A concert with barking dogs

A concert with barking dogs
A concert with barking dogs
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Norman Roscher has a gift for crafting songs that skirt the edge of impropriety in a mirthful way. His songs often are inspired by people he knows and come from what he calls, “…a crazy muse that’s lost somewhere in the foglands of creativity.” His “The Remedy,” which takes aim at Santa’s most famous reindeer while lamenting the commerciality of Christmas, generated a lot of online listens. It even became a cult hit on one Fredericksburg radio station’s morning show a few years back. So much so the station threatened to fire the DJ if he kept playing the song.


Plinky and Stinky

Plinky and Stinky

Readily admitting he’s not a great musician (guitar, keyboards, vocals), it’s the troupe surrounding him that bring his quirky songs to life. The Clackwells are:

– Blinky (Deanna Lorianni) and Slinky (Eliza Brill) on vocals

– Stinky (Evan Esche) on upright bass

– Plinky (newest member Michael Emmons) on banjo.

The names let you know the band is all about having fun, but their musicianship tells you they take their music seriously. Blinky and Slinky’s vocals entwine together creating amazing harmonies reminiscent of the Andrews Sisters. Plinky’s banjo often takes on a lead guitar role,  while Stinky provides a solid foundation, occasionally bowing his instrument similar to a classical player.


Norman and the Clackwells recently performed downtown in a private house, an intimate evening for about 25, who were treated to Roscher’s comically skewed songs, as well as unique takes on others like “Has Anybody Seen my Gal?” (seen here from a 2012 show at Lewis Ginter).

Slinky and Blinky

Slinky and Blinky



Crowd pleasers included:

– “You and Me and Baby” with vocal counterpoints and washboard

– “I Live in My Hat” (Lewis Ginter, 2012)

– “The Train”, written by Glen Habel (who played with Roscher in the family-oriented duo Dog’s New Clothes)

– the notorious “Boobs,” which includes the lyric “soft and round, how they abound!”.

The evening ended with the audience lustily barking like dogs during “Dog’s New Clothes”. In my mind, Norman and the Clackwells are the magic brownies of the RVA music scene.


Although the Clackwells don’t play all that often, there is a live performance segment in the works to air on WRIR’s Wide Ear Folk sometime in April. If you’d like to get on the mailing list send me your email and I’ll pass it along.

1 Comment

  1. The Clackwells’ shows are always a good time, guaranteed to leave you laughing and enjoying yourself!

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