Formed in the Texas border town of El Paso, The Dirty River Boys are an anomaly. Going against a rising tide of heavy metal acts, singer and guitarist Marco Gutierrez said the band didn’t find its home until it relocated to Austin. While he believes it was a “change that needed to happen,” the band also was determined to remember its roots.
“In El Paso, the Rio Grande runs through there, and that’s the dirty river the band is named after,” Gutierrez said. “We wanted to kind of represent where we were from and the sound of the music we were making, so we thought The Dirty River Boys sounded pretty good. It’s very El Paso-representative and old-timey.”
Although many may describe the band’s sound as country, it’s a label Gutierrez shrugs off. Instead, he calls it “outlaw folk.”
“The reason we call it that … it’s actually more punk rock, if anything. That’s kind of where the word ‘outlaw’ comes in before the folk. It’s a revved-up, rock and roll version of folk music, while still keeping the songs lyrically driven.”
The Dirty River Boys will play their rowdy brand of roots music 8 p.m. Thursday at The Blue Door, 2805 N. McKinley Ave. Gutierrez and crew agreed that the venue is a favorite place to play in Oklahoma City because it has more of a “listening room vibe” than most other places, some of which haven’t gone off so well.
“Sometimes we’ve played in dance halls across Texas and Oklahoma and people were expecting a two-step band, [and] then we were playing and they really wouldn’t know what to do,” Gutierrez said. “But at The Blue Door, people are sitting down, really paying attention to what you’re saying. They let you pour your heart and soul into it. With our show, people can sit down and listen and then get rowdy if they want to and jump around. It’s a good room for our kind of music.”
With the pop charts filling up with Americana acts like The Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons, Gutierrez has seen his fanbase build, especially since the release of their album Science of Flight, which climbed its way up both the Americana Music Association and Texas Music Charts.
“The world’s once again ready for music that has heart and soul and feeling and meaning,” Gutierrez said.
“It’s always been there, but it’s kind of always been lying under the
current of pop music. When we try to write something down and ultimately
make it into a finished product, we put as much honesty into it as we
“The world’s ready for some honest, good music. I think we do a good job of doing that.”