Dealin’ In Dirt
Plenty of Room for Trunk Space
Dealin’ In Dirt = Merle Haggard + The Milk Carton Kids
This gritty EP is easy to love and even easier to get lost in with its stories and beautiful guitar work. Dealin’ in Dirt are a three-piece band of men that, on a normal day, wouldn’t stand out until they release their talent and love for music. “Plenty of Room for Trunk Space” follows the story of fugitives looking to start a new life but are tempted by the past to repeat the same mistakes. Immediately, the vocals are quite pronounced and contain the emotion from having lived such a life that is now contrite and with a willingness to start anew. My favorite song on the EP is definitely “Bad luck.” A lyric that sticks out to me is “Truck driver with methamphetamine eyes / I got a feeling it’s of those nights.” This comes after he states, “Gold coast didn’t treat me right.” The song is beautifully written about the very moment a transition takes place in one’s life. Singer Evan Mullaly is given the opportunity to earn a living essentially dealing in the dirt and has to decide what to do. The song is so fucking great! It’s generally relatable, as is the rest of the EP.
The theme of repentance can also be felt throughout. Sharing the band name, “Dealin’ In Dirt” reads, “When you’re dealin’ in dirt, your loved ones are the only ones who get hurt” and, “When your sins are alive / it’s a short life.” The storytelling on this EP is comparable to some of its predecessors: I can faintly hear legends like Johnny Cash along with the badassery of the Sir Douglas Quintet. The confessions on the album are honest and come from a place of struggle, articulated in a way that makes it easy to understand.
One thing that is important to note is the guitar work. With three guitars, Dealin’ in Dirt clearly have the discipline to pull this off. Each guitarist is separate and distinct in their own way—they play well, feed off each other and add tone to the story that is being told so poetically. The one thing I didn’t like but learned to look past was the occasional screaming. The screaming, while not bad, also didn’t add to the songs. Overall, though, this did nothing to deter me from enjoying this EP! Dealin’ in Dirt are raw and honest, and the band pulls off exposing the underworld of what some do to survive. While the album dwells on the darkness of transition, it’s relatable to anyone who has ever been at a crossroads and felt the need to progress in life and has struggled to do so. Dealin’ are Dirt is awesome—I definitely recommend Plenty of Room for Trunk Space to anyone who is a fan of classic, American roots storytelling. –Aaron Jones