If you ever find yourself up in Syracuse, NY, keep an eye out for the Waydown Wailers. Strongholds of the Upstate Central New York music scene, the band was formed by brothers Dave and Christian Parker with Michael Scriminger, and they can rock alongside any act that rolls through town. Over the years, they’ve swooped fans opening for ZZ Top, Lady Antebellum, The Charlie Daniels Band, and more—acts ranging from blues to country to rock and anywhere in between. Playing exclusively original music off their three albums, the band combines the veteran skill and insights of brother Dave on guitar and vocals, Christian on B-Bender guitar, Michael Scriminger AKA Scruffy on drums, Joe Thomas on keys/guitar and vocals, and Connor Pelkey on bass. Look out for Waydown Wailers’ fourth studio album Miles of Roads, due out later this month!
A teaser for their upcoming album Miles of Roads, Waydown Wailers’ new single “Firefall” is the stuff of legends—literally. This menacing, distortion-heavy romp tells the story of Firefall State Park, near the band’s stomping grounds in Upstate New York. This land is said to send compasses haywire, adventurers tend to mysteriously go missing. Getting crafty with a talk box, B3 Hammond organ, and Christian’s good ol’ B-bender guitar, the band masterfully orchestrates an infectiously devious piece of rock n roll storytelling.
The music video for “Firefall,” directed by Morgan Elliot, continues the story left off at the end of Waydown Wailers’ last single, “Motor Scooter.” Instead of motorcycles, adventurers Joe and Dave roll up in their truck, seeking wisdom on hunting spots from an elder hunter. Disobeying the warning to go anywhere but Firefall, the pair stumble into trouble in the woods. No spoilers here but remember to keep an eye out for Motor Scooter’s hitchhiker, played by drummer Mike—he might have more to his story than expected!
Who has been your favorite artist that you’ve been an opener for?
There has been so many. Out of this list, Waydown Wailers has been the supporting act for ZZ Top, Lady Antebellum, The Charlie Daniels Band, Devon Allman, Erica Nicole, John Anderson, The Outlaws, Professor Louie and the Crowmatix, Jerrod Niemann, Max Creek, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Les Dudek, Young Dubliners, Spin Doctors, Brett Michaels, Blue Coupe, The Trews, Glorious Sons, Donna The Buffalo, Craig Morgan, The Mallet Brothers with Jon Fishman from Phish, Tas Cru, Rusted Root, Up Rooted, and Collective Soul – we would have to say all of them!!!
What can fans expect from your fourth studio album, Miles of Roads?
A compilation of great storytelling with creative song writing with a band working together throughout the song process as a group creating the vision for a great album. Using each band member’s strengths; in melodies, harmonies, rhythm, guitar, keys, bass and drums, musicians creating a great masterpiece of songs.
Can you tell us the story of New York’s Firefall State Park?
The Firefall state forest got its name from the fact that there were numerous fires there, which were likely caused by lightning strikes.
How do the stories of “Motor Scooter” and “Firefall” go together?
They were both filmed in the area of Degrasse NY, in the foothills of the Adirondacks where a number of state forests are, such as Firefall and Degrasse State Forest.
What is your favorite lyric of “Firefall”?
It’s a place of false beauty, but it’s haunting, no matter what the season.
Forces of nature that are way beyond point of simple reason
When you’re in too deep, you start to question why it was you came
People, who have seen it, lived to tell, never quite the same
How has your sound evolved throughout the years?
Waydown Wailers has been a guitar band from the start in 2012; we had keys layered in the background to fill in some empty areas on the first three albums. During Covid we added a new member singer/guitar/keyboard songwriter. The element of the band sound has always come down to a guitar sound.
Miles of Roads is our first real studio album; the first three were recorded on the fly, live in the studio. The new album embarks on a new phase of Waydown Wailers, adding a new member that is a songwriter, keyboardist, singer, and guitarist.
What is the significance of Upstate New York in your music?
Our songs are usually about the area we live in and today’s happenings; the area gives us a palette of ideas.
Our success story is supporting/ opening many National Acts of all genre of music in front of mass numbers of fans!!!
To add to a filled headlining schedule of festivals, fairs, and venues; Waydown Wailers has been the supporting act for ZZ Top, Lady Antebellum, The Charlie Daniels Band, Devon Allman, Erica Nicole, John Anderson, The Outlaws, Professor Louie and the Crowmatix, Jerrod Niemann, Max Creek, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Les Dudek, Young Dubliners, Spin Doctors, Brett Michaels, Blue Coupe, The Trews, Glorious Sons, Donna The Buffalo, Craig Morgan, The Mallet Brothers with Jon Fishman, Tas Cru, Rusted Root, Up Rooted and Collective Soul, Jefferson, St Lawrence and Franklin County Fairs, Norwood Village Green, Blues in the Bay, Strand Theater Plattsburgh NY, On Center Theater Syracuse, Westcott Theater Syracuse, Waterhole Saranac Lake NY, The Made in New York Music Festival, Chevy Music Festival, New York State Fair, and numerus arts concerts and festivals.