Who are The Enemy Lovers and how did they manage to pack more than 200 people into the Grey Eagle on a bitterly cold weeknight? That was probably the question of the hour among the crowd milling around the bar and standing-room-only concert hall. Even Grey Eagle co-owner Jeff Whitworth noted the Arden-based band had never played his club before. “But their sound check was better than I expected,” he noted.

The band is fronted by the singer/songwriter brothers-duo Tim and Steven Scroggs. Both are choice guitarists and adept vocalists. Add an easy stage presence and an arsenal of radio-ready pop-rock tunes and the Enemy Lovers could, with the right management, take a serious bite out of Gavin DeGraw’s market.

From the group’s first song, there were dancers on the floor and pretty, smitten-looking girls mouthing the lyrics. It seemed that the Scroggs brothers arrived, practiced to a polish and ready to blow the roof off the Grey Eagle: No wonder, these guys have been playing music together for years. They have separate projects, but they’re smart enough to know that their combined effort is their strength. Their self-titled six-song EP, recently recorded at Atlanta’s Vintage Song Studios, is proof-positive.

Each song contains various Top-40 elements, from driving U2 guitar intros(“Scale Your Walls”) to bluesy, rollicking John Mayer licks to poetic, energy-infused lyrics that immediately call to mind Dave Matthews, Jason Mraz and Teddy Geiger. But the Scroggs also pay homage to older school inspiration: Tom Petty, REM and The Waterboys. The band demonstrates its range, sliding easily from power pop to the lilting country waltz of “Enemies.” “It’s so hard watching lovers turn into enemies,” sings Tim. His voice is a study in controlled emotion, the song a masterful nod to country-rock hits like The Allman Brothers’ “Soul Shine.” It’s also a savvy wink to the current country and rock crossover craze.

Though the Enemy Lovers aren’t exactly breaking new ground (this band wears its influences on its collective sleeve), what they do, they do with all the precision of a road-tested touring act—but also with the enthusiasm of two kids who just got their first real guitars. That combination of professionalism and excitement is irresistible, as proven by the 200-plus instant fans who braved a chilly winter night—a school night, no less—to find out just who the Enemy Lovers are, anyway. Chances are, that name will be a very poorly-kept secret.

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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