Doghouse Charlie & The Buck Knife cut into the NEPA music collective scene
When Charles Davis’ main musical endeavor, Cherokee Red, became an increasingly difficult ship to maintain, he and fellow members Andrew Sgarlat and Matt Rattigan formed a band called The Buck Knife to fill in their time between Cherokee Red dates. Davis said the band’s first sets were “very exploratory,” but as Cherokee Red began to fade away, The Buck Knife started to solidify.
“We started to incorporate more of my singing and playing,” said Davis, a 33-year-old Luzerne resident. “I’ve been doing my project Doghouse Charlie — which was always sort of a joke name — I had been playing my acoustic stuff under that for a couple years, we just combined them, I guess, and made it the sort of pseudo-backing band to my songs.”
Despite using the term backing band, Davis was adamant about The Buck Knife being anything but — since Davis, Sgarlat and Rattigan made Doghouse Charlie & The Buck Knife their focus nine months ago, the group has begun moving away form Davis’ ready-made solo material and into their own original compositions. Part of that has to do with the establishment of what he called “reoccurring characters.” Chelsea Collins (Pity Party, A Fire With Friends), Todd Kopec (Cabinet) and Allison LaRussa round out the cast.
Davis said he doesn’t like to play live anymore unless all key members are present.
“Our live show’s really diverse. When we play we wind up having a really big sound,” Davis said. “We have a drum kit, bass, one-to-two guitars, sometimes keys, violin and several vocals. There’s a very big, almost orchestral sound going on.”
That’s the same sound the band’s chasing after on its new record, currently under way at Wide Eyed Studios in Wilkes-Barre. Along with the Buck Knife Six, recording has also included a number of local musicians who have performed with the group, including former Cherokee Red member Brittany Thomas. The sessions are mostly comprised of songs about nature.
“I know some people might have a difficult time relating to a song about trees, but I don’t know. It seems like that’s what’s agreeably important these days. Most people can say that’s something we need to think about,” Davis said. “We’ve sort of been investing our energy into subjects like that. It sounds funny to say, but most of our songs are about the environment. There are some other, more tangible elements like love and things like that.”
Music fans can check out the collective and their new songs Nov. 23 at The Other Side, 119 S. Main St. Wilkes-Barre. Doghouse Charlie & The Buck Knife will play with Mind Choir, A Fire with Friends and Big Nate — entry is $5 and the show is only for those 21 or over. To keep The Buck Knife in your musical arsenal, follow them at Facebook.com/TheBuckKnife.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts