The Dirty River Boys –– Exclusive Interview and Album Stream

Hailing from El Paso, The Dirty River Boys are quintessentially Texas:

A bit rough around the edges but full of heart.

Yesterday the band releases their gnarly self-titled album, which is produced by Grammy-nominated Chris "Frenchie" Smith.

Inspired by 200,000 miles of cross-country touring and living between two culturally different worlds in the border town of El Paso, the album was recorded at Sonic Ranch, a spot that's appropriately bordered by the Rio Grande and Old Mexico.

The album calls to mind the band's eclectic musical influences; from the old-school storytelling of Hank Williams, to the snarl of the Rolling Stones and the punk ethos of Rancid.

Below, we catch up with DRB’s Marco Gutierrez and Nino Cooper to find out more.

The band has also graciously offered a full album stream of their release. If you’re a fan of whiskey-soaked acoustic fun, then this is surely up your alley. Take a listen and then be sure to pick it up the album at

Describe what it's like to grow up in and start a band in El Paso.

Marco Gutierrez: I think growing up and starting a band in El Paso probably isn't much different than other cities. In high school you kinda realize you're a weirdo who likes rock and comic books and science fiction, so you find fellow weirdos who like rock and comic books and science fiction and all that and you hang out. You all realize that you kind of dig similar bands and everyone can kind of play an instrument, so you start a band. That's kind of how my early bands went.

The way The Dirty River Boys formed was a little different. I wanted to get more serious about playing music and Nino and Travis were pretty much making a living doing it. We jammed together and we fit well enough that almost five years later we are still at it.

Listen to a full album stream of the Dirty River Boys’ self-titled release below:

Can you discuss your songwriting process?

MG: There isn't really a set process for writing. “Down by the River” and “Thought I'd Let You Know” were co-writes, with Ray Wylie Hubbard for the first, and Cory Morrow for the second. For those two songs we just sat in a quiet room with a vague melodic idea and bounced lyrics off of each other until we all felt comfortable with them.

For the other songs on the album, CJ, Nino, Travis, or I would bring an idea to the table and we would try to work out the music to it around five minutes before a show. It is usually really throw-and-go like that. Pre-production with our producer and honorary 5th Dirty River Boy Frenchie Smith really brought the songs to life.

Speaking of Frenchie, what was it like to collaborate with him in the studio? How was your recording experience at Sonic Ranch?

Nino Cooper: Working with Frenchie was great. His enthusiasm and energy is second to none. Loved how he really truly cared about every sonic aspect of the record throughout production. I think he made me tune my guitar 1,012,119 times...but that's the kind of dedication we wanted. We wanted to make a great record. He's a great producer, and he and Sean Rolie (engineer) are an incredible team. Hopefully we will be able to work with them again on the next record.

Can you tell us about the acoustic guitars/banjos were used on the record?

NC: For acoustic guitars we used a Taylor 814ce Cocobolo Limited Edition, a Taylor 514ce and a Gibson Songwriter. The Banjo was a Deering.

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Acoustic Nation

Acoustic Nation is written by Laura B. Whitmore, a music industry marketing veteran, music journalist and editor, who has contributed to, Guitar World, and others. She has interviewed hundreds of musicians and hosts the She Rocks Podcast. As the founder of the Women’s International Music Network, she advocates for women in the music industry and produces the annual She Rocks Awards. She is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Positive Grid, making the world safe for guitar exploration everywhere! A guitarist and singer/songwriter, Laura is currently co-writing an album of pop songs that empower and energize girls.