The American South can be a fraught subject. Enter Louisiana-native Chris Watts, musically known as Dirt Reynolds. Watts recently developed his blue-collar rocker alias to help himself and others better understand the patchwork of conflict and beauty he’s proud to call home (and to duck alarming web searches pointing to a Colorado murderer).
His debut album Scalawag combines blistering twang with broke-but-not-broken characters to illustrate the truth and the lies The South tells to itself and others.
“I grew up in a very conservative Christian household in the Deep South. When you're young you just assume everyone is that way. Then you get older and go out into the world and experience different cultures and you start to see injustice and you start to become more self-aware in the process. This album helped me reconcile that.”
A former troublemaker raised in central Louisiana (dubbed Cenla), he was stabbed in a bar and shot in the New Orleans SuperDome while on 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 Flannery O’Connor to Willie Morris.
Watts moved to Nashville in 2013 where he began honing his craft inside the honky-tonks of Music City’s notorious Broadway Ave.
As a solo artist, he’s toured festivals and listening rooms across the country, including Austin's SXSW Music Festival, AMA Americana Festival in Nashville, the Key West Songwriter’s Festival, and Music City’s world-famous listening room Bluebird Café.
Snoop Dogg, The Gin Blossoms, and Sammy Kershaw have all shared their stages with him, and his songs have appeared on acclaimed U.S. terrestrial radio stations, including WWOZ New Orleans and WSM Nashville, home of the Grand Ole Opry.
His debut EP The God’s Own Truth was named “Best of 2016” (The Revue).
“Watts sings in the title track ‘I may never be Bob Dylan,’ but he has a knack for melody, lyrics, and truth that shows promise as an artist coming into his own.” (No Depression).
Scalawag will be available digitally June 26, 2020.