Meet the Dirt Road Degenerates, a country rock duo comprised of Chris DeLisle and Aaron Schilb. I first saw these two at an OMG I’m a Songwriter Showcase. In a room full of talented acoustic artists Chris and Aaron stood out from the crowd with their high energy performance and unique sound.
They released their debut single “Talkin Country” in January and people have been taking notice. The song, about growing up in a small town and what exactly that means, made it on the Top 100 I-Tunes Chart. After being seen by a radio producer while performing at the Americana Fest in London the single was added to British Airwaves.
The duo is getting ready to release their second single “Rock and Roll Degenerate” this month, followed by “Dirt Road Drag” in April or May.
The boys confess that they became a duo by accident, meeting by a mutual friend Jan Buckingham who they credit with starting everything. At the time Chris was looking to move back to Nashville. Jan was working with Aaron and invited Chris to come out and see him play, so he did. He liked what he saw and gave Aaron his card. Aaron confesses he never called. As fate would have it a few weeks later Chris was playing in a round, a song “Rock and Roll Banjo” that had been doing quite well and Aaron saw him. After talking again the two made plans to co-write. Once Chris moved back to Nashville the two started playing shows together. Aaron was booking rounds all over town and would often call on Chris because he knew he could count on him to show up. “We ended up playing together so much we knew each others material and started to add all these harmonies and guitar parts.”
It was at one of these shows that the birth of Nashville Tour Stop came about. After playing a show at 404 Bar and Grill one of the bar owners approached them. He was so impressed with their live show that he asked if they would be interested in hosting a showcase. They immediately jumped at the chance and it grew into Nashville Tour Stop. In the beginning Dirt Road Degenerates were the house band that would play together before the other acts. After 6 weeks or so Jan came out to a show and told them they just had to be a duo. “What Jan says goes.” the two agreed, and so it began. The name is a combination of Chris and Aaron’s personalities. It comes from Chris’s song Dirt Road Drag and Aaron’s song Rock and Roll Degenerate.
Soon after they got offered a CMA Slot at Belcourt Taps to play. It was one of their very first shows together as a duo. Between June and December of last year they played over 130 shows together, sometimes two or three in the same day. “We just put our heads down and really started hitting the pavement. If we’re going to do this we’re going to do it all the way” says Chris.
“What we try to intentionally embrace is so many people tell us specifically what you guys do is put on a show. It’s about an experience.” says Chris. They feel that is what makes their music so tight along with having very complimentary backgrounds. “I’m ultra OCD and organized and Chris is the very creative person in how we can execute” says Aaron.
Right now the boys are focused on the growth of Nashville Tour Stop. “We’re the only people to stand for if Dirt Road Degenerates succeed but if Nashville Tour Stop succeeds the entire community of musicians in Nashville stand to benefit” believes Aaron.
“What we’ve done with Nashville Tour Stop is we’ve been very picky about who plays because we want to make sure everyone we put on stage is ready. We start having people come to the show every week because they know it’s going to be good” comments Chris.
There are plans to grow the show, bring in better marketing, and more people onboard to help. They want to branch out to other cities, bringing onboard local talent from each city along with national talent. They also want to be able to spotlight a featured artist with a longer set each show. In order to do this the duo is looking for sponsorships to go towards merchandise, paid marketing, paid staff, and paid performers.
People are coming out to come be a part of this show, to hang out, to network, to play. “When you come here you feel like your part of a group. We really want people to become part of a community” says Chris. “These are the same faces that play our show, attend our shows, and then play other shows. If you can meet all of the network that goes to all of these shows you’ve networked your way in. That’s the name of the game in this town” adds Aaron.
The boys are firm believers in helping independent artists get their name out there. “Let’s just create our own community and lets all succeed together. If we become a big enough community or force people can’t ignore it anymore” Chris believes. “That’s something we’ve done with our music in addition to Nashville Tour stop is become undeniable. We are undeniably high energy performers and guitar players and songwriters” Aaron sums up.
While the two are very happy with the success of their music and the showcase they are ready to take things to the next level. “Just like with the band whenever we succeed instead of seeing that as a reason to coast we see it as a reason to work twice as hard” believes Chris.
We believe the future is bright for this duo and the Nashville Tour Stop and look forward to seeing where it goes. You can check it out every Sunday night at Belcourt Taps from 6-midnight. For more on the Dirt Road Degenerates visit www.dirtroaddegenerates.com!