Type “dirt dauber“ into WIKIPEDIA‘s search engine and this is what you come up with, Mud dauber (sometimes called "dirt dauber," "dirt digger," "dirt dobber," "dirt diver", or "mud wasp") is a name commonly applied to a number of wasps from either the family Sphecidae or Crabronidae that build their nests from mud.
If you type “The Dirt Daubers” in the same field, you get something completely different, The Dirt Daubers are an American Old-time trio. They are inspired by blues and other traditional Southern music genres. The group formed in Paducah, Kentucky in 2009.
Chances are that during the summer months, you can find a mud dauber in any garage that’s been left open. The Dirt Daubers may be a little harder to track down, but if you know where to look you’re sure to find a toe-tapping good time. Comprised of JD Wilkes, Jessica Wilkes, and Mark Robertson, this trio has an eclectic array of instruments, and a sound that is sure to make you at least bob your head. I happened to find them at the Bombay Bicycle Club in Clive, Iowa while they were on tour with Scott H. Biram. The Dirt Daubers are one of the hottest things in the Americana world right now. They just released a new album titled “Wake Up Sinners” and they have been touring most of the summer.
Greg: The Dirt Daubers formed in Kentucky, correct?
JD: Yes sir-ee Bob!
Greg: What transpired to bring the three of you together?
JD: Divine providence! I met my wife Jessica in Chicago five years ago, we started playing music together two years ago. Mark, however, has been playing bass with me in any and every project I've attempted for the past twelve years.
Greg: What is it like touring as husband and wife? Are there some pros and cons?
JD: We seem to have developed this onstage chemistry that's both comedic and edgy. It's sort of a weird, angst-y Ma and Pa Kettle routine. Otherwise, she keeps me both "in line" and entertained driving down the road.
Jessica: Besides JD's ridiculous road rage, it's a blast!
Greg: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard your sound before?
JD: Less bluegrass and more "acoustic rockabilly." There's definitely an upbeat, dance-able, Kentucky-fried feel to what we're doing.
Greg: What do you do to prepare for a show, do you have any pre-show rituals?
JD: Well, I'm the lucky guy who gets to zip Jessica into her frilly square dancing dresses every night. I can't think of a ritual that's more fun.
Greg: You did a tour with Scott H. Biram a few months back, and you actually had a stop in Des Moines at The Bombay Bicycle Club. How was that tour for you!
JD: We had a blast. Scott Biram is the genuine article. I've known him for years and he just keeps getting better and better.
Greg: When you were here it was just you and Jessica. Your bass player wasn’t present. Were there some changes happening with the group?
JD: Oh no. Y'see, we're one of those bands where you might catch us as a two-piece or a three-piece. On occasion we even have a drummer. Mark will be back on tour with us this fall when we hit the road with Pokey LaFarge. Fun fun fun!
Greg: You recently played at The Muddy Roots festival in Tennessee. How does that festival rank with other shows that The Dirt Daubers have played?
JD: I tell ya what, that was one of the funnest gigs we've played. But they should've called it Muddy Boots, since all it did was rain all day. We got to help escort Wanda Jackson to the stage during the deluge though. That was a real treat, especially for Jessica.
Greg: You also recently released a new album, “Wake Up Sinners”. How has the reaction from fans been?
JD: So far it's been fantastic. We just found out that it's the third most added album to the Americana charts this week. Not too shabby, huh?
Greg: What can fans expect from this album?
JD: Everything from Hot Jazz to Gospel, Hillbilly to Ragtime. Jess and I split the duties on vocals, and you get to hear me play the harmonica in a completely different way than I do in the Shack Shakers.
Greg: How instrumentally diverse is the group?
JD: I play banjo, harmonica, piano and even a "thunder sheet" on the record. Mark thumps the doghouse bass and takes a few leads. Jessica plays tenor banjo, guitar and mandolin, plus, these days, she's even kicking the bass drum while we play on stage. That's like patting your head and rubbing your stomach while walking and chewing gum!
Greg: Rumors sometimes float around about folks who smoke pipes. Could you clear up for people what is actually in the pipe that you are seen smoking before shows?
JD: Nice try, buck-o. It's nothing but over-the-counter Cap'n Black pipe tobacco. That or some stiff latakia (look it up!)
Greg: If you could pick only 3 personal possessions to take with you on tour, what would they be? Instruments are a given, so you can exclude those….
Jessica: High-heels, hairspray and candy.
JD: my corncob pipe, my GPS and my button nose.
Thanks to The Dirt Daubers for taking time out of their schedule to answer a few questions. If you want to find out more about the trio you can check out their MySpace or Facebook profiles.
by, Greg Waldrop