Scotia Road has performed and headlined at numerous events and venues. They have been featured on Women of Substance radio and podcast episodes multiple times.
To view a list of previous venues played, click here.
North, South county combine in Scotia Road band
By Don Gronning | Of The Miner•
Apr 22, 2015
The chemistry between the band members is obvious, partially because of they’re mostly related. Here Tina Shaw and her daughter Randi Lithgow sing a tune.(Miner photo|Don Gronning)
NEWPORT – It’s about 6:30 p.m. on a Wednesday night at the Boat Launch Restaurant and Lounge in Diamond Lake. The members of the band Scotia Road are gathering for their weekly session. They unpack their instruments, two guitars, a mandolin and a futuristic looking upright bass, and tune up.
After a few minutes they’re ready. They start playing an original composition, the unamplified music rising and falling as the band performs “Rock Star.”
Bartender Laura Smith says she didn’t know what to think when the band asked her if they could practice at the Boat Launch.
“I didn’t know what kind of music they played, but we had a room that we weren’t using much, so I let them set up in there and play,” Smith says. It wasn’t long before people started asking about the music.
“Boy did I hear about it from the customers,” she says. The patrons wanted to be able to see and hear the band better, so she had them move into a corner of the bar, where they perform every Wednesday. “We have people who just come to hear them,” Smith says.
The Lithgows and Bennett been playing together since February 2014, with Shaw joining the band a month later.
“We decided from the beginning to do all original music,” says Bennett, the most experienced performer in the band. He has played in a number of bands over the years. He was playing in a band called Too Hot to Handle when he was serving on the county planning commission and met Mike Lithgow, who works as Community Development Director for the county.
They got together and started playing. Mike plays upright bass, Bennett mandolin and Randi and Shaw play guitar. Everyone sings.
“Our first live performance was at the Hospitality House,” Bennett says. The band plays regularly at the Hospitality House’s Friday Night Live events.
A band that plays all original music is quite a bit different than a band that covers other performers work, says Bennett, who has played in both types of bands.
“Yeah, we never hear anyone say ‘play Freebird’,” laughs Randi.
Without familiar songs that listeners recognize, the band works to make their own performances musically interesting and memorable. They’re building a following and loyal fans are starting to recognize some of the compositions.
Randi has the most formal music education of anyone in the group. She’s a classically trained pianist and a music graduate from Eastern Washington University. She has been playing piano since third grade. She remembers singing in church with her mother and sister in Metaline Falls.
“We have videos of my sister and I standing up singing with my mother,” Randi says. She figures she and her sister were about 4 and 6 years old at the time. Music was encouraged in the household. “My mom would always let us bang on the piano,” Randi remembers.
Shaw says both her girls enjoy music, but Randi is the one who made a career of it. Randi teaches music in the Spokane School District.
“I get to sing everyday,” she says. “Of course it’s a different kind of music. I sing a lot of dinosaur songs.”
Shaw got her start with a guitar bought at a Spokane store.
“I remember getting my first guitar from the Two Swabbies,” says Shaw. She is left handed but nobody ever told her there were left handed guitars, so she learned to play right handed.
Shaw doesn’t name her songs at first. The band plays one of her tunes Wednesday and when asked what the song was called, she has to make up a name.
“What shall we call the new song?” she asks. They decide on “Feels Like Home.”
Shaw says a lot of different things give her ideas for songs.
“It could be something somebody said,” she says.
Randi says songwriting inspiration is fickle.
“It comes and goes,” she says. Like her mother, she’ll often start with a phrase that someone says that catches her ear.
Bennett probably has the most diverse background. He has a graduate degree in psychology, for one thing. For another, he’s retired from working 17 years at the Newport Post Office.
“I was walking though the Newport Post Office and this guy said ‘Want a job?’ and they hired me,” Bennett jokes.
He was born in North Dakota and raised in California before coming to Newport. Bennett says silence is just as important as what fills the silence in music. He describes music as “a relationship between intervals.”
He also started playing music young. He played saxophone in high school. He was 15 when he bought his first mandolin.
Mike Lithgow got a four string guitar that he tuned like a bass when he was in sixth grade. He played through high school but stopped when he got into college. When he got to know Bennett, Bennett supplied him with an upright bass and he started playing again. He bought the futuristic looking bass, the one electric instrument that night, because it is easier to get in a vehicle. He’s enjoyed performing.
“It’s been a lot of fun coming together as a band,” Mike says.
“It takes a long time for a band to gel,” Bennett says, “about a year.”
“It’s sort of like dating,” Randi says.
The band is starting to get busy. In addition to the regular Friday Night Live and Boathouse performances, they played last Saturday at Riverfront Park in Spokane as part of a pre Earth Day celebration. They will go play at the Republic Brewery and McDuff’s Brewery in Sandpoint.
The Priest River times (2014)
Scotia Road was featured in this article due to their participation and performance at a Youth Emergency Services music fundraiser