The Dirty Guv’nahs Turn Pro With “Hearts”

Let’s get one thing straight from the get-go: The Dirty Guv’nahs are much more than your typical college-town band.

the dirty guv'nahs,, tunes from the dam

The Dirty Guv’nahs

The Knoxville, Tenn., sextet proves that on Hearts on Fire (Summertown). Frontman James Trimble and bandmate Michael Jenkins wrote all 11 songs on the record, which was released on March 11. Each song tells a story through evocative lyrics, aided by talented musicians and tight production. Naturally, it’s folksy, rootsy and oftentimes deep. But it also has its fun. Though The Guv’nahs transcend the college feel, the Athens, Ga., influence is inescapable. I also heard Counting Crows, some U2 and The Stones. Mostly though, it’s The Dirty Guv’nahs, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Here’s a recap of the tracks:

“Where We Stand” is a mid-tempo boy-gets-girl-back tune that foreshadows a recurring theme throughout the album of dealing with fear. “Every generation has a past/I don’t want to be a soldier for the last” is a pretty nifty lyric.

Though I was already somewhat familiar with The Guv’nahs, I truly discovered them when I first heard “Morning Light” and saw the video. I subsequently gushed about it here. Go watch, listen and read in case you missed it.

“Lovin’” is a good ol’ tempo tune about young love and devotion. The band conveys a Rolling Stones feel with a Motown vibe. “I’ll make a living out of lovin’ you.” It makes you want to hug somebody you love (or would like to).

I especially liked “Ever Start to Wonder.” This fun upbeat jam tune features a nifty slide guitar and piano part. Bonus points since the lyric mentions Market Square in Knoxville, which is a pretty cool place to hang out for a while. According to the band’s web site, it was written in 2010 and reincarnated for this album.

“Dear Jamie” is a true tearjerker. “And it feels like my whole world’s falling apart/And I don’t mind dying, baby don’t break my heart.” If you haven’t figured it out by now, Trimble and Jenkins are gifted writers. Think U2 on this one, all the way down to the MLK Jr., speech dubbed in at the end. The slide guitar weeps.

“Slow Down Easy” delivers the best line on the album: “In the times you need me most/I leave you standing with my ghost.” Loose, groovy and soulful describe it best.

“Tarwater (The Fighter)” is an inspiring anthem about perseverance. It’s based on the life of USA Olympic Gold Medalist Davis Tarwater, who failed to make the Olympic team twice, retired, then came out of retirement to win a Gold Medal in 2012. Take this one along with you go on that run in the morning. Find some steps and go all Rocky Balboa.

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“Under Control” has a cool driving groove. It was my least favorite on the record, but it’s not a throwaway by any means.

“Three Little Angels” features  Amy Helm, daughter of troubadour Levon Helm. “Angels” is a cautionary tale about trying to go through struggles alone. It’s the most acoustic song on the record.

the dirty guv'nahs, tunes from the dam,

The Dirty Guv’nahs (Photo: Marc Millman)

“Someone to Love” is the song to play when it’s way later at night than it needs to be, and you’re sitting alone in a motel room with a bunch of empties far away from home. Again, the slide guitar is impeccably moving, and the B-3 compliments it nicely. If it didn’t have so much competition, this would certainly be the encore for the band’s live show.

“Canyons.” This ballad about yearning for love ends with the characters feeling as much desperation as when it began. Consider the chorus: “I just want to be loved/That’s all I’m holding on to.” Now, consider the last lines: “At the bottom of it all/That’s where you’ll find hope.” About the song, Trimble wrote, “I spend way too much time comparing myself to other people. Insecurity and jealousy that I didn’t even know existed seeps from the corners of my heart and drives me deep into a canyon where the only thing that I know how to do is surf the internet, watch TV, build up walls, and silently or verbally compete with other people who are going through the exact same struggles that I am. That’s not exactly how I want to live the rest of my life.”

Struggles notwithstanding, Trimble and the rest of The Dirty Guv’nahs raised the musical bar with Hearts on Fire. Get it. Visit the band’s web site.

The Dirty Guv’nahs are:
James Trimble, vocal
Cozmo Holloway, lead guitar
Kevin Hyfantis, keyboards, BGV
Justin Hoskins, bass
Aaron Hoskins, drums
Michael Jenkins, rhythm guitar.

Making The Dirty Guv’nahs “Morning Light” Video

Badland Pictures Brings
The Dirty Guv’nahs
New Single to Life

Spring Break 2014 now has an anthem.

If you haven’t heard “Morning Light” by The Dirty Guv’nahs, you need to. It’s an outstanding dance tune with catchy lyrics and an infectious guitar hook. But to appreciate it fully check out the video. And we promise, you’re not watching it just once. So watch it now, then read all about it, below:

“Morning Light” is the first single off The Dirty Guv’nahs’ forthcoming album Hearts on Fire, which is scheduled for a March release. The Knoxville-based band is made up of front man James Trimble, with Michael Jenkins and Cozmo Holloway on guitar, and Chris Doody on keyboards. Brothers Justin and Aaron Hoskins anchor the rhythm section on bass and drums, respectively.

You can download the song for free at the band’s Web site.

scott murphy

Scott Murphy

But let’s get to the video, which was produced by Badland Pictures, also based in Knoxville. We recently spoke with Badland Co-founder Scott Murphy, and he gave us the whole scoop on this 3:50 minute piece of pretty cool art.

BDUSA: Who came up with the concept for the video?

ScottFor this video, as with every video for The Dirty Guv’nahs, I worked with my producing partner, Matt Dearman, and the band’s bassist, Justin Hoskins. The three of us started meeting in August about doing a video for the band’s first single off their new album, Hearts on Fire.

BDUSA: What were some your initial thoughts about what you wanted the video to convey?

dirty guv'nahs badland pictures

Scott said, “The guys are very down to earth and don’t take themselves too seriously.” We have no idea why he would say that.

Scott: We knew that we wanted something that was incredibly fun and made you immediately want to watch it again. So basically we started listing off a bunch of ideas that we liked and thought were funny. The band, in my opinion, is one of the most fun bands on the planet. The guys are very down to earth and don’t take themselves too seriously. We wanted to showcase that fun energy along with the theme of the song: having the freedom to live the life you want to live. I’m very happy with how the final product turned out, and, I have to say, this was by far the most fun I’ve ever had shooting a video.

BDUSA: We’re blown away by how fast moving the video is. How long did the shooting process take?

Scott: We shot a total of seven days on the video, five days in Knoxville and two days on the road with the band. The concert footage comes from their most recent show at the Georgia Theatre in Athens. Overall, we had about twelve hours of footage for a three and a half minute video, way more than any other music video I’ve directed.

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BDUSA: How did you ever edit all that footage down to create the finished product?

dirty guv'nahs

The Dirty Guv’nahs video contains 400 cuts.

Scott: The editing process was much harder. I spent weeks going through footage, finding what worked the best. The final time spent in editing was about four weeks, including a three-day editing binge without any sleep. Totally worth it. All in all, there are about 400 different cuts in the video.

BDUSA: Okay, tell us some interesting facts about the “Morning Light” video:

Scott: For having quite a large scope, the production had a very small footprint. The crew consisted of myself and my producer, Matt. This allowed us to run from location to location without causing a big scene. Most of the crazy clothes the band members wear in the video come from Cozmo and his friends. We just kept a whole wardrobe of weird hats and shirts with us at all times and would decide what to wear at each location.

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BDUSA: We know the scene of James hanging out of a car was green-screened, right?

Scott: Many of the setups were a lot more dangerous than they appear. For example, (in that scene) James was standing on the footstep of a 4-Runner and holding onto the car frame. I was standing out of the sunroof with a very expensive camera, and we had the driver go about 45 MPH while James sang along. We didn’t have any harnesses keeping us safe. Which, in hindsight, is pretty stupid. Also, the fireworks explosion that happens on the very last note of the song was a surprise to everyone, specifically the people standing right next to the blast. That was not supposed to happen. Amazingly though, no one was injured and nothing was damaged. I would definitely do it all over again.

BDUSA: Of course, every video has to have girls. The girls in this video seem to be naturally comfortable on screen. Are they just good actors or what?

badland pictures dirty guv'nahs

Explosions, girls, dancing… It’s tough to be a rock star.

Scott: The girls that appear in this video are fantastic and gorgeous. They are Lauren Johnson (aka LJ), Emily Blocher, and Meghan Alcorn. LJ and Emily are some of my best friends and great actresses who I’ve worked with in the past. I’ve known Meghan for years, and she’s known a lot of the guys in the band for much longer. It’s a very relaxed environment, so everyone is comfortable with one another.

BDUSA:  Where did you get the guy driving the truck? What about the old guy?

Scott: The older man who appears in the video is James, who lives next door to the band’s practice space. James is hilarious and loves to put on a show for the camera. The guy driving the truck is Jeff Ailshie. Jeff is a great actor I’ve worked with in the past, and I was really glad we could get him in this video. Many of the other people that appear in this video are folks that I’ve worked with in the past as well. Matt Dearman, my producing partner, appears quite a few times in the video. His main spotlight comes when he breaks the TVs with Cozmo. (Fun Fact: Matt has appeared in every single music video by The Dirty Guv’nahs, including a starring role in “Fairlane.”) The guys that dance with the band in the costume shop are brothers Joe and Sam King. They are some of the funniest people on the planet. And finally, my good friend Eric Savage appears a few times, specifically jumping over the fireworks towards the end of the video. I was incredibly happy to put so many people I love in this video.

dirty guv'nahs morning light badland pictures

If we had to tell you, you wouldn’t understand.

BDUSA: The gumballs and the milk. Do those ideas just hit you in the night, or did the band say, “whatever we do, we have to destroy gumballs and milk”?

Scott: I love destroying stuff. I think that’s just part of being a male. It’s so much fun to smash things that you’re not supposed to. Especially when you have a slow motion camera, you just want to break stuff. I made a list of about 25 items that I wanted to use, either to break or to showcase. I filed it away until shooting. Then we made the decisions on what to break on the day of. The milk was something I grabbed on the way to our first location. The gumballs were bought the night before at Walmart. The TVs took a little more prep time. If I’m lucky enough to keep making videos, I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be breaking many more things in the future.

BDUSA: Finally, tell us a bit about you.

badland pictures dirty guv'nahs

Hey VMAs…

Scott: I was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn. I attended the University of Tennessee and graduated in 2011. In 2010, I founded Badland Pictures with my friend and producing partner, Matt Dearman. Together we’ve made videos for HBO and have had works air on MTV and CMT. Recently, I finished production on my first feature film, Anvil Electric. It tells the story of a group of twenty-somethings in East Tennessee who struggle to balance love, settling down, and finding their place in the universe amidst the pressures of traditional and religious Southern values. The movie is currently in editing and will be released later in 2014. For more information on Anvil Electric, or to see some of our past work, visit

(Photos are screenshots from the video.) Finest Craft Beers from America’s Best Micro Breweries- 728x90 banner