Most fans wouldn’t expect great country music to come out of Southie, but one local band is changing those perceptions.
The bars of South Boston have given birth to Dalton & The Sheriffs, one of the most promising, up-and-coming country groups in the nation. Over the years, the band has quickly amassed a cult following, frequently drawing packed crowds at their nearly nightly shows around the city.
Singer Brian Scully, who first took the stage with other bands in Boston’s rock scene back in the day, formed Dalton & The Sheriffs after building his own fan base with solo acoustic shows around Southie.
“We’re one of the luckiest bands you’re going to find,” Scully tells Metro. “This all started in the bars of Southie as an acoustic thing that I was doing, and we’ve just been very very lucky that a small group of people showed up to those early shows and haven’t stopped coming.”
Channeling the sounds of everyone from Eric Church to Hootie & the Blowfish, Dalton & The Sheriffs puts out a unique blend of country and rock that’s earned them some major gigs. The group has opened for the likes of Lee Brice, Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett, A Thousand Horses and Eric Paslay, and has also performed at events like CMA Fest, one of the biggest country music festivals in the U.S.
The band is starting to make waves on the national scene, as their first studio album “After the Parade” landed at the top spot on Billboard’s Heatseekers Northeast chart after debuting in 2017, and reached as high as No. 9 on the iTunes Country Albums Top 10 list.
The growing success is all do to some seriously hard work by Scully and the crew, as the band performs almost every night of the week at venues around Boston, including Capo on Tuesdays and Bell in Hand Tavern on Thursdays. Dalton & The Sheriffs also hits the road on Saturdays, performing at spots in Rhode Island, New York, as well as the Chicken Box in Nantucket.
“The only nights that I don’t have a show are Monday nights,” Scully says. “We are just incredibly lucky that, every night, people come to the shows.”
The singer credits student athletes at the city’s various universities, as well as Kenny Chesney, for popularizing country music in Boston.
“It all sort of grew out of that whole Kenny Chesney experience,” he says. “That and the fact that there are so many college athletes that come to the Boston area to play sports. Some of them brought their musical tastes.”
Scully somehow finds the time to balance performing in Boston and around the country with family life, raising three kids. Prior to becoming a full-time musician, Scully worked in education as a teacher, vice principal and even a dean of students at various schools in the area. He actually came up with the band’s name in order to avoid nosy students from snooping on his afterwork activities online.
“I was a teacher in a high school and I came in and we’d written the song ‘You Ain’t Her,’ and it had like a thousand YouTube hits overnight,” Scully says. “Everyone was playing it in my English class on YouTube, so I tried to think of something weird.”
“Now people think my name is Dalton,” he adds.
As for what’s next for the band, Dalton & The Sheriffs will return to CMA Fest this summer and hopes to continue growing their fanbase outside of Boston. But don’t expect them to leave the Hub to set up shop in a country city like Nashville anytime soon.
“We would be just another band if we left Boston as our homebase,” Scully says. “If we left that support, I don’t think that we would be as famous.”