The Desert Pulse artist spotlight on Gunlock County.
Band Name: Gunlock County
Members: Ryan Orton: Singer, songwriter, guitar punisher
Jared Johnson: Guitar slinger, backing vocals
Dan Worthington, Bass, backing vocals
Gordon Strang, drums, cymbals and other instruments you beat on.
Hometown: Gunlock, Utah (pop-167)
Founded: Fall 2014
Genre: Outlaw Country, for reals!
Influences: Johhny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Sr, Jr, and III, Lefty Frizzell, Sturgill Simpson, Garth Brooks, Roger Miller, Bob Dylan, John Hiatt, Blackhawk, Dave Edmunds, Hal Ketchum, Sublime, Leadbelly…
How do you describe a group like Gunlock County? Well, imagine you are strolling down a red dirt road, watchin’ the dust dance in the evening sky, and off in the distance you hear the sound of music. As you walk closer, you see a little ol’ house, with a full length front porch, all screened in. Soon, you are able to make out a few ghostly figures, plunkin’ out old songs from Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, and other country music icons. As you approach, you hear one of ’em call out to you.
“Hey, why’n’t you come join us. Sit a spell, dance, sing, and drink with us? We got a jar under the chair here, and we don’t mind sharin’.”
Next thing ya know, yer standin’ on the porch–and it begins–a wild and rowdy night filled with song after song–some old favorites and some destined to become your new favorites.
Welcome to the experience of how music used to be, before Nashville, Memphis, and all the other polished up pop country junk. This is what Gunlock County delivers as they welcome you a nice stay, make you want it to never end, and make certain you look forward to the next party, with some of your newest and best friends.
Ryan has been singing and playing practically since birth, performing at rodeos and honky tonks all over the West, sometimes living out of his van, sometimes couch surfing, but always ready for the next gig, party, celebration, or opportunity to play his music. He is a 5th generation Gunlocker. His semi-rough vocal delivery is as real as it gets, echoing the smoky, dimlit venues and dusty lifestyle to a T. His songs deal honestly with the trials and tribulations in life along with the pitfalls awaiting the unwary. A mountain of a man, he will draw you into his world in a way that is gentle, yet firm. There is no denying the force of nature that is Ryan Orton.
Jared Johnson has been performing around Southern Utah–basically, forever. His skill set includes drums, guitar, lead singer, producer, recording engineer, husband and dad to two rambunctious rascals. He has performed with The Triggerlocks, Jared and the Jackpines, Lyonhead, and many other projects. His smooth melodic guitar style evokes the sweetness of Duane, with the dash of Loar Joamets and Jason Isbell thrown in for spice. Always a delight, full of surprises, Jared can deliver the goods on demand.
Dan has been performing in local bands since 2004, playing in such projects as Coyote Moon, Jared Johnson and the Jackpines, The Sundogs, Cactus Surfer, Beans and Wheels and with the highly-rated rock band Mister HYDE. Proficient on bass, guitar and mandolin, he is the groove glue that ties it all together for Gunlock County.
Gordon Strang, G-man, Dr. Stranglove, G-strang, labors tirelessly to promote music in Southern Utah. The consummate drum whore, he plays in multiple bands, and is on every studio’s speeddial for drum and percussion sessions. Whether it is the basic grooves of a cajon, or the complex rhythm of his full rock kit, Gordon lays the smack down ‘wit AUTHORITAY!’ He has performed with so many local bands, like Beans n Wheels, Less Than Lucid, Jared and the Jackpines, Sala and the Shakedown, Fiyah Rootz and at least a couple dozen more. His ability to weave complex polyrhythms in and out of the song are his signature, keeping things locked-in and delightful.
Whatever type shindig you have needing the sounds of music full of raw energy of a damn good ol’ time feel from a performance demanding and pulling the crowd into your party as they share the emotion of music and connect with the audience, Gunlock County is your band. They come loaded ready for bear and deliver a rowdy, high-energy, honky-tonk good time.
If you want to get Gunlock County into your bar, club, restaurant or private party, call Dan at 435-680-3105 to get a quote, and get them before they are booked up for the quarter. They are available as a duo (guitar and bass), trio (add drums), 4 piece (add one guitar), 5 piece (add second guitarist) or a 6 piece, (with Memphis Bob Dant on harmonica.) Give Gunlock County a call or catch their next performance–you won’t be disappointed.