"I don't like country music, but..."
It's not an uncommon thing to say about such a love-it-or-hate-it genre. And usually, "but" is followed by a statement of favor toward one particular artist: a titan like Johnny Cash, or a crossover success like Faith Hill.
Or Bert Scholl & Friends.
The central New York four-piece says on its Facebook page that its most common fan response is "I don't really like country music, but you guys are great!" or some variant thereof.
Perhaps it's the classicism of the group's style that wins the masses over. Scholl, of Ithaca, sings stories of love and murder, salvation and damnation with a distinct baritone. With him on guitar, Taylor Price and John Young supply bass fiddle, Joseph Prusch plays fiddle and Bob Carlucci tends the steel guitar. It all adds up to an original Americana sound: classic honky tonk and outlaw country, the band says.
Their intimacy and folksiness match up well with O'Toole's Tavern, a regular stop for the band likely to be even homier with the Auburn holiday crowd Friday.