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Entertainment News

Sunday, 8 August, 2010 11:11 AM

CMA New Artist Spotlight: 'Due West'

Photo by Tony Baker

Due West

By Bob Doerschuk
© 2010 CMA Close Up News Service

The trio Due West — Tim Gates, Brad Hull and Matt Lopez — radiates enthusiasm through its robust harmonies and rock-solid song craft. Even the slow waltz “When the Smoke Clears,” written by Lopez and Don Rollins, addresses the issue of infidelity with a lead vocal that impresses through the drama of its delivery as much as its immersion in the lyric. Their first single, “I Get That All the Time,” by Lopez, John Bettis and Jason Deere, touches on similar topics, but the positive spin of the chorus transforms the narrative into a celebration of making the right, if less tempting, choices. (The album includes only one cover, a foot-stomping take on Craig Wiseman’s and Brad Crisler’s “County Fair.”)

Born in Sheridan, Wyo., Lopez moved to Arizona, where he and Thatcher, Ariz., native Hull became friends. In 2003, they relocated to Nashville, where Hull began his studies at Belmont University. Attending a party together, they met and started singing with Richfield, Utah, native Tim Gates; just like that, the seeds of Due West took root. They clicked from the start — so well, in fact, that they were inspired to document their union with “Due West,” written by Gates, Hull, Lopez, Jason Deere and Sonia Deere, a mini-autobiographical tune with a sing-along exit chorus, rousing melody and breezy beat, all of which reflect their camaraderie onstage and gratitude at having been brought together as friends and colleagues.

After making their bow at a VFW gig, the threesome charted a course that began with a residency at the Alabama Grill, where Gates happened to work as a manager. When a development deal with RCA Nashville terminated in the wake of the Sony/BMG merger, Due West took full control of its fortunes, booking shows as far off as Australia and recording their self-titled debut album for upcoming release on their own imprint, Bigger Than Me. Produced by Jason Deere and released in April, Due West testifies that persistence, patience, friendship and talent can better the odds for every artist with plenty to offer.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS Q&A

SONG YOU’D LOVE TO COVER
HULL: “‘I’ll Be Over You,’ by Toto.”

GATES: “‘Drive,’ by The Cars.”

LOPEZ: “‘6 8 12,’ by Brian McKnight.”

CD IN YOUR STEREO
GATES: “20 Greatest Hits, by Don Williams.”

HULL: “Twang, by George Strait.”

LOPEZ: “Revolution, by Miranda Lambert.”

FAVORITE FOOD ON THE ROAD
LOPEZ: “Fresh salmon and sushi.”

GATES: “Health shakes (I carry a blender in my suitcase).”

HULL: “Ice cream and peanut butter M&Ms.”

WHAT YOU’D BE IF NOT AN ARTIST
LOPEZ: “A hit songwriter/producer.”

GATES: “A social worker helping people with disabilities get jobs.”

HULL: “Depressed.”

On the Web: www.DueWest.com

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