Red Dirt Ruckus: Music for the Masses of El Dorado County
Choosing a name that pays homage to their Coloma roots while also hinting at the down-home rowdy dance party vibe they bring, Red Dirt Ruckus (formerly the Rusty Buckets) has been making music since 2010. Currently, the crew is comprised of Doug "Not Josh" Neal on lead vocals/guitar/mandolin, Dan “Mad Monk” Abbott on lead vocals/bass, Lisa Bond on fiddle/back-up vocals, Eddie Tharp on lead guitar/vocals, and Rob Keedy on drums. “Music is truly the universal language; we’re lucky to be able to jump around from genre to genre and hopefully give everyone we play for something they love,” shares the band. “We just hope everyone at our shows is having as much fun as we are on stage.” After releasing their successful debut album, Lotus Delight, earlier this year, the band is in the process of recording their next full-length album, slated for release next year. Catch the “ruckus” this month at Boeger Winery’s Sunset Sippin’ on July 13 and Marco’s Café on July 20.
HLB: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SOUND?
RDR: We pride ourselves on being able to switch through many genres of music on any given night. While we all coalesce around the bluegrass/jamgrass scene, our songwriters come from different backgrounds and musical influences, ensuring there’s always something fresh. Someone once described it as “rude boy jamgrass. “We feel like the foothill area is a breeding ground for this kind of sound, so we morphed that into our tagline of “Foothill Rudegrass.”
HLB: HOW ARE YOUR ORIGINAL SONGS WRITTEN?
RDR: Generally, Dan or Doug will write a song, then introduce it to the group where it gets the Ruckus treatment. Rob has a lot of experience teaching drum lines and is great about getting our arrangements tightened up and polished on stage.
HLB: WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT THE FOOTHILL MUSIC SCENE?
RDR: The amount of support the community gives to musicians. It’s a welcoming environment—meaning it’s OK to just get out in front of people and show them what you’ve got. You’ll always find a genuinely appreciative crowd of all ages that isn't afraid to get up and dance. There doesn't seem to be a jaded feel, which you can experience playing in bigger cities.
HLB: ARE THERE CHALLENGES WITH SUCH A DIVERSE GROUP OF MUSICIANS?
RDR: We’ve had some members come and go over the years, due to shifting priorities or some who weren’t ready for the heavy gig schedule. Luckily, everyone in the band is well-seasoned in that we’ve all been playing professionally for 15-20 years. What’s more, we’re all thick-skinned, and we can say what’s on our minds without having to worry about someone getting too bent out of shape. The fact that we can bag on each other and laugh about it helps us produce the best music we can. It also comes across in our stage presence; we have a great time because our friendships are solid. reddirtruckus.com
Art BeatJuly 6-15 – SPYQUEST. Don’t miss this full-length musical comedy from El Dorado Musical Theatre that includes spy devices and a villain trying to take over the world. Secret messages, elaborate production numbers, and a battle between good and evil round out the fun. Shows are at the Harris Center and times vary. edmt.info/spyquest
by Heather L. Becker
Photo by Dante fontana