The Dirty Guv’nahs
I don’t believe that things happen by chance… incredible things happen when people work hard, live humbly, and give credit where credit is due. You just gotta stay curious and dig in.”
– James Trimble, lead singer – The Dirty Guv’nahs
That sentiment rings true to the curious journey of Knoxville, Tennessee’s favorite sons, The Dirty Guv’nahs, who came together on a lark in 2006 to perform just a single show. That one, short, inauspicious set however, led to a series of extraordinary events—a life-changing path for these six UT, Knoxville grads—but still just the prologue to a story that continues to unfold.
The Dirty Guv’nahs new CD, Youth Is In Our Blood, produced by two-time Grammy-winner Justin Guip (Levon Helm, The Black Crowes) at Helm’s renowned barn/studio in Woodstock, NY is the follow-up to their eponymous 2009 debut. It is a hot, roiling stew of gritty, soul-influenced rock ‘n’ roll, mixed with a hefty helping of roots, funk, blues and country. It’s the sound that has earned them the distinction of being voted Knoxville’s Best Ban —three years in a row—by the readers of that city’s alternative weekly, Metro Pulse.
Considering the accolades the band has received in its hometown region, it is downright ironic that not one of the Guvs had planned to pursue music as a career. In fact, lead singer, James Trimble, who now holds a master’s degree in public administration was preparing for med school when one of his UT roommates, Guvs bass player Justin Hoskins, committed his “band” to perform for a friend’s benefit concert. The only problem? There was no band to speak of.
With barely two weeks to prepare Hoskins (who just finished his master’s in business) recruited Trimble, and his younger brother Aaron Hoskins (the band’s only remaining undergrad). Chris Doody (who also has a master’s in business), had recently returned to Tennessee and signed on. Another roommate, a Knoxville man-about-town known as The Guv’nah, introduced them to guitarist Michael Jenkins (whose degrees now include a bachelor’s of science in nuclear engineering and a master’s in business). “We were four guitarists and bongos,” Trimble recalls. “I became the singer by default. By the third practice Chris moved over to keyboards. None of us had ever played in a band, we really didn’t know what we were doing.”
Nevertheless, something clicked and that show led to another gig. Then Trimble graduated and left the country to travel for the summer. He returned a few months later a changed man, with a passion to play and write songs. The band reunited and people responded to the music and the energy. Soon there were more offers and bigger venues even though shows were sporadic as band members continued in their academic pursuits.