The compact, four-song EP Darwin Diego by Charleston multi-instrumentalist Hector Quirko presents a sample of the artist's newest work that falls in the realm of roots rock. | Image provided

The songs on Darwin Diego’s new self-titled EP all rest comfortably in that little corner where country and rock meet. Think James McMurtry or Son Volt, or, if you insist, call it Americana, though that genre casts an increasingly wide net. 

The four new tracks are models of how an artist can work within multiple genres, starting with “How’s My Drinking,” a genuine, honest-to-God trucker song that chugs along with charming momentum and even name-checks the classic “Six Days On The Road” by Earl Green.

Then it’s straight into the EP’s best track, the wistful, mostly acoustic “Gone Like A Train,” which sounds like some sort of heavenly combo of Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. Next up is the all-love-is-beautiful ballad “Women,” which opens with an open-minded and hilarious monologue. Then the EP closes with the loping, impressionistic “Where The Summer Hides.” 

Overall, the Darwin Diego EP is as welcoming as a mild, sunny Sunday afternoon. Positions of the EP were recorded at Fairweather Studio on James Island with producer Omar Colon and The Music Creek in Knoxville, Tennessee, with producer Brock Henderson.

Darwin Diego is actually the pseudonym of Charleston musician Hector Qirko, who has quite an impressive musical resume.

“I started out playing professionally in Chicago with Lonnie Brooks,” Qirko said, “who is now, I’m happy to say, in the Blues Hall of Fame. I was a sideman to him, so I learned a lot from him. And then I lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, for many years, and in the process also did a bunch of country music television work for the then-cable station, The Nashville Network. I came to Charleston about 12 years ago and still maintained connections with Knoxville but also started making some new ones here.”

Qirko’s moniker Darwin Diego sprang from the artist’s intention to create a little mystery around his recording project. 

“I release a couple of records under my own name,” Qirko said, “but my name doesn’t read as well off the page, and it’s much less mysterious. So, I thought this time around with this project, that I would go ahead and use a pseudonym like an author might and after a lot of work, came up with the name Darwin Diego.”

The Darwin Diego EP is just a taste of a 15-track project that Qirko plans on releasing in bits and pieces in the future.

“I decided, both for the sake of my attention span and any listeners’ attention spans, to [release the tracks across] a couple of EPs, at least at first,” he said. “And so for this one, I gathered the songs that I thought were the most Americana, alt-country, roots-folk — whatever you want to call that general amorphous category of music. These four felt like they went together the best.”

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