The Dirty Guv’nahs: Your friendly neighborhood rock band

Beth KinnaneDowntown, Our Town Neighbors

This Saturday, local band favorite, The Dirty Guv’nahs, takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. at the inaugural Southern Skies Music Festival at World’s Fair Park. The Guv’nahs will be the last band to play before headliner Blues Traveler.

Blues Traveler is no stranger to concerts at World Fair Park (WFP) as the band made regular appearances in Knoxville for the old Sundown in the City concerts (along with the Allman Brothers, Dave Matthews Band, etc.). Bringing that energy back to the WFP concert lawn was the Guv’nahs’ goal when they first put together this new festival over two years ago according to founding member and bassist Justin Hoskins.

“We felt there was a hole to be filled there, especially after the loss of the Rhythm and Blooms festival during Dogwood Arts,” Hoskins said. The new festival was scheduled to debut in 2020, but “then everything got weird.” Covid-19 put the show on the back burner.

The Guv’nahs were formed in 2006, partly as a joke, and derived their moniker from the nickname of a friend. They performed locally and regionally, building a loyal following. By 2008, the band had picked up enough to steam for everyone to quit their day jobs and go touring the country. They’ve played music festivals such as Bonnaroo and South by Southwest as well as recorded an album at the legendary The Band frontman Levon Helm’s Woodstock, New York, studio.

Michael Jenkins, Kevin Hyfantis, Aaron Hoskins, James Trimble, Cozmo Holoway and Justin Hoskins are The Dirty Guv’nahs.

After 11 years and four albums, by 2015 several of the band members were starting families. As such, priorities were rearranged and, falling just shy of international superstardom and wealth, being on the road 100 days out of the year did not fit the new fatherhood paradigm.

“It wasn’t really a break-up of the band, so to speak, it was just the reality of not wanting or being able to be out on the road all the time,” Hoskins said. “We just realized that chapter of our lives was over. No one was mad, everybody still liked each other, we all stayed friends.”

The decision to hang it up was followed by a successful farewell tour in 2015. Afterward, each returned to work in the “real” world, for lack of a better way of putting it.

Hoskins said he and his bandmates met while attending UT. Originally from Chattanooga, his family relocated to Knoxville, and he graduated from Bearden High School. Other bandmates attended South-Doyle, Seymour and West high schools.

“Everyone has different areas of professional interest,” he said. “Most of us have graduate degrees, so we all pursued different business offerings.” When he’s not thumping the bass, Hoskins works in sales.

By early 2018, though, band members were reconsidering hanging up their microphones.

“We were all starting to get that itch again, to get back up on stage,” Hoskins said. “There are no real rules anymore, we just wanted to get back into it just for fun and finding a way to keep this a part of our lives. Well, without being on the road all year.”

Hoskins said the band plans to continue making new music and tour selectively, hopefully adding more music festivals across the country.

“To any band out there that survived these last two years, and are still out there making music, more power to you. To everyone our there who loves music, bands can you use your support more than ever,” Hoskins said. “So go to a show, buy the T-shirt, buy the album. This show is going to be a great event after the last two years for Knoxville to come together to celebrate.”

To find out more about the Southern Skies Music Festival go here. Gates open at 1 p.m. To learn more about the band go here.

Enjoy the band’s latest video, “Don’t Forget Where You Came From” from their latest album “Revival”:

The band members are:

  • James Trimble – Vocals
  • Michael Jenkins – Guitar
  • Cozmo Holloway – Guitar
  • Justin Hoskins – Bass
  • Aaron Hoskins – Drums
  • Kevin Hyfantis – Keyboards/piano

Beth Kinnane is the community news editor for

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