Little South performing at Whimsy in Weisiger Thursday


Eben David Henson calls the sound of Little South band "sorta chameleon-like.

"We have musicians that can cover different styles," says Henson, drummer for the group. "(The sound) basically is country and Southern rock.

"We do covers. Steve (Smothers, lead guitarist and pedal steel player) probably has written some songs. But we do, in fact, do music people have actually heard before. Most of the performances we play, people would rather hear something they know."

Other members of the band are Betty Smothers, vocalist; Mike Carrier, bassist; and Bryan Cooper, guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist.

Among the artists Little South covers are The Eagles, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, Tanya Tucker and George Jones.

"It's a wide variety of music," says Steve Smothers, who also is the manager for the band.

Adds his wife, "We have a certain type of charisma."

Betty Smothers says her husband and she formed Little South in 1989. The band's name comes from an area in Casey County, although no one from the band is from there.


"We really just liked the name," Betty Smothers says. "It typified what we do - country, Southern rock and old rock."

The band has played at a number of events around the central Kentucky region: Jessamine Jamboree, Boyle and Lincoln county fairs, Fort Harrod Heritage Festival, Junction City Railroad Days and in Indianapolis. They even fronted Ricky Skaggs during the vice-presidential debate in 2000, which the band agrees was quite an honor.

"We've done shows over in Garrard County with John Michael Montgomery - the thing for his dad, in memory of his dad, and we've played with his dad," says Betty Smothers. "And we played one with Eddie and Troy (of Montgomery Gentry)."

Work and family make scheduling rehearsals difficult

Scheduling rehearsals is difficult sometimes, Betty Smothers says, particularly with her third-shift job.

"We have five people here with families and other commitments," she notes.

But they stick with it.

"It's a disease," Steve Smothers notes, only half-jokingly. "I did it for a living for 12 years. I had to, if I wanted to make a living.

"I play now because I want to."

Henson says it adds an interesting dynamic that Steve Smothers used to be a professional.

"He used to play 50 weeks out of the year," Henson says. "Steve flirted with the big time. ... He used to play with Charlie Daniels, Jerry Reed, Trisha Yearwood."

For Henson, playing with Little South for the past five years or so is something of a novel flavor.

"Country music is not my first experience," notes Henson, who plays with jazz groups and other bands.

And he and the band have the pleasure of learning new country tunes all the time. At a recent rehearsal, the band jammed on "Redneck Woman," a song by Gretchen Wilson that has become quite popular among country music aficionados.

Henson says he enjoys his music-time.

"Everyone needs a form of expression," he says.

Adds Betty Smothers, "It gets in the blood."

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