River grass: Rhythms rock the James

The Dixie Power Trio and the Rogan Brothers
at Dorrier Park, Scottsville
July 3

For the past five years, Scottsville (population: 555), has thrown free concerts in Dorrier Park, and I've missed every one. This year I concluded I should break my streak of non-attendance and actually make it out to the micro-town to see its reputed cuteness in all its glory. Thus, Saturday afternoon found me dutifully heading down Route 20 to experience "Rhythm on the River."

Scottsville is pretty adorable; if I could have gathered it up in my arms and given it a big hug I would, but I had more important things to accomplish– namely, finding the park and witnessing the performance of the Rogan Brothers and the Dixie Power Trio. Things are easy to locate in small towns, and having deduced that West Main St. was the street running west through the center of town, I soon found myself awash in a sea of coolers and can cozies.

The Rogan Brothers were already onstage performing when I arrived (they're serious about punctuality in Scottsville), playing a country number that was somewhat overshadowed by the unpacking of food and drink.

Composed of Josh and Eric Rogan on bass and guitar respectively, and others on keyboards, drums, and percussion, the group offers a coherent and impressively powerful sound, as if a producer had already added the post-production tricks that make a professional album sound fuller than a self-recorded one.

The next tune was a reggae-influenced number featuring vocals by brother Josh, and during the set, while Josh continued to take the lead on the softer, more funky numbers, Eric sang the swaggering country/rock numbers in his throaty vocals.

A touch of Springsteen flowed across these latter tunes, with choruses made for bar sing-a-longs.

"Hang Tough," the brothers sang, "If you don't know what you want, you got enough." Technically, the group was on a par with the best bar band around, but had the additional benefit of memorable and catchy writing, particularly in the choruses.

Next up was the Dixie Power trio from Fredericksburg, a group with guitar, accordion, tuba, and drums, who play a mixture of Dixieland, zydeco, and swing. While these genres are not my cup of tea, the group shows ample talent in its recreation of classic sounds.

A cover of Bobby Womack's "I Used to Love Her" was quite interesting coming from this oddly composed line-up– tuba took the bass line, and the accordion player switched over to trumpet for a long, flawless solo.

I like Scottsville and its version of the certain rustic charm of non-commercialized small towns, and Rhythm on the River seems like a scene I'd like to get hip to. Oh, and did I mention the concert had a stand combining sorbet and goat cheese?

Now you know you're in hip country.

The Dixie Power Trio

[The caption on this photo was wrong in the printed version of the Hook; it has been corrected here.–editor]