DIRT ROAD DIARY, a Modern Country Band formed in 2016, have been playing venues across the South of England to increasingly larger audiences. Following successful performances at events and festivals, they were nominated for Peoples Choice Award For Best Group at the BCMA in 2018, and, having been invited back, have just performed a popular set at Wickham Festival 2019. The Band Members are: Mat Cooper (lead vocals) Mark Allen (lead guitar) Bill Beck (bass guitar) and Nick Hill (drums).
Mat brings the American Heart to DRD, having been luckily enough to have regular trips to the US in his childhood, and continuing to do so now, he has a deep appreciation of America and knows what makes them tick. From his well worn Stetson boots to his US flagadorned pick up truck, he was truly born in the wrong country.
Mat’s country music journey started with Alan Jackson’s “It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere” and he has gone through artists new and old in his mission to bring the good country word to the people of the UK and show them that they are truly missing out if they have not heard modern country or the DRD country rock sound.
His many influences from country include; Conway Twitty, Alan Jackson, Luke Bryan and Eric Church to name but a very few, and he defiantly loves being in that country rock groove with the DRD boys!
Mark is music to the core. He has always loved music from the US, melodic rock like Journey through the Eagles. Mark achieved minor success with UK melodic metal band Sarajevo in the 90s. Growing up in a house full of Johnny Cash records (thanks Dad) country was always in his heart. Mark learned to play guitar at age 12, wrote his first song at age 13 and performed at church. Hearing Garth Brooks and regular US trips re-ignited his love of country. Mark is a strong creative force within DRD penning much of their material. His melodic but forthright guitar playing is at the heart of the DRD sound
Bill is known for having a dry sense of humour and is always looking for the cheeky angle on any situation. He started off learning classical piano when he was a young lad, but switched to blues guitar in his late teens and 20s, eventually picking up the bass and enjoying the combination of melody and rhythm. Musically his tastes have seen a slow migration from heavy rock and blues into the punchier side of country rock.
Drumming is Nicks world. After studying for a Bachelors Degree in Contemporary Music, he set himself up as a full-time musician teaching from his home studio. He has a wide range of musical tastes and although new to modern country so far he likes what he hears.
In the summer of 2019, Dirt Road Diary released the single “Let’s Get Gone”. Lead singer Mat Cooper said of the song, “So Let’s get Gone was created from a single thought I had one day. I love getting home after work, but what makes it even better is when my wife gets home. I just wanted to get the feeling down on paper and try and share it.
“We’ll always exchange a chat about how our days were but then sometimes we just spontaneously like to go jump in the Pickup truck and go get lost in the Hampshire Countryside and go on an adventure. Looking for green lanes and getting lost and muddy, a simple pleasure we like to share.
“Add to that some fantastic riffs from lead guitarist Mark Allen, and you’ve got yourself one upbeat Country Song. It’s the song I’ve always wanted to create and with the DRD boys on the job it’s come together better than I dreamed of.
“On a side note, Five O’Clock Somewhere has always been the song that got me into Country Music many years ago and I also wanted to throw in a Nod to the Legend Alan Jackson, and of course Dolly in this song as cornerstones of my country music love.
“The Song was recorded at QuayWest Studios in Gosport under the expert eye of Nicholas Bowen and Mastered by the Legend Barry Grint of Alchemy Mastering.We’re all so proud of this song and hope listeners love it as much as we do.
In early 2020, DRD completed filming their first official music video for their single ‘Let’s Get Gone’. The video was filmed at DRD bass player Bill Becks house in Hindhead, Surrey (which he has recently completed building with his wife Carina). His oak-beamed garage area gave the perfect country barn aesthetic for the video.
The band threw an open invite to all of their fans on social media to come and be part of the video with them, so all the crowd in the video are indeed DRD friends, family and fans. Without them the video wouldn’t have been possible so they are very grateful to them for their support.
The outside portions of the video were filmed in the Forest of Bere, Hampshire which is where Mat & Tara spend many an hour escaping the world and “Getting Gone”.