Scattered Smothered and Covered is the kind of band you want to be in. Chris Hale – mandolin and vocals, Brett Edwards – acoustic lead guitar, Kendall Harlan – acoustic rhythm guitar, harmonica and vocals, and Ryan Davis – upright bass and vocals. Four long-time friends with like-minded, good musical tastes, who get together on occasion to play their well-written originals and favorite cover songs at cool local venues like The Camel, Center of the Universe Brewing Company, James River Cellars Winery and O’Bank’s Cafe and Grill.
|Scattered, Smothered and Covered|
The first time I saw Scattered Smothered and Covered play it was like my iPod was on shuffle: Grateful Dead, Old and in the Way and Bob Marley songs, traditional tunes such as Red Haired Boy and Drowsy Maggie, maybe even a Django jazz number, with originals mixed in so well to the repertoire that at first – before I knew that they also did their own material – I mistook these songs for covers that I wasn’t familiar with. On stage, Scattered Smothered and Covered conjures up something akin to a small-scale Grateful Dead vibe; a trait that I find to be uniquely appealing about this band.
I recently received a copy of Scattered’s new album Something In the Water, which contains 10 feel-good songs – 7 band originals and 3 covers including Let Me Fall, Dire Wolf and Rivers of Babylon (East Virginia is based on the traditional song). Like their previous 2 albums, Something In the Water is a good representation of their songwriting skills and instrumental abilities. For a band that probably plays at least 2 covers to every 1 original in their live shows, the self-penned songs here are really quite strong (as always), both lyrically and melodically.
Influences of bluegrass, old-time, trad jazz and the Caribbean add flavor to their songs, and SSC is able to cultivate quite a diverse sound using basically the same mix of acoustic instruments on each track. I could list standout numbers, but I’d soon be naming all the cuts. It’s really just an easy to listen to album that is the perfect music to accompany a trip to the beach, the mountains, the river, or wherever the road might take you. Ideally, I’d rather be seeing these guys perform these songs live, but listening to them on CD is a pleasant compromise.
Scattered Smothered and Covered will be playing on Friday, August 23rd 6:30-9:30PM at James River Cellars, where you can see them in-person and pick up a copy of the new CD while you’re at it!