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Divots return to Veterans Memorial Lake Park

Cary Ashby • Jul 30, 2019 at 6:00 PM

Do you enjoy songs by Johnny Cash? How about Led Zeppelin?

The Divots will return to Veterans Memorial Lake Park on Wednesday. The free concert starts at 6 p.m. at shelter No. 4. 

Formed in the spring of 2011, the acoustic rock cover band has the respect of other local musicians.

“I think The Divots speak for themselves. If you haven’t heard of The Divots, I’m assuming you rarely leave your house. They’re a great band; they’re a local treasure and beyond. They’ve put in the work they’ve done for years and years and years,” said Tony Schaffer, keyboardist and singer for Fubbs n’ Chubbs, a local funk band.

The Divots consists of guitarist and lead singer Tad Swan, of Wakeman; drummer Scott Whitehurst, of Huron; and bassist Mel Holida, of Norwalk.

Swan also plays harmonica, while Holida occasionally adds a mandolin to the mix. Whitehurst, who provides background vocals, plays the djembe, African drums, for “Salisbury Hill” by Peter Gabriel.

“The songs that seem to resonate are those that folks are familiar with and can sing along with, like ‘Wagon Wheel.’ Other songs that tend to be crowd-pleasers are the ones that showcase our individual talents — like the songs on which Mel plays mandolin, the blues songs that highlight Tad’s guitar playing and the songs that I get to add a bit more than keeping the beat, such as ‘Salisbury Hill’ or our intro into ‘Folsom Prison Blues,’” Whitehurst said. 

“We also have some favorites of our own as a band that seem to connect with people, like ‘Into the Mystic’ and ‘Handle With Care.’ And people always have their favorite artists and if we can pull one off for them, they’re always grateful and remember that.”

The Divots cover everyone from the Allman Brothers and the Bee Gees to Tom Petty, Michael Stanley and Hank Williams.

“I try to have 300 songs that I keep active,” said Swan, who particularly enjoys playing Eric Clapton tunes. “A lot of the songs I learn are because people request them.”

Wednesday’s concertgoers will hear more than just classic rock.

“You’re going to hear all your favorites from the 60s and 70s and they nail it,” Schaffer said.

Holida, Swan and Whitehurst met at a 2011 benefit event where Whitehurst was performing. At one point, Eagle Creek Golf Course booked the three musicians twice a month. The name Divots came from the trio getting started at the Norwalk golf course.

Most recently, The Divots consider the Wakeman Elevator Craft Beer & Wine Barn its honorary home base

“Norwalk is where we got our start as a band, so it’s always great to be back there. As far as the summer concert series at the reservoir (goes), this will be our fourth time, if memory serves me right, which is questionable at this age. It’s an honor of sorts to be asked back. I guess that means we’re doing something right,” Whitehurst said.

“It’s good for the community, especially for the great Gaymont residents who aren’t usually able to enjoy shows like this. That means a lot to us to be able to share some of our time with them. And the series itself at this great setting is certainly a wonderful gift to the Norwalk community.”

The Divots have several area concerts scheduled in August. Those gigs include: Aug. 8 at the Dockside Cafe in Sandusky (6 p.m.); Aug. 16 at the Bridge Bar in Willard (8:30); Aug. 17 at the Wakeman Elevator (7); Aug. 25 back at the Dockside Cafe (1); and Aug. 28 at the Wakeman park (6:30).

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