrack to any film or TV show, which would you choose?
Oh Brother, Where Art Thou 2?
If you could steal a song from an unsigned act and have it as your own, which song would you take?
That’s a tough one. I can think of loads of songs we wish we’d written but nothing unsigned. Shoulders by Adam Holmes (who’s playing with us at Celtic) is an absolutely incredible track… probably that.
A random question from Aerials Up: How deep is your love?
So deep you can’t see the fucking bottom.
22nd January – Glasgow – ABC – £10
Hazy Recollections @ Celtic Connections w/ Washington Irving + Jonnie Common + Siobhan Wilson + Adam Holmes and the Embers