REVIEW: Nick Dittmeier and The Sawdusters – “Midwest Heart Southern Blues”

Nick Dittmeier & The Sawdusters
Midwest Heart Southern Blues

Once again it’s my favorite time of year where local legend Nick Dittmeier releases another southern rock gem. Part of my enjoyment in this is seeing just how much both Nick and his band have evolved. From his time as the lead singer in Slithering Beast to this newest release, Midwest Heart/Southern Blues, Nick has become an ever evolving and improving, polished professional. The most notable difference is in the guitar playing, as Nick himself has become a chicken-pickin’ beast and since he added guitarist Zane Hilton to the mix things have only gotten better.

Midwest Heart Southern Blues isn’t an album that’s going to surprise you. Rather it’s an album that knows what it is and gives it to you exactly how you want it. Song titles like “Just My Job” and “Pills, Jesus, & War” live up to the title of the album. It’s hard not to relate to every song on this album if you grew up as the weird athiest punk rocker in a country town; that’s Bullitt County for me.

Nick has a great way of writing lyrics that you relate to, even if it’s something you never thought about. The chorus in “Athiest Wedding” says “If you love somebody then everybody know, if you love somebody you gotta put on a show.” I couldn’t relate more, having an athiest wedding myself and wondering what it was all for (besides my total devotion to my wife… Love you Miranda!). Weddings are just what we do around these parts, you have to put on a show for all the family and friends that you barely talk to. I would do it again if I could.

This album has a third element not listed in it’s title and that’s swampy guitars. The tones out of Nick’s Stratocaster were born of the bayou, or to put it another way, reminiscent of great Louisiana southern rock/blues. The tones mostly remind me of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Swamp Music, this is not something I’m mad about. Before you say it, I know neither CCR or Lynyrd Skynyrd are from Louisiana, but they invoke the spirit of the swamp and so do the Sawdusters even if it wasn’t nearly as intentional as writing a song called “swamp music.”

If I had to pick a favorite song on this album, it would be “Just My Job” but it was a difficult choice. I love every song on this album, but I relate to this one the most. Sometimes, it feels like everything I do is “just my job.” At this point though, Nick shouldn’t have to have a job outside of writing beautiful music. He’s put in the hard work for years and hasn’t slowed down once. Do your part in making playing music Nick Dittmeier & The Sawduster’s everyday job by buying their album at Guestroom Records or online at Bandcamp or iTunes.