Major sonic shifts from artists with a well-established sound can be pretty polarizing. But think about all the albums that’ve become iconic simply due to how different they were from their predecessors. Among many others, there’s Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home, Trans by Neil Young, Alabama Shakes’ Sound & Color and A Sailor’s Guide to Earth from Sturgill Simpson. And though they haven’t quite reached the status of those legends as of yet, Nick Dittmeier & the Sawdusters are already dead set against typecasting their own style.
So far this Southern Indiana trio has found success with a consistent alt-country/roots-rock sound, especially on 2018’s All Damn Day and 2019’s Companion. Once COVID came around, though, Dittmeier & the Sawdusters confronted the draconian rigidness of country formulas and challenged themselves to innovate those stylistic preferences for modern, mature audiences. After sweeping the floor of their first phase shavings, Nick Dittmeier & the Sawdusters added synths, loopers, and drum machines to their workbench and started cutting their third full-length, Heavy Denim. The title refers to the unofficial “uniform” of Americana, and by doing so, the hard left turn of Heavy Denim is executed with self-aware grace. Heavy Denim drops next Friday and the band’s on a national tour lasting through September. So while there’s a lot of commotion about being patriotic on the Fourth of July in a post-Roe America, the Sawdusters can at least celebrate independence from the genre constraints that’ve pigeonholed so many more Americans. That said, Nick Dittmeier & the Sawdusters have treated us to one extra piece of fireworks from Heavy Denim, the previously-unseen music video for “I Suppose“!