Waydown Wailers keeping it original with ‘Empty Promises 


When Aaron “Professor Louie” Hurwitz was asked by the Waydown Wailers to return as producer for the band’s second album, he didn’t skip a beat in agreeing to it.

“If a group and writers are really dedicated to making music, it’s always great to encourage them,” said Mr. Hurwitz, who in the 1990s, working with Levon Helm, co-produced three albums for The Band: “Jericho,” “High on the Hog” and “Jubilation.”

His own group, Professor Louie and the Crowmatix, has released nine albums on Woodstock Records and has been nominated for five Grammy awards.

“The reason I’m involved is their enthusiasm to play original music, writing music and staying together,” Mr. Hurwitz said in a phone interview from his LRS Recording Studios in Hurley, Ulster County. “Especially, since I think the group is getting better and better. The sound has gotten better on this record compared to the last record.”

The second album from Upstate band Waydown Wailers, “Empty Promises,” was released Feb. 26. It follows “State of the Union,” released in 2013.

Songs on “Empty Promises” are receiving airplay nationwide and internationally. The album has been on the Roots Music Report’s blues rock charts since Feb. 7, when it was released to radio stations, hitting a high of No. 7. Songs getting the most airplay are “Jealousy,” “Susie Q” and “Whiskey & Cornbread.”

The band was one of 64 in the state that competed this month in the NYS Music March Madness competition sponsored by the online magazine NYS Music. Waydown Wailers made it to the “elite 8” in the contest.

Waydown Wailers consists of brothers Dave Parker (guitar/lead vocals) and Christian “Moe” Parker (lead guitar), along with Michael “Scruffy” Scriminger (drums/percussion) and Connor Pelkey (bass, backing vocals).

As in the first album, the nine songs on “Empty Promises” range from daily observations, national social commentary to tales of past relationships.

The band’s sound has been called everything from blues and “swamp rock” to Americana.

The new album doesn’t help to pin down the band’s style. A Cajun-flavored ballad, “Still Water,” is thrown into the mix.

Mr. Hurwitz is beyond attempting to describe the music.

“I always let the critics and the people who write about music describe it,” he said. “The only thing I’m concerned about is that there’s good music and there’s bad music. I try to make sure that anything that goes out to the public is good music, so that we’re not just throwing things out there trying to imitate something or to get on the bandwagon or the latest trend. My description is that it’s good music and good writing.”

Mr. Scriminger, who is also the band’s business manager, said the group is developing a sound all its own.

“But we’re locking into a little bit more of what they call roots rock, infused with blues,” he said.

But how about the Cajun?

“You can still tell it’s us,” he said. “It’s our flavor.”

Like the band’s first album, the basic tracks for “Empty Promises” were recorded over a two-day period at Subcat Studios in Syracuse. Mr. Hurwitz praised the engineering skills of Subcat’s Jeremy Johnston.

At his LRS studio, Mr. Hurwitz refined the new tracks by doing a “little bit of sweetening and mixing.” Some background vocals were added, and he enhanced the album with organ, piano synthesizer and accordion.

The album was mastered (final audio post-production) at Northeastern Digital in Southboro, Mass.

“I was a little bit more of getting the sound a bit clearer on this CD,” Mr. Hurwitz said. “They weren’t that experienced in the studio the first time around. In the second time around, I made sure we could take our time a little bit more to make sure technically and musically, things were coming together.”

Mr. Scriminger said technology played a big role in the album’s creation. Mr. Pelkey, the band’s bass player, moved to Pennsylvania two years ago. But for rehearsals, the Internet allowed Mr. Pelky’s bass guitar sounds travel to his bandmates in Canton, and vice versa.

“We can have his bass-playing coming through our bass cabinet in our studio,” Mr. Scriminger said. “It’s been an interesting thing to work out, but it’s kept that band together and kept him in the group.”

One benefit of having a Waydown Wailer in Pennsylvania is that the band hopes to pick up some gigs in that state, Mr. Scriminger said. The band mainly plays in the Syracuse area and points east and west of Central New York. He said the bars and clubs in the north country prefer cover bands.

“We decided to devote all of our time to being original, knowing that we may not have places to play around here,” Mr. Scriminger said.

However, the band does have a concert at 8 p.m. Friday, April 8, at Pub 56 in Canton, on the campus of St. Lawrence University, between Hulett and Jencks halls at Avenue of the Elms.

The band, which does appear at local festivals, is beginning to book those gigs for the summer. It will perform at the Freedom Festival at Evans Mills Speedway on Friday, Aug. 26. On Sept. 10, the band will open the Clayton Country Jam at the Thousand Islands Winery in Alexandria Bay.

Mr. Hurwitz is impressed by the band’s dedication to keeping things original.

“I got to hand it to them for slugging it out, playing shows and really working at it,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for them.”

The band’s attitude can be summed up by the title of its opening track on “Empty Promises”: “Don’t Let Life Pass You By.”

“We just enjoy playing, writing and being ourselves,” Mr. Scriminger said.
Watertown Daily Times

Waydown Wailers performing local shows as popularity increases


Even as their popularity increases internationally, the Waydown Wailers have found they have been offered more opportunities locally due to their rising stock on musical charts and reviews from other parts of the world.

The Waydown Wailers will perform as an opening act for the Charlie Daniels Band at the St. Lawrence County Fair in Gouverneur on Aug. 2 and will also open for Jerrod Niemann at the Franklin County Fair on Aug. 13. Michael “Scruffy” Scriminger, the band’s drummer, said he appreciated that the St. Lawrence County Fair was willing to invite a local band to perform.

“That means a lot to us,” he said. “We are starting to see our fan base help us grow in this area.”

Their newest album, “Empty Promises,” has allowed the band to reach several genres of music, which helps build recognition. The album itself is No. 31 on The Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Blues Rock Album Chart for the week of May 30 and is No. 34 on the U.K. Independent Blues Broadcasters Association Chart for April 2016.

Three songs from “Empty Promises” are tracking on blues rock charts, while two others are tracking for country. The music has also appeared in genres like southern rock, roots music and Americana.

“That is one nice thing about what this album has done is hit a lot of different genres,” Mr. Scriminger said.

“Even in one song we can take a left turn and give you a little flavor of country or punk,” added David L. Parker, lead singer and guitarist.

Mr. Scriminger said the band’s music is showing up regularly in countries like Great Britain, Belgium and Australia. He thinks the unintentional “old school sound” the Waydown Wailers bring could be part of the reason they are becoming so popular overseas.

“I believe blues rock is extremely popular in the European market,” Mr. Scriminger said, noting the band has been reviewed extensively in Europe. “All of those reviews have helped us grow here.”

One such review, published on rootstime.be, likened the Waydown Wailers’ revival of ’70s rock sounds to The Temperance Movement and The Sheepdogs.

Lead guitarist Christian “Moe” Parker said he believes the album has done so well because the band went into the studio without overthinking the music and allowed the process to work itself out.

“This album happened quicker, which usually tends to make it more off-the-cuff, where the creativity of it is,” he said. “It’s spontaneous and that is what I like about it.”

Bass player Connor Pelkey, the newest member of the band, said he feels he was able to make more of an impact on this album. He thinks the music sounds more cohesive because all band members had a say in the creative process.

“I had a lot more hand in the creative aspect of the songs,” Mr. Pelkey said. “The first album I had just joined up, a lot of the songs and ideas were pretty well solidified.”

All the band members agree the future is exciting to think about and they are all looking forward to continuing to grow. The band will perform all summer, and Mo Parker said he is excited to see how the consistency will benefit the group.

“This is an exciting time because we get to play more regularly, we are lined up throughout the whole summer,” he said. “It makes us a better band playing all summer, and usually that leads to going back to the studio. I wouldn’t be surprised if we are back in the studio in the fall.”

A bigger name means bigger shows in front of larger crowds, and Mr. Pelkey said he is looking forward to performing at larger venues.

“We are getting the chance to play bigger stages and I love being loud,” he joked.

While the prospect of playing big shows with other big-name artists is exciting, David Parker also is thrilled to see how the band grows in Upstate NY. He said the Waydown Wailers have begun getting more acknowledgement at home for their work.

“Everybody likes to be recognized in their own area. We are finally getting that,” he said.

The band looks to kick off its summer at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Westcott Theater in Syracuse as an opening act for Devon Allman. For a full list of summer events, visit www.waydownwailers.com


Clayton Country Jam
Now you can enjoy your favorite selection from Thousand Islands Winery® in these special edition collector bottles featuring your favorite performers from 2016 Clayton Country Jam

These wines will only be offered for a limited time.

Buy your favorite or collect them all!

Waydown Wailers Wine


Waydown Wailers Fulfill Expectations with Empty Promises
by Keith Gorgas 
April 12, 2016
No Depression "The Journal Of Roots Music"

The Waydown Wailers are an original band from Upstate New York State, comprised of Christian and Dave Parker (two brothers) on guitars, Conner Pelkey on bass, and Michael “Scruffy” Scriminger handling drums and percussion. Professor Louie again joins the boys to grace the tunes with his fingers on the keys.  Individually, they’re lifelong musicians, and veterans of various bands and genres.  Together, the synergistic blend of influences produces a group sound that won’t quite fit in any stylistic pigeon hole.  There are strains of Folk ballads, Bluegrass, and assorted Americana combined with Southern Rock, Grunge, Blues, and straight out Rock & Roll. The Waydown Wailers call their style “Outlaw Jam”. Back in 2013, the band delivered an excellent debut album, State of the Union, and their most recent offering, Empty Promises picks up where the previous CD left off.

Don’t Let Life Pass You By gets things going.  It’s an upbeat rocker with a taste of country, poignant lyrics and a philosophical admonition. As is true throughout the CD, the musicianship is tight, well-rehearsed, and full without being over -indulgent.  Lyrics are a big part of this project, and all songs except the classic Suzy Q are written by the band.  Jealousy comes next, noting that it’s hard to out on your own to “live your life through your songs.”

The title track, Empty Promises, sounds like it will be around for a long time, while Waydown Blues would fit right in one your favorite Southern Rock playlist.  No Time To Waste sounds like it was borrowed from Eric Clapton.

One of the most interesting songs on the CD is St.Vraine, the story of a Colorado river given to occasional destructive and deadly floods.  The floods of 1969 and 2013 were of particular note. She’s On the Run offers diversity to the sound, and then  comes a notable interpretation of Suzy Q, delivered in distinctive Waydown Wailers style.  It sounds both familiar and fresh.

My favorite number on Empty Promises is the bluegrassy Still Water.  It would be easy to believe it’s straight out of a Carter Family songbook.  It’s hauntingly beautiful and I’d be surprised if it doesn’t find its way onto the Americana music charts.  The band heads on out of the studio, leaving us with Whiskey & Cornbread. Dave Parker’s slide guitar gives the song a Southern Rock feel.  It leaves a good taste in the mouth.

If this recording had been released in the mid-seventies, it would have found its way to the top of the music charts. The quality is enduring, full of surprises and quite satisfying to this review’s ear.  Empty Promises should expand the Waydown Wailers audience beyond Northern New York and bring them to a National level.  Good work, Waydown Wailers.

WAYDOWN WAILERS – Empty Promises (Woodstock Records)

Flyinshoes Review 

February 17, 2016 
It is difficult, if not impossible, not to mention The Band when reviewing this release from this upstate New York outfit – not only is the label name relevant, but sometime Band collaborator, multi-instrumentalist and producer Professor Louie helps out on various keyboards and accordion here. The music might not be quite what you associate with The Band’s music though – but listen out carefully and you might detect a connection. Waydown Wailers is a four piece under the joint leadership of brothers Dave (guitar and vocals) and Moe Parker (lead guitar), augmented by Connor Plekey on bass and backing vocals, and drummer Michael “Scruffy” Scriminger, and this release is the follow-up to their 2013 debut album “State Of The Union”. The band’s sound ranges far and wide - “electric Americana”, drawing in elements of country, blues, folk, folk-rock (in the vein of The Byrds), 60s British invasion and garage sounds, and vintage rock and roll. The album’s only non-original track is an excellent rendition of Dale Hawkins’ gritty ‘Suzie Q’ keeping much of the flavour and sound of the original (though maybe there is also a nod towards Creedence Clearwater Revival, another reference point for this outfit, I guess) , but mostly The Waydown Wailers’ approach is far more individual. “Outlaw jam” is what the Waydown Wailers call their music – raunchy, extremely listenable and very enjoyable also fits the bill.

Norman Darwen

Flyinshoes Review http://flyinshoes.ning.com/profiles/blogs/waydown-wailers-empty-promises-woodstock-records

Waydown Wailers – State Of The Union (Album Review)
Posted by Brian Robbins on December 28, 2013

Talk about making an entrance: the debut album from Upstate NY’s Waydown Wailers launches with all the majestic raggedy-assed ballsiness of an old Faces album. As “Mercy Mercy” begins, we join a shimmering guitar chord, already in process; everybody says hello: another guitar snarls and a barroom pi-any tinkles and cymbals start a’sizzling and a bass rumbles a warning while a B-3 clears its throat.

That shimmering guitar that opened things up then s-s-s-s-s-slides up to the IV chord (and there – right there – is that sound I’m thinking of: one of those fine, fine moments when Rod the Mod stood to the side while rooster-haired Ronnie Wood laid some pipe on the neck of his Zemaitis and bandmates Kenney Jones and Ian McLagen and God-bless-his-soul Ronnie Lane swooped and soared and tumbled right behind him). All hands make the shift upwards, as well – then drop back to the root. (The tune is beginning to simmer now – big, foamy bubbles of sound with a ring of roiling froth around the edges.) Once again up to the IV; back to the I; up to the V chord – a-ha: the blues! – and a cocky sidestep down a notch to the IV … before the whole thing lands flat-footed on the barroom floor with a big, raunchy guitar riff shaking itself clear and everybody falling in alongside it.

Ohhhhhhhh, my.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Waydown Wailers: brothers David and Christian Parker (David handles lead vocal chores along with guitar and mando; Christian is a killer picker who doles out everything from raucous crunchy stuff and funky fills to soaring B-bender Tele licks); Connor Pelkey on Trenchtown-meets-Muscle-Shoals bass; and rhythm monster Michael Scriminger working the kit. Professor Louie and Miss Marie of The Crowmatix (fellow members of the Woodstock Records family) are also on hand for the band’s new State Of The Union, adding tasty layers of keys and just-right background vocals.

And don’t be thinking those opening moments of the album described above define the band’s sound, as the Waydown Wailers morph and shapeshift effortlessly through State Of The Union’s eight cuts in the finest of ways. For example, the final minute of the aforementioned “Mercy Mercy” is all descending chord grandeur, lugged on the back of Pelkey’s bristled-up bass and finished off with Scriminger’s military funkdrums – the outro is as powerful as the intro.

Listen to the title track carefully as Scriminger changes the scenery on the fly from amped-up Spaghetti Western strut (only thing it lacks is an occasional bull whip crack) to ska-flavored stomp. David Parker’s powerful little mandolin is the key to “The Man”, swinging from flurries of Celtic-flavored riffs to chugging chords that provide a springboard for some fierce picking by brother Christian. (Listen for the Professor’s accordion on the outro!)

One By One” shifts from chikka-chikka-chikka rhythm guitar and galooooping disco bass (woven together with slinky/tasty B-bender licks) to a second-set-at-Antone’s bluesy romp to take things home. “Woman Tonight” is classic Ventura Highway buckskin-shirted electric cowboy ballad until about the two-minute mark where things take a rocking turn (and eventually jam into a spiraling working that has its share of Allmanesque moments).

Money Grabbers” is big ol’ powerful churn; “My Girl” is an impossible-to-ignore invitation to shake your hips; and “Online Love” is a cool hybrid blend of funky stuffs punctuated by flurries of massive surf drums.

David Parker sings with passion (and a cool growl), whether he’s doling out social commentary or wringing out his heart. The best thing is, the Waydown Wailers never feel like a singer and the band: this is a powerhouse quartet who know how to put together tunes that keep you leaning towards the speakers once the hook is set in your ear.

They play together on this album; they play off each other. In the meantime, Professor Louie also handled production chores on State Of The Union and he knew not to trim the meat too close to the bone. There are enough grunts, squeals, and gristly bits to provide flavor and an in-the-moment vibe.

The only ring-tailed pisser about the whole thing is, this is the Waydown Wailers’ debut. You’re going to have to wait for seconds, folks.

Waydown Wailers – State Of The Union (Album Review)
Posted by Keith Gorgas on October 24, 2013 at 11:00am

When I first began to hear the name Waydown Wailers I imagined a sound somewhat akin to Waylon Jennings. After listening a few sample cuts on the internet, I had them pigeon holed as a “Southern Rock” band. Now that I’ve gotten my paws on their CD, “State of The Union”, simple comparisons fail to embrace what this Northern New York group is all about.

Many influences got into making up the Waydown Wailers’ sound, and their various strains combine to form a unique finished product. There’s elements of Blues, British Invasion, Southern Rock, even Bluegrass and Country, pulled together with a driving Rock n’ Roll back line. It all adds up to a superb offering, combining thoughtful lyrics, vehement vocals, with tight and delightful instrumental parts.

Released on Woodstock Records, State of The Union is a well-crafted album; one that you won’t be able to play just once. The eight songs included are full and beefy with the shortest one being just over four minutes and half of the exceeding the five minute mark, but their length makes sense… not just fluff or repetitive needless jamming. The Waydown Wailers have something to say, lyrically and musically, and they will not be rushed or cut short.

The opening cut, No Mercy, with its “Shave and a haircut, two bits” riff would have fit in nicely on Bob Dylan’s Slow Train Coming. Title song State Of The Union follows, delivering a straightforward indictment of American politics and politicians:

Where did those bastards go who took away our pride
I’d like to see them now and I would take them for a ride
I’d go down Main Street USA and I would say
Look what you’ve done to us, man, you took it all away
Waydown Wailers know…. Waydown Wailers woe
Waydown Wailers know…. The State of the Union.”

The prettiest song on the CD, to my ears, is the third one; Woman Tonight. It features a sweet intro with Christian Parker’s B-bender Telecaster. The song reminds me of Southern Rocker Blackfoot’s best recordings. The band rocks with country twinge on The Man, driven by Dave Parker’s spirited mandolin chops. Professor Louie’s keyboards ad texture throughout the recording.

And so it goes through whole CD: tight rhythms, cliff hanging changes in timing, well-crafted lyrics and smoothly delivered vocals. It’s all dance- able music, at the very least it will have you tapping your toes or slapping out a beat on your steering wheel. Money Grabbers is fairly virulent rant against greed; ex-girlfriends and corporate thieves are lumped together as the song slows down midway to a slow Blues. My Girl closes out the CD. Call it Classic Rock, call it Roots music, call it whatever you chose, State Of The Union is a fine work by a talented band.


Track Listing:

1. No Mercy (5:29)
2. State Of The Union (5:42)
3. Women Tonight (5:05)
4. The Man (4:50)
5. One By One (5:07)
6. Online Love (4:35)
7. Money Grabbers (4:22)
8. My Girl (4:11)


Waydown Wailers: State Of The Union

State Of The Union is the debut album from southern swamp rock outfit Waydown Wailers. The band is based out of Upstate, New York but you would never know it as this is good old fashioned southern flavored rock.

The band members are David Parker (rhythm & lead guitar, mandolin, vocals), Christian Parker (rhythm & B-bender, lead guitar), Connor Pelkey (bass, backing vocals) and Michael Scriminger (drums).

The tone of the disc is set with the album opening southern rock of "No Mercy" with its guitar driven sound, a smattering of honky tonk piano and soulful vocals. The title track starts with more boogie riffage before incorporating some reggae rhythms as well. The country flavored "Women Tonight" is a nice mid-tempo ballad. The mandolin adds a nice touch in the retro sounding "The Man" while the upbeat "Online Love" hints at Money And Cigarettes - era Clapton. The bluesy "Money Grabbers" is probably my favorite filled with searing guitar and gritty vocals.

State Of The Union is a pretty solid debut. If you like your rock flavored with southern swamp water the Waydown Wailers will be worth your time.

Track Listing:

1. No Mercy (5:29)
2. State Of The Union (5:42)
3. Women Tonight (5:05)
4. The Man (4:50)
5. One By One (5:07)
6. Online Love (4:35)
7. Money Grabbers (4:22)
8. My Girl (4:11)

Added: September 30th 2013
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Sea Of Tranquility


Review for Waydown Wailers; September 6, 2013

WAYDOWN WAILERS/State of the Union: Producer Professor Louie Woodstock Records knows he’s found the next generation of Sturgis rock band. 180 degrees away from what Pete Seeger would be doing, Louie has found that place where .38 Special meets Tedeschi/Trucks with a membrane of classic outlaw hiding out in the layers with Waydown Wailers, this is hot stuff.

From The Orchard...

 "Debut Release by The Waydown Wailers - State Of The Union.  Brothers Dave and Christian Parker with Michael "Scruffy" Scriminger and Connor Pelkey have joined forces to create this unique sound called Waydown Wailers. The rhythm and groove of their songs turn in a different direction at times to create a jam feel that is associated with many popular bands past and present. Lyrically, the groups songs range from present day observations on a national level to recounts of past relationships and desires of us all at one time or another. Guitarist Christian Parker adds a totally retro feel to the band with signature guitar riffs and excellent melodies which carry the songs. "The Waydown Wailers wouldn’t have the same effect with out my brother’s great ability to take a song and give it life", Christian commented. "We’re brothers and we have always jammed but really never had a band together."  "Christian is an excellent songwriter of his own" replied Dave. Also, Bassist, Connor adds a solid blend of rock, funk and jazz to the group. Connor is the glue that keeps the songs together and his style is unlike any other bassist around. Truly an artist, Connor adds that extra punch to the lineup. Waydown Wailers are sure to please the soul for good rhythmatic beats by Michael “Scruffy” Scriminger and great songs that make you feel like your part of the band."

Quoted from 'Live High Five' by Stephanie...

"The Waydown Wailers kept it fresh with a mix of upbeat funk, southern rock ballads, and extended jam-band style instrumentals. The uncontrived gritty, and melodic vocals of Dave Parker suited the band’s sound perfectly. Throw in some funky slap bass riffs, energized drum beats, classic rock guitar, and we got a sound that never fell flat."