The young and the set list

Pett Crow and Scotty Bratcher at Riff Raff

By Katie Christoff

Photo: [l-r] Wes Crow, Brandon Pettiford and Julia Crow of Pett Crow will perform at Riff Raff Tavern on Sept. 19

 

It’s an old adage that if you want to really be good at something, you should start young.

This is all too familiar to Scotty Bratcher and Pett Crow, playing together in Dayton on Friday, Sept. 19 at Riff Raff Tavern on the Canal. These blues musicians all began playing shows as children and have continued to grow ever since.

For the members of Pett Crow, childhood wasn’t so long ago. Brandon Pettiford (14), Julia Crow (15), and Wes Crow (16) have been playing together since they met at a Rising Star Talent Contest four years ago, but they began individual careers as musicians long before that.

In fact, it was their individual careers that brought them together. They were competing against each other at the contest where they met, but decided to merge talents shortly afterward at the suggestion of the contest organizer.

“Neither of us won, but the contest organizer knew Brandon and his family very well and recommended we get together and jam,” Wes Crow said. “That’s kind of how it started, and then we came back as a band the next year and won.”

Pett Crow hasn’t slowed down since that Rising Star win in 2011. They won the title of 2011/2012 Youth Showcase Representatives for Columbus, 2013 IBC Youth Showcase Representative for Pomeroy, IBC Best Self-Produced CD Award Nominees and they were named grand champion winners of the Great Midwest Battle of the Bands in 2013 and 2014.

They boast quite the impressive resume for just having entered their teenage years.

Frontman Wes described their sound as “modern blues rock,” but they all agreed their sound has evolved tremendously since they began playing together.

“Lately, we’ve been experimenting with a kind of psychedelic rock,” Julia added, expressing they’re working toward a more modernized sound.

“I know those kids are great and I know they just keep getting better and they’re putting on better shows,” Scotty Bratcher said of Pett Crow, who he will share the stage with for the first time at their upcoming Dayton show.

“I have played with Brandon the drummer,” Bratcher said. “I haven’t played with the other two members, but I’ve seen them several times. They’re a great band.”

Perhaps Bratcher is so supportive of Pett Crow because he can relate to performing at a young age. He played his first show at 11, but began playing guitar when he was just two years old.

“I got my first guitar when I was a year old, and I was trying to play by the time I was two,” he said. “By the time I was five, the stuff I was playing was somewhat recognizable, and my parents could tell what I was trying to play. Then, when I was seven, I was learning entire songs and doing elementary school talent shows. I’ve been in a band full-time since I was 11.”

Bratcher also considers himself a blues player, but said he draws inspiration from a variety of genres including rock and funk.

“The more influences you have, the more sounds you can make on stage and the wider your audience is,” he said, “But everything I play is still deeply rooted in blues and I will always be a blues guitar player.”

Bratcher has no regrets about beginning his career at such a young age, saying he couldn’t see any disadvantages.

“Here I am 15 years later, and I’ve had 15 years in this career to help with every decision I’ve made,” he said. “I’ve seen almost all there is to see in the business, and at such a young age I had a really good grasp of it.”

The members of Pett Crow agreed, performing young has given them invaluable experience, but they said some audiences will discount them because of their age.

“People have come up to us and asked, ‘Are you even worth watching?’” Julia Crow said.

Her brother added people have approached him with comments like, “Aww you’re so young, how cute,” which he called one of the funnier disadvantages of performing so young.

“It’s great though, because after the show their outlook has completely changed,” he said. All the awards Pett Crow has won clearly prove that they are, in fact, worth watching.

“They just get better every time I see them, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they’ve got going on,” Bratcher said. “I’ve been hearing a lot of things in the past couple months about how they’re doing so well.”

Bratcher and all three members of Pett Crow are originally from Ohio, but their success has expanded their touring schedules throughout the country.

Pett Crow primarily plays close to home (and around their school schedules), but they’ve also played in Sarasota, Fla., Memphis, Tenn., and West Virginia, and say they love traveling when they get a chance. Bratcher spent a hectic summer touring all over the country.

Pett Crow and Scotty Bratcher will perform on Friday, Sept. 19 at Riff Raff Tavern on the Canal, 130 N. Patterson in Dayton. The show will begin at 8 p.m. For more information, please visit pettcrow.com or scottybratcher.com.

 

Reach DCP writer Katie Christoff at KatieChristoff@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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