"There is no band in the state that is comparable to Old Scratch. Their music is rooted in traditional folk and gospel. They are an acoustic ensemble that usually plays with minimal amplification, preferring to blend the sounds together in an unplugged fashion reminiscent of a barn dance. But countering the bouncy bluegrass-inflected rhythms that they create, the band strikes a dark and menacing tone that invokes a Biblical sense of doom, dread and evil.
"Their music suggests a carnival noise and the vocal performances of the singer Brooks Strause can feel like the haunted chanting of a deranged side-show barker. But don’t be too afraid: Their music can also be transcendently beautiful and redemptive..."
- from Nate Logsdon at The Ames Tribune
'When you first see them on stage, the main thing that stands out is the size of the band. They fill the stage, each musician trying to stay out of the other’s way. The second thing you noticed is the abundance of acoustic instruments. This is not your regular rock and roll band. You see a fiddle, a banjo, a mandolin, an accordion, a ukulele, an upright bass, and various brass instruments.
'Then the music starts. It’s definitely folk. Old-timey folk music at that. Bluegrass as well. And you can hear the gospel influence as well. But this is the old-timey folk music you’d hear coming out of an empty haunted house in a deep, dark, scary forest. What Alice Cooper did to hard rock, and Marilyn Manson to modern rock, these guys do to old-timey music. And the person who is singing the most, makes it sound like it’s coming out of the bottom of his tortured soul. The others back him up with eerie harmonies.
'And their songs tell stories, sad stories, creepy stories. Stories of men who have lost their way and know what’s coming. Others who have just been dealt misfortune, and are fighting through it. Or have accepted their fate.'
- from Dan Wren for The Des Moines Music Coalition
Eerie Whittaker - guitar, vocal
Noah Doely - clarinet, flute, trombone, vocal
Nicholas Beard - drums, percussion, vocal
Rebecca Frankenstein - accordion, ukelele, organ, vocal
Samuel Anderson - violin, viola, vocal
Brooks Strause - banjo, mandolin, cornet, vocal
Matthew Nevins - upright bass, vocal