Red Dirt in the Lowcountry with The Turnpike Troubadors

Zach Bjur



Most everyone is familiar with Bluegrass, its twangy string sound has reached most corners of the nation, but how about Red Dirt?


That’s a term that may be less familiar. “It’s not so much a genre as it is a community, its original music from Oklahoma,” says R.C. Edwards, bassist for the Turnpike Troubadours. “It ranges everything from garage rock bands, swing bands, country western bands.”


What seems to bind Red Dirt bands together more than anything is their ethos – they are bands that are willing tour relentlessly for nothing more than the love of the music, and that is what brings the Turnpike Troubadours to Charleston on Sunday, October 16, 2016.



The Turnpike Troubadours’ latest album is a self-titled powerhouse released toward the end of 2015. Like the genre-defying Red Dirt label applied to the band, the album skillfully blends the best of bluegrass, rock and roll, and indie, all the while remaining true to its country roots. “Growing up in Oklahoma you hear country western everywhere, you can’t escape it,” says Edwards.




They still haven’t escaped country but they have evolved it. This is the kind of country that those who don’t like country, will like. It is the kind of country that is more defined by its authenticity than by cowboy hats and southern accents.


The Turnpike Troubadours are able to draw on the sound of the old guard of country and folk—greats like Haggard, Williams, and Guthrie—and simultaneously keep things feeling fresh and relevant.




Honestly, there’s not much greater than finding a new band that makes your ears perk up. But finding that said band already has a deep catalog of music to savor is another pleasure entirely. Such is the case with the Turnpike Troubadours. The two releases before their self-titled album, Goodbye Normal Street and Diamonds and Gasoline, are both rich records ripe for the picking. Their latest release is a single titled “Come as You Are” that is worth listening to again and again, a sign that the Troubadours are only getting better with age.



This is a show that you are not going to want to miss. “Our country roots run deep, but I would say that we’re a honky-tonk band, we’re upbeat.” Edwards recommends checking out “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” off of Goodbye Normal Street if you’re on the fence. Don’t worry we’ve got a live version here for you to check out. The show is $15 in advance, $17 at the door. Doors are at 8:00 pm. Get out to The Pour House and show the Turnpike Troubadours some Lowcountry love.