Music Spotlight: Due West

Feb 23, 2024 at 07:00 am by Bethany Bowman

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 Tim started singing, Brad and Matt chimed in playing and singing harmony.

Matt remembered, “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.’”

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

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

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

Matt 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 Dean Dillion when they were playing a gig in Colorado. When they saw that Dean Dillion was also on the bill, they were thrilled. The promoter of the show took them over to his trailer to meet Dean.

When they went inside, Dean said, “Boys, sit down.” They chatted for about 30 minutes and later Dillion 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, Dean's immediate kindness and generosity opened the door to a unique collaboration. Inviting the trio into his creative sanctuaries in Nashville, Key West, and Colorado, Dean and Due West began crafting songs that would leave an indelible mark on their musical journey.

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, " reaching the Top 50 on the Country Aircheck and Billboard Indicator Chart.

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

LtoR Dean Dillon, Brad Hull, Matthew Lopez, Tim Gates

Matt 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 George Strait’s first single and a Dean Dillon cut. For us to be on a label that Dean 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 Dean 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 listened to in the past. But the lyrics are modern and fresh and will interest the younger generation as well.

Matt summarized, “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).

UNBROKEN Track Listing
  1. Somebody’s Somewhere - (Tim Gates, Matthew Lopez, Brad Hull, Dean Dillon)
  2. Right Amount of Wrong - (Tim Gates, Matthew Lopez, Brad Hull, Dean Dillon)
  3. Only Heart I’m Breaking - (Tim Gates, Matthew Lopez, Brad Hull, Dean Dillon)
  4. Do All Your Leaving - (Tim Gates, Matthew Lopez, Brad Hull, Scotty Emerick, Dean Dillon)
  5. Flying Blind - (Tim Gates, Matthew Lopez, Brad Hull, Scotty Emerick, Dean Dillon)
  6. Lessons - (Tim Gates, Matthew Lopez, Brad Hull, Dean Dillon)
  7. Unbroken Horses - (Jeremy Spillman, Dean Dillon)
  8. Waiting On Her - (Tim Gates, Matthew Lopez, Brad Hull, Dean Dillon)
  9. Let Her Go - (Tim Gates, Matthew Lopez, Brad Hull, Dean Dillon)
10. You Can’t - (Billy Montana, Kylie Sackley, Dean Dillon)
11. World Gone Wrong - (Tim Gates, Matthew Lopez, Brad Hull, Dean Dillon)
12. I Get Those Baby Blues - (Tim Gates, Matthew Lopez, Brad Hull, Scotty Emerick, Dean Dillon)