by Bradley “Beej” Davis Jr.
Cover Bands a Staple of the Local Live Music Scene
They get you on your feet at weddings. They are an integral part of outdoor festivals such as Bands on the Beach and Evenings in Olde Seville Square. They add that special touch to local fundraising events. They are cover bands.
“We’ve found out over time, people hire us to play music they’re familiar with,” said lead vocalist Billy Harrell of Reunion Band. Harrell said his group, like many local cover bands, has some original tunes. But at the end of the day, or at the end of the dance floor, guests of private parties as well as music fans at local venues enjoy songs that they can dance to and sing along with.
Other acts have found a way to slip their originals into their unique set of covers. “We perform some original music during our live performances, but we also put our spin on some classic blues-based tunes. We just returned from Memphis, Tenn. where we performed all original material,” adds Reddog of the collective Reddog and Friends.
There is also a group of talented solo acts who can be found at local venues making a contribution to the cover genre.
“I won’t try to define myself from other musicians/bands in the area, but I will give my modus operandi: I only play songs I like, and they’re rarely left unchanged,” claims regular Fish House performer Lucas Crutchfield. “In my head, I need to validate playing someone else’s songs by shaping it to fit me, to give myself some creative license and subsequently, a creative outlet. Like a pair of hand-me-down jeans: once they’re given to you, you make them yours.”
Some groups are more apt to perform more unfamiliar covers to keep their sets fresh and stand out from other cover groups. However, it’s still all about the crowd’s response and participation.
“We pick cover tunes you don’t usually hear bands play, but that are extremely well known and loved,” says Bill Dossey of Lektric Mullet. “We love what we do and it shows, and the crowd loves to see that. (There is) lots of energy.”
The following is a random, non-comprehensive sampling of some notable local cover bands:
Members: Billy Harrell, Charlyne Kilpatrick, David White, Larry Northup, Ed Nickinson, Ross Orenstein, Ken Wallace
What they play: Set list predominantly features rock oldies and R&B hits from the 60s
Where you can see them: Private parties, weddings, reunions, local fundraisers, Bands on the Beach, Evenings in Olde Seville (slated for the Thursday prior to the Fourth of July weekend)
For more information: facebook.com/reunionband
Members: John Kott, Michael Jenks, Justin Smegelksi, Sims Chadwick
What they play: Blues, rock, reggae, country, funk, bluegrass, pop, the old classics, and even a little hip-hop
Where you can see them: From Gulf Shores, Ala. to Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. Catch them at Bamboo Willies March 12 and 13.
For more information: Facebook, YouTube, myspace.com/mojiles
Members: Billy Dossey, David Glencoe, Ricky Lee Phelps, Randy Whitaker
What they play: Remakes of many of the ultra classic rock songs from the late 60s and early 70s. The band carefully handpicks the songs that they know all ages will remember, yet songs that are rarely heard performed by a live band.
Where you can see them: Regular appearances include Paddy O’Leary’s Irish Pub, Sandshaker, Bamboo Willies, Hub Stacey’s, Flounders and the soon-to-be-open Grand Marlin on Pensacola Beach.
For more information: lektricmullet.com
Members: Aubrey Nichols, Josh Barnhill, Jordan Richards
What they play: Southern rock
Where you can see them: The Islander Bar, The Ready Room
For more information: Facebook, myspace.com/timberhawkmusic
Caught on Camera
Members: Gabriel Steeves, Rick Wallace, Steve “Bishop” Maples, Christian McArthur
What they play: Ranges from 50′s rock to modern R&B with a heavy emphasis on the “party rock” genre
Where you can see them: Seville Quarter, Bamboo Willies, Grand Central in Mobile, Ala.
For more information: Facebook, myspace.com/caughtoncamera, caughtoncameraband.com
Members: Lucas Crutchfield
What he plays: Acoustic, James Morrison, Jeff Buckley, Pearl Jam, Scissor Sisters
Where you can see him: Sunday through Thursday, 6-10 p.m. at The Fish House Deck.
For more information: myspace.com/lucascrutchfield1
The Modern Eldorados
Members: Gretsch Lyles, Monte Tredway, Bruce Nystrom, Jason Bagwell
What they play: A Modern Eldorados show will send you back to the days of honky-tonk, hardwood floors and crooning jukeboxes.
Where you can see them: Seville Quarter, local fundraising events, Bands on the Beach, The Pub in Fairhope, Ala.
For more information: Facebook, myspace.com/themoderneldorados
Reddog and Friends
Members: Reddog, John Fountain, Travis “T.J.” Jackson
What they play: Southern style rock and blues.
Where you can see them: Playing once every week or two at Hopjacks, Paradise Bar & Grill, Pirates Cove in Josephine, Ala. and Blues Tavern in Mobile, Ala.
For more information: Facebook, myspace.com/reddogblues, safereturn.home.mindspring.com
Members: Dave Gagnon, Mark Whibbs, Steve Hernandez, Tom Baroco, Dave Clark, Mike Vogel, Angela Baroco, Brian LeBlanc
What they play: Classic covers from The Beach Boys to Van Morrison
Where you can see them: Bands on the Beach, Festival on the Green at UWF, local fundraising events (American Cancer Society Cattle Barons’ Ball July 30), weddings, private parties
For more information: Facebook, masskunfuzion.com