Southern rock, Americana rolling into Lexington


Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters came out with a new album “Midwest Heart Southern Blues” in January. Image provided by the Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters

Matt Wickstrom

This Friday night a wave of Americana and southern rock n’ roll will invade the Green Lantern in downtown Lexington, led by Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters. The stop in Lexington, a short trip down I-64 from the band’s Louisville home, is part of a tour promoting the group’s new album “Midwest Heart Southern Blues,” which released Jan. 15.

Dittmeier was first intrigued by the thought of playing music in middle school, when he became enamoured by the music of Nirvana. He soon got his first guitar.

“I got my first guitar from my grandma”, Dittmeier said. “She was a music teacher, so I got her to get me a guitar from the music room at the school she taught at.”

As Dittmeier’s career has progressed, so has his equipment. To achieve the twangy guitar riffs he strives for, like that featured on the band’s new songs “Centralia” and “Rhythm of the Train,” Dittmeier and band mate Zane Hilton both use Fender American Telecasters with a set of Deville 410 amps.

“I modified my guitar so it’s kind of like a National Telecaster, but with a pull pod on it, so actually a stick setting,” Dittmeier said. “The National Telecasters in a lot of ways are supposed to emulate a Stratocaster, but through a Telecaster body.”

The choice of guitar stems largely from the group of guitarists Dittmeier is inspired by, which includes multi-instrumentalist Lowell George from rock band Little Feat, Eric Clapton, and Pete Anderson, the long-time guitarist for country music star Dwight Yoakam.

As the group’s frontman, Dittmeier also writes all of the music, although he was sure to mention that his three band mates: Hilton, bassist Aaron Waters and drummer John Clay Burchett all helped collaborate on the arrangements for the new album.

All artists have their own creative processes. Some can sit down for hours on end and write song lyrics. Dittmeier doesn’t fall into that category, but his lyrical compositions remain one of his biggest strengths.

“Usually it’s like a flash of lightning,” Dittmeier said. “I’ll feel something, and try to go get it done as fast as I can. I don’t like the initial process of songwriting to last very long or feel laborious. It’s got to be written in the same way it’s going to be heard in many ways.”

Aside from Friday’s stop in Lexington, Dittmeier and the Sawdusters also have upcoming dates in Bowling Green, Louisville, Elizabethtown and Danville, as well as trips out of state to Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

“We’re very comfortable with touring,” Dittmeier said. “We were just on the road for 11 days, which actually got cut short because of the snow. Touring is a great way, with our new record out, to help reach more people and better guarantee what our results will be.”

Tickets to Friday’s show are $5 at the door, which opens at 9 p.m. for those 21 and older. Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters will be supported throughout the night by Little Rock, Arkansas’ Adam Faucett and the Tall Grass, Gainesville, Florida’s BIG SHOALS, and Lexington’s own The Rooster’s Crow.

“Music is a lifestyle for me, it has been for a couple years now,” Dittmeier said. “It just feels normal at this point.”