As one calendar lands in the wastebin and a new one takes its place on the wall, nothing says "New Year" to a band quite like putting the spit and polish on a new album.
With 2012 waiting in the wings, Southern rockers The Dirty Guv'nahs are gearing up to start assembling their fourth album since 2006, when a group of friends in Knoxville acted on a whim and founded an impromptu band.
The as-yet-untitled project is still taking shape, and the group still needs to further cull a group of 22 songs to decide which ones make the cut. Since this next project will be the band's face to the world for some time to come, it's going to be a tough decision to make, said lead singer James Trimble.
"We have to figure out, 'What do we want to be?' That's the next step," he said. "All 22 songs are amazing, so I'll definitely be sad that seven or eight of them don't make it."
Despite their less-than-structured beginnings, the Guv'nahs have achieved a great deal of notoriety. This year, they played more than 90 shows, and in less than a month, their fans have donated more than $30,000 to an ongoing Kickstarter campaign to fund their next record.
That the Guv'nahs have that kind of support surprises no one more than Trimble, who recently left his day job to pursue playing music full time.
"We're just in such a different place than we were a year ago," he said. "Now, it's ... like, 'OK, this is what I do every day. This is how I pay my mortgage. This is how I live my life as opposed to 'This is what I do on the side.' "
Most of the Guv'nahs also have quit their jobs to focus on the band, so they'll have no one to answer to but themselves if they stay out too late Saturday as the headliners of Track 29's inaugural New Year's Eve blowout. They'll be joined onstage by Nashville's The Delta Saints.
Fans of the Guv'nahs can expect to hear material from their earlier records, but Trimble said the band plans to play five tracks from the new album, including "a few" songs that have never been played live.
Response to the new material should help make the process of tracking the next project easier, Trimble said.
"You just learn so much from playing songs in front of people, what connects with people and what they like," he said. "I totally believe that you don't learn that in a vacuum.
"You learn that by trial and error. You play it in front of people and see what the response is."
2010: "Youth Is in Our Blood"
2009: "Dirty Guv'nahs"
2007: "Don't Need No Money"
IF YOU GO
* What: The Dirty Guv'nahs featuring The Delta Saints.
* When: 9 p.m. Saturday.
* Where: Track 29, 1400 Market St.
* Admission: $20.
* Phone: 521-2929.
* Venue website: www.track29.co.
* Related links at current.timesfreepress.