Our Neighbors.... Old Knifey and the Cutthroats

During their Cloquet Middle School days back in the late '90s, Adam Depre and Chris Kelly used to talk about their love for music together in homeroom and how someday they dreamed of playing in a band together.

Country/folk band "Old Knifey and the Cutthroats" will celebrate their self-titled album release party in Cloquet Sept. 12. Band members include Chris Kelly (front), Adam Depre (middle) and Caleb Anderson (back).

During their Cloquet Middle School days back in the late '90s, Adam Depre and Chris Kelly used to talk about their love for music together in homeroom and how someday they dreamed of playing in a band together.

Well, that dream came true.

After countless hours of jamming in their living rooms and going from one band to another over a number of years around the local area, Depre, Kelly and high school buddy Caleb Anderson decided to start up a country/folk band called "Old Knifey and the Cutthroats" in the summer of 2008.

With their self-titled album release party planned for the Northeastern Saloon and Grille in Cloquet Saturday, Sept. 12, at 9 p.m., call their dream not only a reality, but a quick success.

What used to amount to simply getting together here and there to play some tunes has now turned into a frenzy, as the three buddies professionally record their music, play two or three shows per month and even have their CDs on the racks at Electric Fetus in Duluth.


Saturday's release party in Cloquet marks the talented group's third so far, having sold handfuls of their albums at Beaner's Central and Pizza Luce in Duluth. They plan to promote their music at another party in early October and make their album available online soon as well.

"It's really nice to see how far we've come these days. To hold a CD in my hand and know we put this together is something really special," said Depre. "I always dreamed of playing music one day and to be able to kick back and play some tunes with these guys is just great."

But the three Cloquet High School graduates, currently living in Duluth, haven't always been known as "Old Knifey and the Cutthroats." All have made their rounds from band to band over time.

In summer 2003, shortly after high school, the three music gurus, along with a couple other "band buds," started "On Kings Road," played a couple of small-town gigs and had a fun time. Later in the summer of 2006, Depre, Kelly and Anderson all landed spots in the band "Medford," where they played off and on together with other local musicians around the Duluth area and even the Twin Cities.

The three roomed together during the summer of 2007 and continued to tune their guitars and perfect their vocals. A year later, "Old Knifey and the Cutthroats" was born.

And though they've taken the long road since their first show at the Cloquet Country Club, with a lot of time, preparation and hard work, Depre, Kelly and Anderson have also made room for some fun along the way.

"I'm honored to be a part of this band with these guys," said Anderson. "It's a lot of fun and always a good time jamming together. I'm just a big fan of doing this with them."

With Kelly as the lead guitarist, Anderson on the piano, harmonica and accordion, and Depre on the rhythm guitar, this small-town country/folk band blends well together. Add in their personally written song lyrics and this trio is a match made perfect.


"We have a lot of experience and have learned a lot over the years together," Anderson said. "We're a group of great friends who have put in a lot of time and hard work to make this something special. It's been cool to see how things have taken off."

Depre agrees.

"It's taken time to get to where we are at today, but it's definitely nice to see people responding to our music," said Depre, who explained how there were over 100 people at their release party at Pizza Luce. "We have had a lot of positive feedback from friends, family and people we don't even know, so it really makes this all even that much more fun."

Though they all write, record and perform songs, it's the trio's signature three-part harmonies that impress audiences the most and make their albums sell off the racks.

"Harmonies are definitely our key and they just come naturally to us," said Depre, who along with Kelly participated in six years of choir and, still to this day, works alongside Kelly and Anderson to improve their singing. "There are not a lot of bands out there that sing to the audience anymore. They would rather just blast their electric guitars and such. But we sing, that's for sure. Our vocals are our specialty and something that make us unique."

Even with all the recent success they've had, Depre understands that their band has some things to work on and that this isn't as far as the music world goes.

"There's always room for improvement," said Depre who, like Kelly and Anderson, has played additional instruments such as the drums, bass, electric guitar and fiddle. "Even though it's tough to find time to practice, we aren't just going to sit back. We're going to keep on working and see how far we can really take this."

With more fans piling in at every show, buying their albums and enjoying their music, it's safe to say that "Old Knifey and the Cutthroats" have gone pretty far already.


"It's really gratifying to look over while playing and see someone pick up our CD," Anderson smiled. "We get some fairly decent crowds and it's just nice to see people coming out to enjoy our music. The more people, the better."

Depre feels the same.

"It's awesome to see everyone come out for a show of ours," he said. "It's always a good time when we perform, because playing music is something we all enjoy doing very much."

With their resume, saying these three always have a good time performing might be putting it lightly - rain or shine, this trio has the time of their lives while on stage.

"For me, playing with these guys means a lot," said Anderson. "We've all been friends together for a long time now and usually when they're up there smiling, I'm up there smiling."

"We laugh and joke around with each other all the time," laughed Depre. "We just have fun hanging out together and that's what matters most us - our friendship."

Shortly, Kelly will head to Scotland and be absent from the band. But Depre and Anderson will certainly continue to do what musicians love to do most - play.

Whoever said dreams don't come true, Depre, Kelly and Anderson obviously weren't listening.


"Old Knifey and the Cutthroats" will perform at 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept 12, at the Northeastern Saloon in Cloquet, where the group's CD will be on sale. Admission is free at the door, so everyone over age 21 is encouraged to come out, enjoy some music and have a fun evening.

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