By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Being the director of your own music school can have its positive results outside of work, especially if you front a band in your spare time.
"I make music all day long with children and adults, and the enthusiasm from that energizes me to jam all night," says David Hall, who prefers to be addressed as Dirt when he's leading Dirt and Earthy Vibes.
Hailing from Grapevine, Dirt and crew have been performing together since 2003, releasing a debut effort that same year. The band's varied sophomore release, Messages2Mine, released early last year, is the result of a more concerted effort. Boiled down from more than 40 songs, the extra work proved well worth it. Throwing together influences as diverse as Hendrix, Marley, Beck and Outkast, Dirt and Earthy Vibes succeeds with such a mixture when many bands would end up noodling their way to a deadhead nowhere.
"If you want to corner us in a genre, we'd say outlaw soul/reggae," says Dirt, clarifying nothing. The 10 cuts on Messages joyfully cross genre boundaries without hesitation, putting the emphasis on just having a good time. Tracks such as "Zimori's Song," "The Lobster Train" and "So Fly" are potent revelations of grooves and humor, songs that evolve from show to show.
"Every performance is different," Dirt says. "We don't make a set list until 10 minutes before playing because we detest boredom and monotony."
Dirt and Earthy Vibes have plied their wide-ranging craft at the typical locales (Dada, Clearview and the Green Elephant) and some unusual spots including Central Market and a Dallas Public Library.
"We had a four-hour gig a few years ago," says Dirt. "We didn't feel like taking a break, so we didn't."
Obviously, endurance isn't a problem. Neither are chops. Drummer/vocalist Bamface and bassist/vocalist The Doctor lay down a rock-solid pulse for Dirt and his tasty guitar to maneuver on and in between. Add in holistic healer/percussionist China Maze and it's a bizarro world jam fest of the highest order.
"Earthy vibes are the sound waves of the Earth," explains Dirt, matter-of-factly. Although he comes across as a bit too New Age for his own good, Dirt's charm, and the band's as well, lies in his devil-may-care persona. Even his explanation of the band's name and his own nom de plume comes across like words from a cool hippie uncle.
"Once upon a season, I became obsessed with how the sun shines upon the earth and animates it into life," Dirt says. "I carried on about it so much my friends started calling me Dirt."