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The Divots set up home base at Wakeman Elevator

Cary Ashby • Updated Apr 30, 2018 at 11:29 PM

WAKEMAN — The Divots have set up shop at the Wakeman Elevator Craft Beer & Wine Barn as its honorary home base.

The local cover band played at the Wakeman eatery for a lot of private gigs before it became a public bar.

“They’ve got good music. They play to the crowd and have fun,” Wakeman Elevator owner Jeff Krieger said. 

The trio consists of guitarist and lead vocalist Tad Swan, of Norwalk, who also plays harmonica; bassist Mel Holida, of Norwalk; and drummer Scott Whitehurst, of Norwalk, who occasionally breaks out an African drum for a few songs. Bill Gerken, of Sandusky, fills in on bass and guitar.

Whitehurst calls Wakeman Elevator their “most regular gig.” They performed there April 21 and have upcoming shows May 12 and June 9.

Formed in the spring of 2011, The Divots got their start when Holida, Swan and Whitehurst met at a benefit event where Whitehurst was playing. At one point, Eagle Creek Golf Course in Norwalk booked the trio twice a month.

“That was how we came up with the name Divots because we got our start at the golf course,” Whitehurst said.

Wherever The Divots perfom, Whitehurst said they try not to play so loud that people can’t hold a conversation.

“Each set gets a little bit louder, but not in our first,” the dummer added.

The Divots cover everyone from the Allman Brothers to the Bee Gees, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Michael Stanley and Hank Williams.

“I try to have 300 songs that I keep active,” said Swan, who was prepared to rehearse a Johnny Rivers song after being interviewed. “A lot of the songs I learn are because people request them.”

Swan particularly enjoys playing Eric Clapton tunes because of the versatility of the classic-rock guitarist.

“I like the acoustic sound; it has power,” Swan said. “I like playing Clapton stuff and I like playing blues harmonica.”

One Clapton song that Holida said he enjoys performing is “Layla” because of the unique “bass run.” He plays mandolin on a few of The Divots’ staples: “Going to California” by Led Zeppelin, “Tequila Sunrise” by the Eagles, “Norwegian Wood” by The Beatles and “Night Rider” by the Allman Brothers.

“My people say the mandolin stuff is some of their favorites,” Swan said.

For “Salisbury Hill” by Peter Gabriel, Whitehurst plays the djembe, African drums.

“There’s a lot of dynamics to play. It’s fun to play that,” he said.

Over the summer, The Divots will have many gigs in the area — at the Amvets Post 22 in Vermilion on Friday, a May 19 benefit at Collins United Methodist Church, Huggy’s Social House in Vermilion (June 21) and the Dockside Cafe in Sandusky (June 28) — just to name a few. The acoustic rock cover band also will perform twice in Norwalk: July 3 at Bluto’s Sports Bar & Grill on July 3 and eight days later at Veterans Memorial Lake Park.

For the complete schedule, follow The Divots on Facebook or go to www.tadswan.com.

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