Dirty Bourbon River Show has been rocking out of New Orleans, Louisiana, with their brand of gypsy circus brass stylings for the past five or six years. In that time, they were able to assemble a cast of highly skilled players and multi-instrumentalists, made easier by the city's high supply of such musicians.
For a brass band, these cats look more like a rock band -- in size. Most bands in this vein seem to be known for heavy brass sections and incredible numbers.
When I addressed the band about this, trombonist and ringleader Charlie covered all of the bases: "One day we will have the money and space to have extra players on the road with us. ... But we do the best we can with what we've got. That's what's important."
The band is unusually prolific. They have released two albums a year over the span of four years. For many bands, that would be exhausting to accomplish.
Trombonist Charlie Skinner seems to have summed the process up well, claiming that it's "not exhausting at all. We are young men with no wives, no children, and no other jobs. We simply did our jobs and worked hard at our passion."
Dirty Bourbon River Show has shared the stage with some pretty incredible acts, like The Cure. When asked who their other favorite acts are that they've played with, one stood out, almost across the board: Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Other duly notables include Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Bob Log III, The Fishtank Ensemble, and they seemed to be stoked to get the chance to play with Outkast come October.
For a band that hasn't even been around for 10 years, they started out playing more than 10 shows a year (Noah claims that they play closer to 200 now). Is that more tiring or exhilarating?
"I'm not gonna lie," says saxophonist Matt Thomas. "We busted our asses and sacrificed and suffered to get where we are now, and we're still very much building. It's all a matter of perspective, but I wouldn't rather be doing anything else. Every time I start to get worn down and jaded, the universe tosses us a show that just blows me away and reaffirms why I'm on this crazy ride in the first place. One day you're scraping by off the dollar menu, then the next you're sitting down to a six-course prime rib dinner ... you never know! Sometimes it's feast or famine, but it never lacks for adventure and interest. I've met more amazing people, seen more new places, played more shows, grown more to be the person and musician I want to be, and learned more positive life lessons over the past three years than in much of my life before that, and I know I couldn't have done it any other way... and it definitely wouldn't have been as fun."
Dirty Bourbon River Show is scheduled to play on Thursday, August 7 at Last Exit Live with Bad Cactus Brass Band.
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