The South Carolina Music Guide
Interviews

Dalton & The Sheriffs Getting Set to Play the Music Farm

Hanging just outside of the Grand Canyon, and heading towards some dates on the West coast, Georgia Hertz was able to catch up with Brian Scully, the main force behind ‘Dalton & The Sheriffs’.

GH: We are excited for your visit to The Music Farm in Charleston on February 26th. For our readers, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

BS: So, I’ve been playing music my whole life, and a couple years ago I was an administrator in a middle school. I then decided to go back to school and get my Master’s degree, and I ended up playing in bars around Boston at night.  I would go to class and then go to work in the morning. Like other lucky musicians, I gained sort of a following from a bunch of fans in Boston who really got behind what I was doing, and now, what the band is doing. We are very lucky. Sometimes you look at bands and you’re like, “Oh, I don’t know exactly how this happened.” I never have to wonder how this happened. Just a bunch of kids from Boston discovered who we are, and it grew from there.

It’s been a unique experience. I’m not young enough or cool enough to try to pretend to be a rock star.  Everybody’s in this together, and we are lucky that the kids will come to the shows.

GH: So, I understand that you were recently were signed by Madison House?

BS: Yep, they’re our booking agency, and for us they have been instrumental in gaining us access to opportunities outside of Boston at a different level. They have some really strong names on their roster, and that has lent us credibility playing outside of Boston.

GH: Has it been a bit intimidating (initially), to leave that home backyard, or, do you feel confident heading out West?

BS: You know, it is.  However, we’re doing it our way. We’re not trying to do it another band’s way and we know we have the shows. Plus, I think that if my wife and kids weren’t so awesome that it would be a little more difficult. But, as I stated earlier, everybody’s in it together and it is not at all lonely.

GH: I’ve gotta ask, since you’re on a current road trip, what is your playlist? Could you give me two or three songs that are rolling the wheels along?

BS: So, I have favorite albums that I always save for when I’m driving. I’m a big fan of Counting Crows. I’ll usually throw on Hard Candy or This Desert Life, stuff like that. I also really like a bunch of the newer rockish country stuff. Spotify is kind of a genius, right? I like Spotify a lot, you put on a song station and go. It makes things a lot easier for sure.

GH: Speaking of Spotify, I know musicians are kind of divided into two camps about whether Spotify is worth it…but I see y’all are on there. Do you sell merch to make up for the fact that people might not necessarily be buying digital copies?

BS: I think the music industry is hard on artists in general, whether it’s Spotify, record companies or radio DJs. It’s a gauntlet. But the thing about Spotify is they’re trying to connect your songs to people who want to listen through different playlists, ‘Discover Weekly’, that sort of thing. It’s hard to make money as a musician in general, and I feel very fortunate to be in a position to do what I love for a living.

GH: It sounds like you’re in it because you love doing it. Further, it’s fantastic that you’re able to support yourself and your family, but it sounds like you really love the music first and foremost.

BS: The proof is that I’ve been playing my whole life, but I feel very, very lucky to perform music and play music every day. It keeps the Irish down! You know, I grew up playing around a campfire, and it just progressed from there. What I love most is having people sing along to the songs. There’s something special being able to connect with music like that.

GH: So, looking at your dates, you’ll be in South Carolina four of the days you’re on tour which is excellent!

BS: Yeah! We had an opportunity to play SC early a couple years ago on the river for a big Budweiser concert, and I loved it. For this tour we looked at places in the South that have had an influx of people from Boston, from New York, and such. We wanted people to relate, and these transplants are creating a built-in system for us.

GH: So, being from Boston, can you tell me a little about being a ‘Southie’? Down here, there is not really any differentiation between any northerner, you’re all just “Yankees” to us [laughing] so to speak. But tell me a little bit about being a ‘Southie’.

BS: Ah, ok. So, a Southie is a location more than a type of person. You can be “from Southie” but not “a Southie” if that makes sense.

In Boston, there are a bunch of Irish neighborhoods, and really a bunch of hyper-cultural neighborhoods in general…Irish, Italian…that formed in the early 1900s. Working class people. So, really there were all these insular Irish enclaves in south Boston.

Eventually there came the Irish mafia, you know, and those neighborhoods had a bit of a downturn in the 90s. But now, ‘Southie’ is a place for newly graduated college kids to live. It’s a place for hyper-educated graduates, and the cool thing is, there’s no one industry that dominates. You have technology people, to engineers. There is a strong nightlife…and hockey! There’s a love of hockey in Boston!

GH: In addition to yourself, you’ve got four other members in your band producing a very full sound. Can you tell me a little bit about the other guys also?

BS: I just feel very lucky to have them. One of the reasons we’re successful, and one of the reason we’ve had a hard time is figuring out what genre we are. The band comes from a lot of different backgrounds. Zaner, the drummer, he comes from a ‘90s alt-rock background. He grew up liking Pearl Jam. Then you’ve got Jon Silva, our lead guitar, who is a music encyclopedia! He can identify songs and sounds and just has a wealth of music knowledge. A lot of punk, Son Volt, sort of punkish Americana. He played in metal bands ten years ago. On bass there’s Sam Bouve, who has a reggae background. He adds this interesting feel to the band. Lastly, there’s Ryan, who plays keys. He has a progressive rock background, but altogether it creates this interesting and cohesive sound. I think the most country-sounding things about us are the lyrics and the way I sing. But the rest is unique.

GH: It’s great to have a band like yours, breaking the mold. I think it’s nice to have something new.

BS: We’re at that point now, and the biggest reason we’re here now is because those Boston kids pushed us. Plus, if you can sell tickets and sell beer, then you can do what you want. It just feels authentic.

GH: Brian, thank you for your time. It’s been a pleasure talking to you and I wish you safe travels for the rest of your tour and I look forward to seeing you in Charleston!

BS: Thank you very much! Looking forward to it!

Catch Dalton & The Sheriffs at the Music Farm in Charleston on Feb. 26th.

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