"Remember, the last one to give up always wins," Grand Ol’ Opry inductee Jamey Johnson told Dirt Reynolds frontman Chris Watts during an acoustic gig at a Nashville BBQ joint. Later that night Watts was invited out on the road with Johnson and his team in mid-March 2020, days before the world shut down.
So in the wake of a deadly East Nashville tornado and global pandemic Nashville rockers Dirt Reynolds recorded their debut album Scalawag, released on July 26, 2020. Scalawag combines raucous rock ’n’ roll and blistering twang with broke-but-not-broken characters to illustrate the truth and the lies the American South tells to itself and others.
Americana Highways calls Scalawag “an earnest glimpse of life for those who are marginalized because they don’t fit the portrait of the American dream.” Disciples of Sound calls the album “a new southern revolution.”
Dirt Reynolds’s music is in rotation on Nashville radio stations WMOT Roots Radio, WXNA, and WSM, home of the Grand Ol' Opry, with mentions in Rolling Stone, American Songwriter, Glide Magazine, The Tennessean, and The Nashville Scene.
A former troublemaker raised in central Louisiana, Watts was stabbed in a bar and shot in the New Orleans Super Dome while on Hurricane Katrina duty for the Louisiana National Guard. His love of language and fascination with Louisiana politics led him to college degrees in journalism and political science. As a childhood fan of Mark Twain, he grew to love the writers who defined The South, from Eudora Welty to Harry Crews.
- “Lilly Hiatt, Will Hoge Lead Tennessee Flood Benefit, Charlie Watts Tribute” — Rolling Stone
- “Charlie Watts Tribute at The Basement East to Benefit Waverly Flood Victims” — The East Nashvillian
- “Dirt Reynolds and the Exit/In (interview)” — Rhythms Magazine
- “East Nashville Shows Up for the Rock Block at Exit/In Benefit Concert” — Nashville Scene
- “All Star Musical Benefit to Preserve an Independent Exit/In Set for Memorial Day Weekend at East Park” — The East Nashvillian
- “Concert to Preserve the Exit/In announced” — The Tennessean
- “‘BattleshipChains’ is a rousing slice of air punching alt-country rock with a big crowd friendly chorus” — Folking.com
- “Dirt Reynolds unveils video for 'The Day David Duke Came to Destrehan'” — Petal Motel
- “Dirt Reynolds Gets Down and Dirty with His Southern Sass on ‘Scalawag’” — American Songwriter
- “Dirt Reynolds Discusses Debut Album ‘Scalawag,’ Southern Christian Values, and Being a Troublemaker (interview)” — V13 Magazine
- “Readers' top ten favorite albums released in June 2020 (#2)” — Americana Highways
- “Alt-country rocker Dirt Reynolds talks bar fights, rough encounters, and new LP 'Scalawag' (interview)” — Glide Magazine
- “His colorful past has been great fodder for his song craft, and given him a very mature and eloquent perspective that makes this outlaw/alt-country effort a very impressive starting point.” — Take Effect
- “Rollicking would be the word for a lot of it. Country is the word for all of it.” — Farce the Music
- “Watts and his band channel his wild life experiences into twangy alt-country that is also socially conscious during a time when we sure do need more Southerners speaking out against hate and bigotry.” — Glide Magazine
- “Watts comes out firing relentlessly” — Country Standard Time
- “This album is an earnest glimpse of life for those who are marginalized because they don’t fit the portrait of the American dream.” — Americana Highways
- “Dirt Reynolds Celebrates Southern Identity on Debut Album ‘Scalawag’” — American Songwriter
- “A new southern revolution” — Disciples of Sound