Members: Paul Harris as 'Digger Cleverly,' Mark Pearman as 'Otto Cleverly,' Steve Bush as 'Vernon Dean 'VD' Cleverly,' Steve Wilkerson as 'Harvey D. Cleverly' and Irl Hess as 'Miles Cleverly'
Influences: "The greats of bluegrass, from Bill Monroe to Tony Rice," lead singer Paul Harris tells The Boot. From there, the list goes on to include a vast range from Run-D.M.C., the Cure, U2 and Elton John to Marvin Gaye.
"Music is music to the Cleverlys, even though they came from a humble beginning on the farm and in the country, so that's what they want to share with the world," Irl Hess explains.
"That's what makes this group so enjoyable," Steve adds. "We do have so many roots that we're pulling together and putting into a bluegrass feel and making people smile and have a good time at the same time."
All this led to the group's unexpected covers, which include the Black Eyed Peas, Cee Lo Green, Beyoncé and Katy Perry. (Watch them cover Beyoncé's 'Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)' below.)
Why We Dig 'Em: Because we like our bluegrass to make us laugh. This five piece faux-family band is the brainchild of comedian Paul Harris, who describes the fictional Arkansas pickers as "bluegrass meets 'The Office.'" "I was a stand-up comic for the last 20 years and also loved music," Paul explains. "I wanted to do an entertaining show and marry music with the comedy. It grew into this. We prove that it can be done. People appreciate it for different reasons. There are people out there that get it for the music and other people that get it just for the entertainment value."
The characters they portray are very important to the musicians. "When we first started we'd get in our suits and walk around town as a family in order to get used to being in character," Paul says. "The music part we knew we could handle. It's the whole persona we want people to actually believe it."
And believe it they do. "We had a photo shoot one day and two or three people were watching and were talking to us," explains Irl, who plays the blind member of the band, Miles. "This one guy kept watching me, and we got done with the shoot and I got led out to my car by someone. Then I put my bass in the car, and the guy stood there the whole time. Finally, I walked around my car and got into the driver's seat, turned and looked at him and said, 'Well, that's all there is.' And he went, 'Oh, man! You had me going.' Up to that very moment, he thought I was blind. [laughs]"
The group's mockumentary will be available on DVD later this spring, and their album is expected to be ready by December. Learn more about the "family" here.