My first dirtbox pedal was given to me as a gift by St. Louis’s one and only mastering engineer, Brad Sarno. He gave it up without hesitation when I said that I liked how well it warmed my Marshall tube amp and custom Fender rig. It’s blue light lit up my feet at every show, while its tone lent my guitar a sophisticated gnarl – a little nasty on a lot of nice. I was obsessed with Noiseless pickups, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and fat frets. To this day, that dirtbox brings me back home. When I first spun the Mavericks’ All Night Live, Volume 1, I could hear the dirt and mud through the subdued guitars on “I Said I Love You.” It wasn’t a lot, but I could tell they shared a love for Texas blues, a crushed metal-on-metal sound, that they blended seamlessly with heroic brass blasts. Even Rev. Billy C. Wirtz throws shoveled heaps of dirt harp on his new record, Full Circle, while Neil Young -- the great innovator of dirtbox Americana -- brings it home on Peace Trail.