Doc Straw & the Scarecrows are a Virginian Southern Rock & Roll group led by songwriter Mike Straw, who sings, plays rhythm guitar, drums and harmonica. Straw is joined in the studio by lead guitarist Vaughn Thomas, bass guitarist Shelton Sprouse and keyboardist Taylor Bess. Musically and lyrically, this artist is about authenticity, musical flow and potent lyricism touching on themes of resilience in facing life's enduring challenges.
Mike is a combat vet who's now a doctor of physical therapy. He's been writing songs and playing in bands since middle school. He is from Gainesville, FL (Tom Petty’s hometown) but grew up in a little town called High Springs. Mike's undergrad was at the University of Florida and he joined the Army as a combat engineer because he wanted to serve his country after 9/11.
"I did a tour in Iraq mostly in Fallujah then Kirkuk. In between tours an army buddy and I started a band, Pilly Wete, and I think music really helped me in those days. A few years later I went to Afghanistan in Kunar province. Both tours we conducted route clearance (driving around clearing roadside bombs). After Afghanistan a lot changed for me: I got out of the Army, went back to school, stopped making music, and started having a tough time with mental health. All of these things seem to compound the significance of the others. Last year I completed my doctorate in physical therapy and that education was so helpful not just for the career but because it taught me about the body, brain, and changes we undergo when subjected to stressful experiences/environments. Since school I’ve been focusing on being the best version of myself and part of that has been resuming music."
Mike has planned and written a full Doc Straw & the Scarecrows album, which will release in 2021. Straw has stayed creative and productive during the pandemic.
"Since I’m a travel PT I can hit the studio between contracts and some weekends. I’ll start playing live shows more once the album nears completion and Covid risk diminishes. For now I’m focusing on recording and I stick to open mics/small shows with friends."
The latest single is the introspective "Get On By". As with much of Straw's music, the inspiration comes directly from real life experience, real life struggles universal to all of us.
"I wrote this song after getting off of a 3-hour long phone conversation with my sister, Jessica, and a lot of our conversation that evening centered around some of the tougher things in life and how we were dealing with these struggles. If a person lives long enough then at some point they will experience these trying seasons. I've learned that it's important to pay attention during those times because that is when we have some of the best opportunities to grow."