Our family comes from the remote part of the Ozark Mountains, near Cane Spur, Arkansas. We spent our days working on the family farm mostly raising our own food and growing dad’s famous pipe tobacco. I guess he grew the best pipe tobacco around. People came from as far as Big Flat to get it. We worked hard but we had fun. In the evening we played and sang. On weekends we had pickens’. There was always a big crowd around. The Cleverly Trio is our family band. It was founded by dad and his three brothers, Turk, Tink and Bunyon. The whole family at one time or another has played in the band. Since 2005 my brother Digger has taken over the band. The current members of the trio are Digger, my brother Vernon Dean “VD” Cleverly, nephews Monk Cleverly and Ricky Lloyd Cleverly.
Digger is the oldest boy born in 19 and 60 in Star Gap, Arkansas. Digger worked and played music with the family until 19 and 74. At the young age of 14 he got his first outside gig as the guitar tech for Leif Garrett. He was exposed to a lot as a young boy, even more when he became the flute tech for Jethro Tull. In the 80’s he toured with “The Rickets” and recorded with such artist as Avery Noonan and produced his Gypsy Wagon album. He wrote “Dry Hunch” the top 100 hit for the group Barn Door. It zoomed up the charts all the way to #93. In the late 1990’s he moved back to the family homestead on Cleverly Mountain. He founded Stabbin’ Cabin records and signed The Cleverly Trio to a multi-album deal.
Ricky Lloyd Cleverly, he goes by Lloyd… The first L is silent…kinda soft L…otherwise it would be pronounced LaLoyd, is our sister Delva’s boy. He grew up round Culp Arkansas til he was bout six, when he was out in the barn lot at Aunt Punk’s place. Well he got thirsty and grabbed the milk goat’s teat and went to nursing. Next day she was dead…she had contracted an unidentified fungus from his saliva. Next day these dudes showed up from the National Saliva Institute in St. Paul Minnesota wearing space suits and he lived in their laboratory til they found out that his spit is the antidote to the Kamoto Dragon bite! And he is single ladies!! He plays Dog House Bass, the Phonograph Sound Machine in the group, he also is huge in the Amish Rave scene.’.
Vernon Dean “VD” was born in 19 and 65 in Roastin’ Ear, Arkansas. Aside from getting into dad’s pipe tobacco he never did much on the farm. It was always music with him. He started playin’ banjo before he could even pick it up. In 19 and 81, while campin’ on the Buffalo River he ran into a hippy clan named the Rainbow family. The whole bunch was naked and sangin’. They bought a bundle of dad’s pipe tobacco. When the Rainbow family left out, VD left out with them. We didn’t hear much from him until a few years ago when he moved back to Stone County with his wife T. Fairy whom he met at a bluegrass festival out west named Burning Man and their son J. Zone.
Monk Cleverly is mine and V.D.’s baby brother. He is the son of Daddy and Daddy’s baby momma. He plays Mandolin, Guitar, and the best harmony singer in the family. He has decided to use his platform as a picker for the betterment of mankind…well whales…yes that’s right whales? The boy aint never even seen one but that don’t stop him from going down to the Niffin Hole every evening to see if one happens by. Anyways, I’m proud of the boy, he started an annual benefit squirrel hunt to save whales. For every squirrel that his killed a dollar fiteen cent is donated to Save the Whales…so ya’ll come and kill a squirrel and save whales.
The Cleverly Trio has an annual festival up on Cleverly Mountain every spring. It brings people from all over the world, some as far as Tupelo, Mississippi. The festival has gained such attention, that for me as the media technician, I have had a hard time keeping up with all the requests for the Trio to perform.