Them Dirty Roses Keep Southern Rock Alive And Kickin’

Two live concerts two nights in a row. It’s been a while for me – January of last year to be exact. I’ve got to make up for lost time. After watching Greta Van Fleet properly christen the new FirstBank Amphitheater Thursday, Friday took me to a new music venue in Chattanooga called Arts Avenue located on the Southside.

I feel as if I am getting spoiled – two nights of unfiltered, down and dirty rock and roll.

It what has been a rough couple of years with the recent death of Dusty Hill of ZZ Top, Gregg Allman’s death a couple of years ago and Lynyrd Skynyrd running out of cousins and nephews to fill in, Them Dirty Roses proved to everyone Friday night that good ole southern rock and roll is alive and well and should be safe from extinction for some time.

James Ford perfroming at Arts Avenue 8/6/21. Photo ©Dave Weinthal

The band, made up of a couple of brothers and two friends delivered a set of true southern rock anthems for the new millennia, as Them Dirty Roses could be the new standard bearer for southern rock and roll for some time.

Vocalist and rhythm guitarist James Ford’s vocals were down and dirty on songs like “Whiskey In My Cup” and “Grew Up in the Country”.

Two nights in a row I have gotten to witness some great lead guitar riffs as Andrew Davis on lead guitar played some dirty, hard, sun-dried leads as he showed to ability no not only play with finesse, but also get that fuzzy guitar feel down to perfection when needed.

Ben Crain’s bass added just enough without fighting the leads for attention. Frank Ford, who literally was lost in the dark (poor lighting) and surrounded by plexiglass also put on a great display on drums – bombastic, but not overboard.

Playing mainly originals Friday the band added a couple of good ole southern rock covers, most notably, Allman Brother’s Band classic, “Whipping Post”, playing an extended version that I’m sure had Gregg smiling from above. It was gritty, relatively true to the original, but was more of a faithful interpretation than an actual cover.

It was a shame more people weren’t there to witness Them Dirty Roses. But that happens sometimes on a Friday during the summer when you’re fighting against a free concert series a couple of blocks away that started at the same time.

Those in attendance – and it wasn’t empty by any means really got into the music and made up for enthusiasm for what was missing in numbers.

A new music venue, Arts Avenue is a welcome addition to the local and regional music scene with a very diverse lineup booked. And thanks to Them Dirty Roses we can rest assured southern rock is well-represented and alive and kicking.

 – Dave Weinthal