Dirty River Boys Song Tournament: Day V: Final


All photos by Landan Luna/New Slang

All photos by Landan Luna/New Slang

DRB_finalby: Thomas D. Mooney

We went ahead and waited over the weekend to release the winner. Forgive us for the wait. Below, you’ll see commentary on the Championship songs in our Dirty River Boys Song Tournament. Check out the previous days in the tournament using the following links.

Monday-Day I
Tuesday-Day II (First Round)
Wednesday-Day III (Sweet Sixteen)
Thursday- Day IV (Elite Eight)
Friday- Day V (Final Four)

As a reminder, songs are seeded primarily based on popularity and voted on by how great we feel the song is. If we seeded the songs by greatness, then obviously there wouldn’t be a need for a tournament. That fact is essential.


3) So Long Elaine-10
1) Carnival Lights-15

Is “Carnival Lights” the greatest Dirty River Boys song currently? Possibly.

Or did it take advantage of and get the right match-ups each round to advance and succeed? Maybe.

Are we a hostage of nostalgia–no matter how short of a period it’s been since the release of Long Cold Fall–and value “the old stuff” more so than the new no matter how old it actually is? That very well could play a part in all this too. I mean, the Final Four was an all Long Cold Fall affair. Overall, Long Cold Fall was 14-5 in the tournament–where four of the losses came at the hands of another Long Cold Fall song.

In saying that, “Carnival Lights” is obviously a great song and a great representation of what Dirty River Boys do and are (as is “So Long Elaine” for that matter). It’s a popular song for a reason. It’s not gilded or glossed over; it’s an organic piece of work. And that’s what you know you’re going to receive in a DRB song. You know it’s not coming from a cookie cutter songwriting team in a major label office. It’s going to be a blend of West Texas, roots rock, some punk aspects, some outlaw ways, and some vintage singer-songwriter. 

What I find most exciting is that they’re so early into their career as a band. They’re not done growing or exploring. Technically, they’ve recorded only 24 total songs–the 22 here as well as the Townes Van Zandt penned “Lungs” and the traditional Spanish song “El Pescador.” And that’s it. 

Who knows what they have up their sleeves for the future. Who knows if they eventually plug back in and make an “electric” record–which I’m  predicting will get about just as much publicity and controversy as Dylan going electric in ’65. There will for whatever reason, “purists” who insist they never evolve. Which of course, I’m just speculating at this point. But that’s my entire point. They’re obviously a band who has only explored a corner of the music map.

I’d also like to mention that the point of these New Slang Artist Song Tournaments isn’t to definitively decide which song is ultimately the greatest in an artist’s catalog, but rather, it’s to explore that artists catalog. It’s to celebrate it by diving deep into their discography and not leaving one stone unturned. 



One response to “Dirty River Boys Song Tournament: Day V: Final

  1. Pingback: Artist Song Tournament III: Ryan Bingham Announcement | New Slang·

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