The Cleverlys, Cane Spur, Arkansas' Finest
by Keith Barnacastle
The Cleverlys are a one-of-a-kind comedy/music blend coming from the remote part of the Ozark Mountains, near Cane Spur, Arkansas. Their new project Blue is out and available on their website and produced on Mountain Home Music.
Paul Harris of the Cleverlys, started his career as a standup comedian and came to be on stage in Branson Missouri doing some 500 shows a year. He has worked with many of the best and biggest stars. The Cleverlys came as an idea for a TV show depicting a musical family from the Ozarks getting their life back. The band hopes to bring a younger generation to bluegrass through its comedy and pitfalls that go with a traveling group of musicians. Harris felt this a great way to use his skills and combine comedy with music. Harris was influenced by David Bowie and The Red-Hot Chili Peppers. So, he started a punk rock band. Later in his career he started playing with bluegrass families in the Ozarks.
He was influenced by bands like Hot Rize, Seldom Scene, and The J D Crow band. His comedic influence came from SNL, Carson, and Jerry Clower. He loves the storytelling of Jerry Clower and likes the comedy of Monty Python, Christopher Guest, and the movie, Spinal Tap. The Cleverlys are a unique combination of all these styles. Branson Missouri was a building block for Harris. The Cleverlys was a way to build his repertoire and hone his craft. He felt blessed doing his comedy for about 11 years on the Branson stage and performed with the cleverly another 10 years in Branson. The Cleverlys have also traveled to many festivals and music venues throughout the United States.
The Cleverlys are a divine invention, consisting of five guys: Digger Cleverly, Sock Cleverly, DVD Cleverly, Cub Cleverly, and Ricky Lloyd Cleverly.
Digger is the oldest boy born in 1960 in Star Gap, Arkansas. Digger worked and played music with the family until 1974. At age 14, he got his first outside gig as the guitar tech for Leif Garrett. He was exposed to a lot as a young boy, even more when he became the flute tech for Jethro Tull. In the 80’s he toured with “The Rickets” and recorded with such artist as Avery Noonan and produced his Gypsy Wagon album. He wrote “Dry Hunch,” a top-100 hit, for the group Barn Door. It zoomed up the charts to #93. In the late 1990’s he moved back to the family homestead on Cleverly Mountain. He founded Stabbin’ Cabin records and signed The Cleverly Trio to a multi-album deal.
Ricky Lloyd Cleverly, he goes by Lloyd… “The
first L is silent…kinda soft L…otherwise it would be pronounced LaLoyd, is our sister Delva’s boy. He grew up around Culp Arkansas ’til he was ’bout six when he was out in the barn lot at Aunt Punk’s place. Well, he got thirsty and grabbed the milk goat’s teat and went to nursing. Next day she was dead …she had contracted an unidentified fungus from his saliva. Next day these dudes showed up from the National Saliva Institute in St. Paul Minnesota wearing space suits and he lived in their laboratory ’til they found out that his spit is the antidote to the Kamoto Dragon bite! And he is single ladies!! He plays Doghouse Bass, the Phonograph Sound Machine in the group, he also is huge in the Amish Rave scene.”
The Cleverlys have an annual festival up on Cleverly Mountain every spring. It brings people from all over the world, some as far as Tupelo, Mississippi.
Playing at Telluride was a dream come true for Harris because of the influences of the music that he so fondly remembers. “We got a request for several encores and standing ovations. It was fantastic.” The Cleverlys have played the Grand Ole Opry and other venues. Some recent highlights have included a stop at the Lower End VFW and then onto the popular Midget Festival in Oztown West Virginia. You should see all them midgets! They have the Dwarf Circus, an all midget rodeo, and Extreme Midget Wraslin’. “That’s where my nephew, Digger Jr.Jr., met his soul mate Tiny Tina. She’s a Midget Tina Turner Impersonator. She looks just like Tina Turner ‘cept she’s …a midget.”
Keep your eyes and ears open, cause the Cleverlys might be performing in a town near you soon! http://www.thecleverlys.com