Crawley Creek Company Rocks the Park on Friday
By Kate Smith
The Crawley Creek Company band is like a palpable memory: a circle of five Southern locals fingering out their stories.
At age 18 and 16, "self-directed" brothers Wayne and Max Livengood made a band of themselves, built on -calloused fingers and a couple of radio station gigs. The brothers grew up in Carthage with the birth of bluegrass, the acoustic pan-out of country, folk music about lost love and trains, and the electric craze of rock 'n' roll.
"My brother and I always idolized Don Reno, Red Smiley and the Tennessee Cut-Ups," says Wayne Livengood. "In Carthage, we could pick up their broadcast early in the morning all the way from Roanoke, Va. I'd watch Red Smiley play that big 45 Martin guitar - I loved to hear him play runs on it - beautiful guitar. He was, and is, my ideal."
Now, after nearly 60 years, the Crawley Creek Company has the history of life's twangs and breakdowns narrating their memoirs through Wayne's rhythm guitar, Max's Dobro, fiddle, guitar, banjo and mandolin, Mark Fry's rhythm guitar, Austin Cameron's banjo and Noah Richardson's bass.
"My brother and I are the band," Wayne Livengood says, in a literal sense, as their nature has been grafted with the music. "I hope when I leave this ol' world that I'm making a G chord run on my guitar and the Lord calls me right up."
Known as the Bluegrass Tarheels until 2009, the Company is a combination of past and new members. In a word, Livengood describes the current members.
Mark Fry is "fun loving."
"He went from not being able to [properly] sing or play a note seven years ago, to singing and playing very very well," Livengood says.
Austin Cameron and Noah Richardson are 15 years old and have an appetite for music and the band.
"Austin is the best five-string banjo player that I know. He's focused. He wants to get it right," Livengood says. "Noah is dedicated - dedicated to what the bass can do and what it can do for the band. They're farm boys; they raise chickens and cattle. They're the kind of young men that make you proud of the United States that you grew up in."
With the canyon between ages in the band, Livengood still claims that "we're all the same age. We're not looking for anything. We just want to have a good time. Four- and 5-year-old kids have to be taught not to like bluegrass music; it puts rhythm in them and they can't help but dance. Bluegrass gives all people the opportunity to sit back and relax and not be bothered by anything. They can enjoy the beat and the tone."
Though the Crawley Creek Company has weathered and strengthened for 60 years, it's been only two years since its resurrection.
"My brother and I have been playing for so long that we decided to retire from the band. Now we've begun again, and we're pushing toward a new horizon.
"We play country, modern, gospel, and mix it up with a bluegrass sound," Livengood says. "We try to play what -people have heard and what they like.
"Bluegrass-style music tells a story. People write the history of their lives when they write these songs - messages about the simple life and what life has to offer.
"Whether that be 'comforting and warm' like Grandma's chicken pot pie, or -'ponderous' like solitude in a field of bearded wheat, the music resonates with us, stitching our patterns together with the musicians as people sharing our 'good and bad.'"
The Crawley Creek Company will be providing the musical entertainment for the 24th annual Carthage Buggy Festival kickoff event, Friday, May 11, at Nancy Kiser Park. The band will take the stage from 6 to 9 p.m.-
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