The Real Nasty serve up a completely fresh approach to blues-based country rock. Consider the instrumentation: front man Ryan Lukas plays an upright bass, while percussionist Matthew “Smitty” Smith plays a trap-set and provides backbeats using an afro-Cuban box drum known as a cajon. With bluegrass influenced Jacob Groopman rounding out the lineup on electric guitar, the result is an utterly unique sonic blast of blues-inspired rock mingled with a hint of old-time country authenticity—equal parts Led Zeppelin and Johnny Cash.
To be sure, it’s a potent blend. So it should come as no surprise that these San Francisco Bay Area boys, who come from serious musical pedigrees that include The Crane School of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory, are getting heavy airplay on college radio stations around the country.