Music Spotlight: Due West

NASHVILLE, Tennessee- Due West is a trio of country musicians who met at a house party in 2004. Tim Gates, Matt Lopez, and Brad Hull are from the western U.S., but like many aspiring artists, they found themselves in Music City.

The three of them were all invited to the same party. As happens in Nashville, when everyone gets together, they usually sing. When Gates started singing, Hull and Lopez chimed in, playing and singing harmony.

Lopez recalled, “It got to the point where the three of us were taking over the whole party. People who showed up later told us, ‘Man your band is awesome. Your band is so tight.’”

Gates stated, “We were strangers until that night.”

At that point, it was a no-brainer to form a real band. Since Gates is from Utah, Lopez is from Wyoming, and Hull is from Arizona, they called their group Due West.

The talented trio writes more than 90 percent of the music they release, but also has written songs that were cut by Lady A, Thompson Square, Black Hawk, Bucky Covington, and Bellamy Brothers, to name a few.

Lopez explained, “Sometimes as songwriters, you become a band to give yourself an outlet for your original music if no one else is cutting your song.”

In 2012, the narrative of Due West took an exciting turn when their paths intersected with one of their biggest musical heroes, Dean Dillon. Songwriter Dean Dillon has composed or co-written 55 songs for George Strait, including 19 singles, 11 of which went to number one.

Due West met Dillion when they were playing a gig in Colorado. They were thrilled when they saw that Dillion was also on the bill. The show’s promoter took them over to his trailer to meet Dillion.

When they went inside, Dillion said, “Boys, sit down.” They chatted for about 30 minutes and later Dean watched their set. After that, he said, “I’d like to write with you guys.” And luckily for Due West, he followed through with that request.

A luminary in the music industry, Dillion’s immediate kindness and generosity opened the door to a unique collaboration. Dillion and Due West began crafting songs that would leave an indelible mark on their musical journey by inviting the trio into his creative sanctuaries in Nashville, Key West, and Colorado.

The first fruit of this collaboration, “I Just Wanna Go There,” found its place on Due West’s Move Like That EP and reached No. 8 on the iTunes Country Albums chart, No. 13 on the Billboard Heatseekers charts, and landed on the Billboard Top 40 Country Albums chart. In 2012, they released their single “Things You Can’t Do In A Car” which reached the Top 50 on both the Country Aircheck and Billboard Indicator Chart.

More than 11 years later, Dillion has created his own record label, Unwound Records, and Due West is the flagship artist.

Lopez acknowledged, “With us being the first artists to launch on that label is incredible and special. It’s not wasted on us because “Unwound” was Strait’s first single and a Dillon cut. For us to be on a label that Dillion is calling Unwound is pretty special for sure.”

Though it is no longer the norm, Due West released an entire album, Unbroken, of 12 never-heard songs on February 23rd.

It is a departure from the prevailing trend of single-song releases to digital streaming platforms, Due West and Dillon express their passion for a complete and immersive listening experience. Unbroken is not merely a compilation of tracks; it is a musical tapestry that represents the diverse voyages each member has undertaken, bringing listeners into the genuine and authentic places they find themselves in today.

With songs like “Flying Blind,” “Do All Your Leaving,” and my personal favorite, “Right Amount of Wrong,” their songs have the right balance between nostalgic and new. With the trio’s distinct voices, their music appeals to many and reminds me of what I previously listened to. But the lyrics are modern and fresh and will also interest the younger generation.

Lopez said, “We want [this album] to be a 42-minute experience. They drop the needle and hear “Somebody Somewhere” with that steel lick on it. In 42 minutes, we want them to take that ride with us. And in the end, turn it over and do it again.”

The world of country music is a rich tapestry woven with both tradition and innovation. Due West is a prime example of that. Once you hear their newest record, Unbroken, all the way through, you have it on repeat.

Unbroken is available as a CDcan be streamed, and will soon be available on vinyl.

You can follow Due West on FacebookInstagramYouTube, TikTok, and all streaming platforms.

Check Due West’s touring schedule here.

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Bethany Bowman is a freelance entertainment writer. You can follow her blogInstagram, and X(Twitter).






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