The Hippo


Mar 30, 2020








Rory Scott Band. Courtesy photo.

 Rory Scott Band

When: Friday, Jan. 17, at 8 p.m.
Where: Club ManchVegas, 50 Old Granite St., Manchester
Full schedule at

Crowd pleaser
Rory Scott Band gives the people what they want


 While in the Navy during his early 20s, Rory Thurston discovered modern country music, via emerging star Garth Brooks. Brooks’ rock sensibilities appealed to him, along with those of performers like Alan Jackson. 

“It set a new tone, where I could see myself doing it and feeling comfortable in front of people,” Thurston said.
Soon, Thurston was singing in the clubs around Atlanta on the weekends and performed off and on for the next couple of decades. Primarily, though, he focused on his work as a contractor and raising a family. Then, with three kids now mostly grown up, Thurston’s wife gently suggested he think about dusting off his lucky snakeskin boots and stepping back on stage. 
“But I didn’t want to if I didn’t have it anymore,” recalled the singer. “So I put myself in a competition.” 
The 2012 New Hampshire Country Music Association contest proved a springboard for Thurston, who entered and won in the Modern Country category and went on to solo male honors at the Northeast Regional Showdown. 
He faced a strong pool of talent at the international competition later that year in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. But the Penacook native managed to clean up in the town where Dolly Parton was born. He took first place in his age category, singing and dancing to a backing music track. 
Buoyed by his success, Thurston came back home and formed the Rory Scott Band. The five-piece group has built a following at Midnight Rodeo, Club Manchvegas, Pit Road Lounge and other area clubs. Joining Scott are Stompers drummer Leonard Shea, guitarists Rick Risti and Mark Battaglia, and Bob Catalano, who is both a bass player and sound engineer.
Catalano mans the studio console as the band works on originals for a release later this year. One song, the energetic “She’s Got Me,” is up on band’s website for free download. But Thurston and his mates are just as comfortable playing other artists’ hits. Blake Shelton’s “God Gave Me You” and “Real Good Man” by Tim McGraw feature prominently in their set lists.
“Some people have a negative connotation to covers but I don’t - good music is good music,” said Thurston. “We felt if we play predominantly covers … it would be a lot more welcome, rather than go out as a strictly original band and try to build a following. Not that it’s not a respectable way to go, it’s just a really tough job, and lots of kudos to those who do it.”
Most nights, the band will roll out one of its own songs and let fans vote with their feet. 
“The crowd will let you know if it’s good; they will dance or they won’t,” said Thurston. “Often times we won’t even announce it and we watch for their reaction.  And when we get demands for it, we know we are doing something right. Our goal is to entertain.”
The Rory Scott Band keeps busy. In addition to its upcoming Big Country show in Manchester, other New Hampshire shows are booked for February, along with appearances at high profile venues like Jerry Remy’s in Boston and Toby Keith’s in Foxboro. The latter is a favorite stop for up and coming country acts.
Thurston remains a steadfast fan of the genre’s message, which he said “represents having a good attitude about life, clean morals and having a good time.  Going out on a Friday night and dancing, strong relationships. It’s more personal to people, so they embrace it … when you add rock tempos and a heavy beat, people can really get into it.”   

As seen in the January 16th, 2014 issue of The Hippo

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