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October 24, 2014

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Q+A: The Dirty Guv’nahs make their L.V. debut at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

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The Dirty Guv’nahs.

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Fans applaud as the final group approaches the 18th green during the 2012 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012.

The PGA Tour returns to Las Vegas this week with the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin. This year’s event amps up the party atmosphere with a new concert series running today and Saturday featuring two nights of headlining performances by Americana rockers The Dirty Guv’nahs.

The event also includes performances by singers Jared Lee and Mark Russell, as well as an extensive wine and craft beer tasting provided by Rock ’N Roll Wines and Blue Moon Brewing.

In anticipation of this weekend’s shows, I spoke with The Dirty Guv’nahs lead singer James Trimble from his home in Knoxville, Tenn., about the band’s Las Vegas debut, their golf game and how they keep their acclaimed live show fresh night after night.

You funded your last album “Somewhere Beneath These Southern Skies” one year ago through Kickstarter. What’s been the impact of having done that?

We really feel like doing the Kickstarter campaign was the way to get closer to all of our fans. By basically creating your own record label and using Kickstarter, you get a lot of buy-in with your biggest fans out there. It’s just been fun. Everywhere we go tour, there’s been at least one or two people in every city who were a part of that Kickstarter campaign. It’s an exciting thing to get to know the people who really supported you.

Is that a route you guys will go for you next album, or do you think you’ll go back to more traditional funding methods?

It kind of all depends. We’ve actually already just begun working on some new songs, and we are trying to figure out now what we’re going to do, whether we’re going to hook up with a big company or keep it independent. Time will tell; we’re not sure.

Tell me more about the new songs. What’s next for the band, record-wise?

We’re just really spending a lot more time this time around on the songwriting process and just trying to not be too stressed about — ‘When is this album gonna come out? What’s it gonna sound like?’ To not have too much figured out ahead of time. And that way we can really just let the songs come to us. That’s something I feel like in the past we’ve often done — started on a record and then said, ‘Well, we’ve got to record this part three months from now, and it’s got to be released on this date.’

We really kind of pushed ourselves to make sure it came out at the right time. It’s a little bit stressful. What we would rather do is just write songs, do some demo recordings here and there between our touring, and when the songs are there, the album will be ready.

With all the time that you guys spend on the road, how do you find time to write songs? Or does touring encourage that?

We really don’t write any while we’re on the road, so it’s always when we’re at home. So usually after you get home after, say, a week on the road, it takes a good day or two just to get acclimated again to be able to work on something. I think the biggest thing for us is that we’ve got our own home studio that we’ve built here in Knoxville. Just having a place that is dedicated to work and not being a part of someone’s home is a really big deal because it’s where you go to work.

The band has a very devoted fan base in Knoxville, but this is the first time you’re playing as far west as Las Vegas. What’s the next step for you in terms of breaking out?

We want everyone to hear our music, so that’s definitely our goal. We’ve toured everywhere, but this is really the first time to really go past Texas, if that’s a way to explain it. We’ve never gone out to California. It just takes a long time. I mean until people have heard your music out there … the truth is, you’ve got to make sure you can at least pay to get there and pay to get home. It’s a long road. We’re excited.

Given your reputation as a great live act, how do you guys keep the act fresh night after night?

We mix up our setlist every night. We’ve got three albums to choose from, and usually we’re playing between 70 and 90 minutes, so you can really make it a completely different show from one night to the next. We’re not the kind of band who makes one setlist and then goes and plays 20 shows with the same songs. That would be really boring to us. You’ve also got to make sure you get a good night’s sleep!

How’s your golf game? Any plans to hit the greens this weekend?

Oh, man, we hope to! There are a couple courses near whatever hotel we’re staying. We won’t have clubs with us, so if you know anybody with clubs, we’d love that — put that out there! Maybe somebody can email the newspaper and hook us up. We’d love to get out on the green Friday or Saturday after we get there.

Tournament, concert and tasting tickets may be purchased online at the Shriners Open website. Individual tasting tickets also are for sale for $20.

Follow Andrea Domanick on Twitter at @AndreaDomanick and fan her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AndreaDomanick.

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