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, our brothers Miles and Vernon Dean, my boy Harvey D and our cousin Otto.
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 Leaf 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.
Miles was born in 19 and 64 in Canes Spur, Arkansas. It was a Tuesday. He was born blind without sight. He could hear like a bat though. As a boy he listened over dad’s pipe tobacco crop. He could hear someone slippin’ from a mile away. His first bass was a washtub. When Uncle Turk passed on he left his bass to Miles. That changed his life and at 20 he went to Berkley, a school out east. From there he went to New Orleans, Chicago and Memphis. His bass guitar has taken him from one end of the world to the next and then back to Cleverly Mountain. Being blind hasn’t slowed him down at all. He cooks, cleans, he is the road manager of the Trio and drives the bus on straight stretches. His hobbies are poetry, skeet shootin’, and sword fightin’.
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.
Otto Cleverly is our Uncle Bunyon’s boy, our cousin. Born in 19 and 68 in Fifty-Six, Arkansas, he helped run his daddy’s barbeque stand Bunyan’s Meat. When Uncle Bunyon passed on he left the stand to Otto. “Otto’s Meat” was as big as his daddy’s. People came from miles around just to get a piece of Otto’s Meat. You know, you cain’t beat Otto’s meat. Like us he grew up playin’. He did give it up for a while when he moved to Alaska, got a job on a boat and caught the crabs. Now he’s back home, smokin’ meat and playin’ fiddle and mandolin with the Trio.
Harvey D Cleverly was born a twin of two in 19 and 80 in Pumpkin Center, Arkansas. He was always beatin’ on something. His cousin Digger Jr. Jr. gave him his first drum, but he played everything. When someone sat somethin’ down in front of him, a guitar, mandolin, caliape he would pick it up and be playin’ it before you knew it. He is a good boy, he is single, 150 pounds, 5’6” a speed reader and a quick licker. He bit his tongue off in a donkey basketball game but thanks to the donations we received at Cleverly Fest we were able to get his bionic tongue. This is his first year with the Trio. He is so proud to be playin’ music with his uncle and mentor, Digger Cleverly, Sr.
Born in 19 and 59 in Painters Bluff, Arkansas I am Vera Mae Paradine Cleverly. I am the oldest girl and sister to Digger, Miles and VD. And mother to Harvey D and his twin brother Harvey C. They are genital not identical, which means they don’t look alike. I met the boys’ daddy at Gunner Pool in 19 and 79. Him and his family was camped up the creek from us. For me it was love at first sight. By the end of the weekend, I told him I wanted to marry him. That’s when he told me he was getting shipped off to Vietnam next day. I never saw him again. Nine months later the boys was born and I named them after their dear father Harvey. I am the media technician for the Cleverly Trio.
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.
Some recent highlights have included a stop at the Lower End VFW and then onto the popular Midget Festival in Oztown West Virginia. You should see all them Midgets! They have the Dwarf Circus, an all Midget Rodeo, and Extreme Midget Wraslin. That’s where my nephew, Digger Jr.Jr., met his soul mate Tiny Tina. She’s a Midget Tina Turner Impersonator. She looks just like Tina Turner ‘sept she’s….a midget.
Keep your eyes and ears open, ‘cause the Cleverly Trio might be performing in a town near you. Soon!