I’m happy to say that it’s new band time again, gentle readers! The group this week is a brand new act called Long Gone Daddy made up by Roy Davis (lead vocals, guitar), Bernie Nye (lead guitar, banjo, lead and backing vocals), Willy Crichton (drums, backing vocals), Ezra Rugg (bass), and John Pranio (fiddle, vocals). From his cottage in Washington, Davis, who had just finished a rehearsal with the band in the home he recently built for himself, was more than happy to reply to my first inquiry.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about Long Gone Daddy?

Davis: Sure. It’s a pretty new band, some of us have been playing together a long time. Bernie and Willy, we’ve been playing together since we were 11- and 12-years-old. We went to school together in Thorndike. We all still live pretty close in the Mt. View area. I had moved away for a bunch of years working on my original music project, then I moved back last summer and reconnected with Willy and Bernie.

Now Bernie and I had written songs and played together in a band called The Coloradas, which was very dark, serious and artsy. (It’s) the kind of music where people sit, listen and kind of process the songs. That’s great and we enjoyed that, but one day we were sitting around listening to Hank Williams and we started thinking, “Man, everybody loves Hank Williams!”

We wanted to start a band that would be fun and that people could dance to. In this area, the mid-coast, there’s not too many venues for original music where there are a lot of other cool community events. So we kind of thought that we should play Hank Williams’ music because everybody loves it: young people, old people.

So that started Long Gone Daddy, we started rehearsing and getting tunes together and we’ve been booking shows and it looks like we’re going to be busy next summer.

Q: This show you have coming up on Friday, Feb. 17, at Mainely Brews is going to be a celebration of Hank Williams’ music, correct?

Davis: Uh-huh.

Q: Do you write your own material, as well?

Davis: Not for this band, no. I mean, both Bernie and myself are songwriters, but for this particular band and that particular concert it’s going to be a Hank Williams theme and maybe a few other kinds of traditional country tunes that we’ve always loved and that can be played in the Hank Williams style.

Also, Bernie and I have some original country tunes that we could work into that kind of style so that might be a possibility someday.

Q: Well, as the old saying goes: “Dance with the one who brung you!”

Davis: Yeah, and Bernie and I, and all the band members, Willy and Ezra and John, we’ve always loved fiddle music; anything from contra dance stuff to traditional Irish tunes (we love). There’s something about the fiddle. It’s such an energetic instrument and that’s the driving force behind Long Gone Daddy instrumentally: the fiddle.

Q: Being a fan of vocal harmonies, I couldn’t help but notice that four of the five members contribute vocals.

Davis: Yeah, we’re all going to be doing some singing. John’s a great singer. I’ve only known him a short time. He actually knew my parents back when they lived in Alaska, where I was born. I was asking around for a fiddle player and they said, “Oh, you should contact John.” Yeah, he’s a great singer. Bernie sings really well so we might trade off some of the lead vocals and all kind of chime in on the backing vocals.

Q: You said that you were born in Alaska. When did you move to Maine?

Davis: We moved to Maine when I was just a one-year-old so I don’t remember Alaska at all. My brother was three and I was one. My parents met in Alaska when they were playing music at folk festivals. John moved to Maine around the same time my parents did, I think. I’d love to go back someday but I haven’t made it happen yet.

Q: Have you ever performed at Mainely Brews before?

Davis: I have played there with Bernie and my old band, The Coloradas, but this will be the first time playing with Long Gone Daddy and the first time with the Hank Williams celebration.

Q: Are The Coloradas disbanded so you can concentrate on Long Gong Daddy?

Davis: Oh, we still are together we’re just on a little hiatus. We played a show maybe a couple of months ago and we will again. I just wanted to do this fun band for a while and then get back to that one. Not that it’s not fun to play original music but I like the idea of people dancing. And in small-town Maine there are a lot of Grange halls and community events that aren’t necessarily the right venues to play kind of mellow, original music. But those are the same type of venues that this band will be perfect for.

Q: I must admit that I’m a fan of original music.

Davis: Well, original music is really where our passion lies, too. And we haven’t really played in cover bands before. It hasn’t been a thing we did, but we’re trying this one thing just because it’s Hank Williams.

Q: And if it’s something you enjoy playing then why not? You’ve got to have fun, too.

Davis: Yup, exactly!

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the readers of this article?

Davis: I guess just come on down to Mainely Brews. It’s going to be fun!

Next week, I’ll have a conversation with the delightful Anna Pillsbury, a singer-songwriter who’ll be performing at Slates in Hallowell on Monday, February 20th. See you in seven!

Lucky Clark has spent more than 45 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.