[caption id="attachment_18282" align="aligncenter" width="560"] The Dirt Daubers (l-r): Rod Hamdallah, JD Wilkes, Jessica Wilkes, Preston Corn
Photo: Joshua Black Wilkins[/caption]
If there were a position for the artist most likely to cause a ruckus, it would be JD Wilkes. As frontman for the Dirt Daubers, to say nothing of th' Legendary Shack Shakers, the man's known for being a growling rockabilly frontman, and absolutely captivates when he's on stage. If you live in the Kansas City area, you'll get several chances to catch Wilkes in the coming weeks: JD Wilkes & The Dirt Daubers perform at Springfield's Outland Ballroom on Sunday, February 15, and then Wilkes performs solo several times during the 2015 Folk Alliance International conference, which runs Wednesday, February 18 through Sunday, February 22. Wilkes was kind enough to answer a few questions for us via e-mail in advance of these shows.
How do you balance the expectations of those who saw you with the Shack Shakers with what you want to present with the Dirt Daubers?
I try to be honest to the music in both bands. Hopefully our true fans will appreciate the depth of our commitment to both projects and understand that "the music must win" in the end (as cliched as that sounds).
"It's about the music, man." (Said in a stoner voice)
Do you feel as if people expect you to be some sort of shirtless rockabilly madman?
Yes, but there are those who like the harmonica and banjo work too, as well as the lyrics and the songs I've worked out with my band mates. We're more faceted than what some knuckleheads can comprehend. But the tail shall not wag the dog & I'll keep doing what is true to my "vision".
God, I'm full of clichés today!
The Dirt Daubers' direction seems to be the roots of rockabilly itself. What acts inspired you to take this direction?
I'm inspired by everyone from Dock Boggs to Tom Waits to Magic Sam. Blues is the basis for everything I attempt. The Dirt Daubers allows me to focus more on a more well-rounded approach to music for music's sake. There I go again!
You're performing at the Folk Alliance International Conference. What things can folks expect from that performance?
Me, a banjo and a chair.
Playing as many shows as you do has to take its toll. When do you find the time to write?
There's nothing but downtime when you're on tour. Driving, waiting around before the gig ... days off in a hotel room while on tour and weeks at home when you're off the road. Thank goodness for iPhones and voice recorders! You can drive and think and dictate ideas all at the same time.
I just completed a novel, of sorts, too. 42,000 words linking all my song lyrics into one story. I'll publish it as soon as I can.
These are the things you can do if you allow yourself the freedom to live a life of creativity.
You can find more information about JD Wilkes and the Dirt Daubers at their website, as well as their Facebook page.
Rock Star Journalist has been suffering a little lately, as I've been working a lot of freelance for the Pitch in advance of the Folk Alliance International Conference. It's a five-day conference taking place in Kansas City this week, starting today, and running through Sunday. I had the fun job of interviewing some of the showcasing artists in order to help promote it, and that's pretty much sucked all of my energy lately. However, I've gotten to speak with people like actor / musician Ronny Cox about the new Robocop remake, ask BR5-49's Chuck Mead about his work on Broadway, and so much more. You can check out all my interviews (sans one, which hasn't run yet) after the jump, as well as details of how to attend the conference. * Christine Lavin on her work with Don White and laptop concerts * The Black Lillies' Cruz Contreras on the band's origins and building a fanbase * Guitar virtuoso Redd Volkaert on teaching and pleasing the audience * Chuck Mead talks Plowboy Records, his new album, and the Million Dollar Quartet * Whiskey Shivers' Andrew VanVoorhees on the band's evolving sound * Gangstagrass mastermind Rench on what bluegrass and hip-hop have in common * Ronny Cox on the differences between playing music and making movies The Folk Alliance International Conference starts today, February 19, and runs through Sunday, February 23. You can find me there Friday, February 21. More details can be found at the Folk Alliance website.