Ever wonder what it’s like to hear Psy’s iconic hit song, “Gangnam Style,” with banjo accompaniment? How about a a bluegrass singer belting out “Heyyy sexy lay-day!”
Well, look no further because The Cleverlys have you covered- and then some.
In their own one-of-a-kind fashion, the band’s brand new album, Solid Butter, is a riveting collection of bluegrass/roots covers (with one original in “Climbing Up”) of both modern and classic hit songs, spanning decades and genres. Composed of Dr. Digger and his nephews, Ricky Lloyd, Dale Vernon Dale aka DVD, Haggis, and Dr. Digger’s younger brother, Wasper, the band is unlike any others.
The July 28th release features 10 well-known songs reinvented with that signature Cleverly twist. While maintaining the original integrity of each song, The Cleverlys have infused each melody with roots true to their Ozark Mountain upbringing.
Opening strong with a bayou banger, the band leads with Dr. John’s 1973 hit, “Right Place, Wrong Time.” Full of impressive string accompaniment, this is but a taste of the finger pickin’ delights yet to come. The band’s characteristic bluegrass twang and deep funky vocals make the track an obvious choice for the opening spot.
“Love Shack,” the 1989 classic by The B-52’s, gives listeners another spectacular blast from the past, and is undoubtedly a standout on the album. As expected, The Cleverlys have added their own quirky spin with layers of uniquely crafted instrumentals. Swelling into fast-paced solos, the melody ebbs and flows effortlessly, with a badass “Bang bang bang on the door, baby” breakdown.
Perhaps the most impressive undertaking is their bold rendition of “Gangnam Style,” originally released by South Korean rapper Psy in 2012. The record-setting popularity of that song took the globe by storm, and 11 years later, The Cleverly gang gives it new life. It’s awfully interesting hearing the lead singer singing in Korean, and you can’t help but smile and tap along.
The closing track is an Ed Sheeran track like you’ve never heard before. His 2017 release, “Shape of You” quickly exploded as a monster radio hit. Like the rest of the album, this song gets The Cleverly facelift, chock full of that special bluegrass charm. The original melody is relatively the same, and the lyrics are sung in the same fashion as Sheeran’s version, making the song just as catchy as ever.
Born from humble beginnings amidst the Ozark Mountains, The Cleverlys bridge the gap between music and humor, combining the two into one uniquely show-stopping experience. This tightly-knit family unit has been playing together for years, showcasing their southern roots through party-starting bluegrass bangers. They’ve performed at festivals like Stagecoach, CMAFest, Telluride, RockyGrass, and iconic venues like the Grand Ole Opry,
Since their formation in 2009, the project has evolved over the years, yet its founder, Dr. Digger Cleverly, has been in the business since the age of 14. Raised on a farm near Cane Spur, Arkansas, and growing their own grub, the gang grew up knowing the value of hard work, and their father’s famous pipe tobacco brought folks in from all around.
Long days on the farm were followed by evening concerts, often drawing large crowds to hear the family sing and play. Dr. Digger’s father is the one who originally formed the band with his three brothers, and since then, the band has become a must-see act, headlining shows around the country.
Solid Butter is the latest (and greatest?) display of The Cleverlys unique ability to transport listeners to a new yet familiar sonic space, and we’re here for it. The band is out and about in support of the album playing these gems and more for the masses, so see if they’re in a town near you.