Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023

Going Solo

Dexter 22

Hollow Decks songwriter strikes out on his own

For the past decade, guitarist/songwriter Dexter Duran has been running the road with The Hollow Decks. Like all the other musicians in the world, the pandemic put the brakes on the tour buses and forced artists to sit at home and Livestream from their sofas.

Duran put that downtime to productive use. “I was sitting at home twiddling my thumbs and decided to write about my experience. It turned into some songs.”

Last year, when The Hollow Decks bassist was greeting a new baby, Duran decided to take advantage of the downtime and record an album. He went to Fox Trot Studios in Shreveport and recruited Steve Sullivan to collaborate on the project. Sullivan was mixing the album when Duran spoke with 318 Forum.

“It’s the hard part for me because I got to spend 15 days tracking all the instruments and producing it, getting all the other musicians’ parts recorded and arranged. Now is the part when the engineer sends me home and says, ‘All right, I’ll let you know when the mix is ready, and you can come in.’ So, I’ve been twiddling my thumbs for a couple of weeks going crazy. The waiting game is my least favorite game of all.”

The decision to embark on a solo album has been several years in the making.

The Hollow Decks decided to try out some original music, Duran said. “It just so happened the night we debuted two of my original songs, we met our now booking agent. He said, I can book you guys as a tribute act, but you’re going to have to cut all those original songs. We said, really? Why? He said, well, do you want to make art, or do you want to make money? I looked at the rest of the band, and I said, ‘Guys, I don’t have anything particularly artistic to say right now, why don’t we just concentrate on making money.’”

Dexter Duran is working on a solo album.

Duran says he’s a little older now, has more life experience under his guitar strap and feels like he’s ready to put himself out there for a wider audience. “These songs, I guess if you were to put it together, it would kind of be my journey these last couple of years through life. But I think it will find an audience because I think that it speaks to a lot of common themes of people going through life, especially here in Louisiana.”

Aside from Sullivan, Duran has some other familiar Shreveport names on the new album credits.

Sean Stroope, a manager at Fox Trot Studios, is a well-known bassist on the Shreveport music scene. Duran explained Sullivan has “gotten to play with a lot of really cool national acts. He was the first guy that I approached, and he’s playing bass on the album. He was able to get Brady Blade to come and play drums on half of the album. That was very exciting because Brady has played with everybody all over the world. He was the drummer on Dave Matthews’ solo album, and I am a big Dave Matthews fan. If you listen to my album, you’ll absolutely hear the Dave Matthews influences. When [Stroope] said Brady would love to play on your album, I was thrilled.”

Joining Blade on the other half of the album is John Hoffman. On guitar with Duran is Jimmy Wooten, an old high school friend, and another guitarist, Chris Hirsh, who plays with the Barksdale Bubble.

“I do most of the guitar work on the album. Jimmy and Chris came in and did lead guitar on a couple of tracks.”

Jimmy Wallace, currently with the Wall Flowers in Nashville, is on organ and keys, while Daniel and Ted Scott are the horns section. Special guest vocalist will be Hanna Roark.

Duran has got some things coming up besides the album, too. “I’ve got an album release here in about a month, Sept. 23. I’ve got a spot at the Revel opening for Walker Lukens one night. I’m one of the finalists at Music Prize in October. After that, I’m hoping to put together a small winter tour just to get out a little bit. Get these songs out and heard by people that aren’t just the Shreveport-Bossier community. It’ll be on streaming platforms.

“I’m a performer; I love the road. That’s why I’ve loved being in the Hollow Decks for so long because that’s pretty much all we do. But I’d like to get out and do it with my own music.”

He said he and his wife, Erin, love to travel.

“The Hollow Decks is a well-oiled machine, so I hope that will keep me busy for a good long while.”


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