Ludlow Creek is a country rock/Americana band hailing from Dayton, Ohio. Comprised of five talented musicians, Allen Seals – guitar, mandolin, vocals; Dave Benson – guitar, vocals; Jeffrey Friend – drums, vocals; Michelle Scarpelli – keyboards, vocals; Tom Scarpelli – bass, vocals.
Ludlow Creek combines their diverse musical influences to create a unique and dynamic sound that has captured the hearts of their loyal fan base. With three albums under their belt and plans for more in the future, this band continues to make waves in the indie music scene with their heartfelt lyrics and infectious melodies. Get to know more about Ludlow Creek and their upcoming single, “Rock for a Heart,” as they share insights on their writing process, musical influences, and future plans.
- Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind your upcoming
single, “Rock for a Heart”?
Jeff: As I get older, I find myself looking back at previous life changing events trying to understand my role in them. More often than not, I see it was because I had a hard heart. I wasn’t open to softening my position, or adjusting in any way. So when I started looking for ideas for lyrics, I opened my idea journal, and saw where i had jotted down “Rock for a Heart.” These days the whole world could use some “softening.” So I started writing.
- How did your collaboration on this song differ from your previous
Allen: On many of our previous efforts, one of us would bring in the song – sometimes as a fully-formed song just needing an arrangement, but other times as simply a melody or riff, with some accompanying chords and maybe some lyrics. There would be at least some basis to start from when we would get together to begin working on the song. However, for “Rock for a Heart”, it was really much more organic than that. While on one of our writing retreats in Nashville (where we just brought a Cajon, a keyboard, a small bass rig and acoustic guitars), we got together one morning and someone just started playing that jazzy groove that opens the song. Pretty soon everyone was feeling it and adding their own textures and layers until it just became this powerful thing. At some point, we took a break and Jeff said “I’ve got an idea!” He disappeared for a while (he was actually up on the roof of the Airbnb where we were staying) and pretty soon he came back with the initial lyrics. It just took off from there. Later, as we were rehearsing it back in Ohio, Dave came up with the “Chip Away the Stone” outro section, and that was it!
- What do you hope listeners will take away from “Rock for a Heart”?
Jeff: I guess I’m not looking for the world to change because of this song, but maybe someone will realize they too have a “hard heart,” and try to soften a little.
- What can we expect from the rest of your upcoming album?
Allen: We feel that this album is some of our best work to date. You always hope that you grow as an artist and you are always intentional about your craft, but sometimes you just have to trust and yield to the process and follow where it leads. These songs have a character all their own, with compelling stories to tell if you listen. There’s the same great vocal harmonies that you expect form Ludlow Creek, but in some cases we’ve made them intentionally more sparse and direct than previous efforts, but it works. There’s also some just good ole rock ‘n roll fun, sometimes delivered with a bit of a honky-tonk spirit.
- Can you share any memorable moments from your band retreat in
Tom: It was amazing coming up with the song ideas for future albums, but particularly the song “No Rain, No Rainbow” (also on our coming album with Rock For A Heart) was a blast – it’s a long story – but the creation of it was also organic like Rock For A Heart – stemming from the events/conversations/sessions that took place during the retreat. Allen: Bloody Mary’s… Oh… and playing board games until the wee hours. Jeff: Actually one of the best games was trying to guess old TV shows based on the theme music. We spent hours doing that!
- What has been your favorite part of being a part of the country
rock/Americana scene in Dayton?
Allen: The best part has been just seeing the reaction of our audience as we introduce a new original song. We all have been a part of the southwest Ohio music scene for many years and we played for years as a local cover band, so we have a loyal fan base. It’s really gratifying that many of those folks have stuck with us and support us as we transitioned to writing, recording and performing our own material as a band. It has also led to some great collaborative projects with other independent Americana musicians in the area.
- How has your sound evolved since your last album?
Jeff: I think we’ve moved to a more edgy sound on this new album, than in the past. Some of that has come from Tom, as he is always encouraging us to “rock out” a bit more. I know I spent a lot more time getting edgy guitar tones this time around!
- Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Allen: Ludlow Creek is unique in that it is this fusion of all sorts of great musical influences. Each person in the band has this deep well of experiences and can draw from different genres of music. We all have that great formative 70’s rock era that deeply influences what we do – bands like the Allman Brothers, The Eagles, The Doobie Brother, etc – but we also each have our own niche that colors our sound. For example, Tom loves the 60’s psychedelic era, while Michelle grew up listening to Count Basie records. Jeff has performed and recorded successfully as a jazz musician, I bring in a bit of country and bluegrass roots where Dave likes to mix in some great influences of the 70’s jazz-pop era (think Toto or Ambrosia). It really is a stew.
- What has been the biggest challenge as a band and how have you
Jeff: I think the whole Indie music scene in general is a challenge to try and navigate, let alone the issues of trying to keep five different viewpoints all working in the same direction. We’ve been successful at overcoming much of this because of our close friendship, our love for one another, and our ability to check our hearts regularly. But we’re still learning every day.
- What do you have planned for the rest of 2024 and beyond?
Tom: For 2024 we plan to finish up the artwork and release the third album in the spring, and while we do that, we are already in the process of working up arrangements for new songs that we’ll perform live and that will perhaps be on our fourth album. We’re working to put together show dates for this spring, summer and fall, along with continuing to write new songs and select other tunes from our pool of demoes. The key thing for us going forward is to continue focusing on what we love to do – being together and writing and performing genuine heartfelt music – experience shows us that when we do that, the rest takes care of itself.