Because he has been soaking his ears in the tunes of Merle Haggard and Ray Price, Luke Pruitt has decided to bring country music to his Wednesday night gigs at Murfreesboro’s Liquid Smoke.
Pruitt and the Doghouse Band have been playing at the venue on the square since late 2005. Over the past two years, the band has expanded and broadened its horizon.
The group first began with Pruitt (vocals and acoustic guitar), an electric guitarist, a bassist and a drummer. Now, another electric guitarist (who also plays the mandolin) has been added to the lineup, as well as an occasional pianist.
The Doghouse Band has generally stuck with Southern rock and a bit of blues since its origination. So, how does the band plan on bringing the country twang to its ongoing show at Liquid Smoke?
“We’re kind of slowly doing that,” Pruitt said. “It’s been something that’s kind of happened over the past couple of months. Charlie (Pate, electric mandolin and guitar player and country songwriter) started playing with us and started singing some songs. I’ve kind of stolen some of his songs and started singing them,” he laughingly commented.
The majority of the Wednesday night crowd at Liquid Smoke has come to hear Pruitt and the band for more than two years. One has to wonder, then, how the regulars will respond to the leisurely transition to country?
“It’s going to be interesting. There are people who come in that are really into that, so I think they are really going to dig it,” said Trey Call, Liquid Smoke bartender and Pruitt’s former manager.
“Shows have done well for Luke because he has the ability to play his own material and blend in covers as well,” Call said.
“I’ve been playing there since I was 18. I’m kind of part of the family there. I see a lot of people I used to see when I started playing there,” Pruitt said.
Since moving to Nashville, Pruitt, who moved aiming for a recording session, said, regrettably, he may have to cut back his schedule at Liquid Smoke.
“Having to drive back and forth from Murfreesboro to Nashville is kind of tiring,” he confirmed, “so I’ll probably minimize the Liquid Smoke gig. I just need to get some recordings made.”
Even if there is a decrease in shows at Liquid Smoke, Wednesday night regulars will continue to look forward to Pruitt and his fellow band members when they do perform.
“People at Liquid Smoke feel as a part of his development, because they’ve seen him get better and incorporate the country music,” Call said. “I don’t think they’ll hold it against him, but I think that people do rely on him to be there every Wednesday night.”
Pruitt said he enjoys playing with a variety of artists.
“It’s kind of an on-a-whim kind of band. You never know who is going to show up. That’s why I love it, and it’s still a lot of fun,” he remarked.
For the time being, Pruitt performs at 10 p.m. each Wednesday at Liquid Smoke, where there are beer specials, no cover charge and a tip jar that welcomes gratuities.
For more information, contact the venue at (615) 217-7822 or visit myspace.com/lukepruittandthedoghouseband.