By Matt Wickstrom
This Friday night, local band Driftwood Gypsy will be bringing its unique sound, which guitarist Dereck Oldham refers to as “dabstomp,” to Al’s Bar on the corner of Limestone and West Sixth streets. The group will be joined by guests Big Atomic, a six-piece rock outfit from Murray, Kentucky.
“Everyone loves playing dubstep, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Oldham said. “I just played off the name as a way to describe our Southern rock, bluesy, funky style of music that involves hardly any electronics other than pedals and amps.”
Driftwood Gypsy has performed together for more than three years, and features a diverse and battle-tested group of musicians, including Conrad Dillinger on drums; Creek Sayles on bass; David “Chill” Napier on guitar; and Jason Adams on lead guitar. Dillinger is formerly of the band Relic Delic, which also featured local artists Debraun Thomas and Jason Burgard, who now play with Freekbass & The Bump Assembly, out of Cincinnati. Napier and Oldham are also members of local group The Baja Yetis.
The sextet just recently finished up recording their first album at Gypsy Studios, owned by Dillinger, in Lexington.
“Jason Poff is helping us master it and mix it down along with Kris Morris,” Oldham said. “The title of the album is going to be ‘Leap Year,’ because we’ve been a band for three years and haven’t released an album. Plus, it’s a leap year and we’ve got to have an excuse for what we’ve been working on all this time.”
According to Oldham, the band plans on releasing the album in May, and will be holding a festival and album release party on the weekend of the Kentucky Derby at Al’s Bar.
There will be music both inside and outside in Al’s Beer Garden from acts such as The Wooks, Blind Corn Liquor Pickers and DJ Lancelott. Carnival performers and food trucks will provide further entertainment and grub for patrons throughout the weekend.
“We wanted to involve a bunch of the local artists and musicians who have supported us these last few years as a way of saying thanks and that we support what they’re doing too,” Oldham said.
Driftwood Gypsy has also begun lining up summer festival plans, recently announcing they’ll perform at The Moonshiner’s Ball and PlayThink Movement & Flow Arts Festival, which both take place at Homegrown Hideaways in Berea, Kentucky, from May 20-22 and June 15-19, respectively.
Oldham is also looking to begin organizing music events on his own land, dubbed Astounding Estates, buried in the rolling hills of nearby Nicholasville.
“I had a dream a while back of promoting the arts, not just music, but dance, visual arts and anything else you could think of,” Oldham said. “I’m in two bands here in town. I come across a ton of artists so my idea was to pull all of those people together on terms that are a little more loose than usual, per se, for most venues.”
Oldham is also in the process of acquiring a Kentucky Proud license, which he would use to grow fruits and vegetables to provide to local charities. In the future, Oldham would like to organize workshops for homesteading, including food preservation and canning.
Tickets for Driftwood Gypsy’s show this Friday with Big Atomic at Al’s are $5, and people must be 21 or older to enter. An Appalachian singer/songwriter night will also occur, running from 8-9 p.m. for $5 in Al’s Beer Garden, hosted by Jory Bowling. Performers include Bowling, Beth Walker, John Lackey, Phil Robinson and Robert Overbee.
“We’re itching to get back out and play,” Oldham said. “We just took a month off to finish up in the studio and tie up loose ends. Our time in the studio is a blessing, because every time we get together we love to free-jam, which in this case turned into a couple of new songs for the record.”