OGDEN — When you’re mining the depths of incomparable songwriters like Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, it’s hard to go wrong.
But then add the multi-instrumental talents of musicians Scott Rogers and Shane Osguthorpe — plus, throw in the achingly soulful vocals of Carrie Myers — and you’ve got the makings of a damn fine album.
That, in a nutshell, is “Ain’t No Good Thing Ever Dies,” the first release from this trio of local artists, who for this project are going by the name Carrie Myers and The Proper Way.
The story starts with Rogers, 46, and Osguthorpe, 49, who’ve playing under the moniker The Proper Way for the last couple of years. The two musicians met in 2015 while playing a small festival at Fort Buenaventura in west Ogden.
Rogers had a slot on stage at the festival, followed by Osguthorpe and then Ogden musician Sammy Brue.
“I got there early — like a responsible musician,” jokes Osguthorpe, who as a result got to listen to Rogers’ set.
Osguthorpe took the stage next. When he finished, the promoter gave him the sign to stretch out his set, as Brue hadn’t arrived. Having just listened to Rogers play, Osguthorpe instinctively knew the two of them would mesh musically, so he invited Rogers back up on stage to play together.
“We got off the stage and the video production guy said, ‘Man, that was great! How long have you been playing together?’” Osguthorpe recalls. “I said, ‘Since about 19 … or 20 minutes ago.’ The guy said, ‘What?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I’d never met him. I don’t even know his name.’”
After that, the two men would bump into each other around town, occasionally asking one another to sit in on a gig.
Then one day Rogers got a call from a promoter in Lake Tahoe, on the California-Nevada border. The promoter was looking for a duo to play a show, and Rogers immediately thought of Osguthorpe.
When the promoter insisted they needed a band name — they couldn’t simply go by Scott Rogers and Shane Osguthorpe — Rogers happened to be driving by one of those please-dispose-of-prescriptions-in-the-proper-way billboards at the moment and blurted out, “Yeah, we’re called The Proper Way.”
“We just never got around to changing it,” Osguthorpe says of the name.
The duo have been working together as The Proper Way ever since. And although the two Ogden men are in sync musically, the occasional surprise does crop up.
“We’d been playing pickup gigs here and there for six months before somebody pointed out that Shane plays the piano,” Rogers said. “And then we found out that we were neighbors.”
“And now, a lot of people ask if we’re brothers,” Osguthorpe adds.
Rogers, who is originally from Tupelo, Mississippi, says “pretty much everybody in my family is a musician.” His father was a touring musician, and Rogers has been playing shows since he was a teenager.
He moved to Ogden in 2003 to take a job at Weber State University, and music was put up on a shelf for a time.
“When I moved out here, I decided to focus on my job — I was too old to hang out in music stores — so I took 10 years off,” he said.
When Rogers got tenure as an English professor at Weber, he celebrated by buying himself a nice guitar.
“My father came out to visit and said, ‘You can’t not play professionally with a guitar that nice,’” Rogers remembers. “So I started playing solo at places like Slackwater.”
Osguthorpe, who grew up in Park City, has lived in Ogden for the past 25 years. He, too, had been playing solo shows. He’s currently the marketing director for Visit Ogden.
As The Proper Way, the two men focus on covers of songs by other artists.
“We play all requests, all night long,” Osguthorpe said. “We’re pretty much a human jukebox.”
Indeed, at shows they leave song request cards on tables, and audience members can use their smartphones to request tunes. Their repertoire is virtually limitless.
“The longest we’ve ever gone was at a private event,” Rogers said. “We played seven hours, we never took a break, and we never repeated a song.”
Still, the eventual goal is to play their own original compositions.
“We can nail the cover thing every night, but we are songwriters at heart,” Osguthorpe said. “For now, however, the venues we’re playing want to hear the songs they know.”
Rogers and Osguthorpe say they’ve spent a lot of time traveling to gigs around the region and as a result have listened to the entire catalogs of Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. That’s where they got the idea for their latest “Ain’t No Good Thing Ever Dies” album. It features 10 songs — five by Dylan and five by Waits — and it needed just the right singer.
Enter Carrie Myers.
Rogers caught Myers’ act at a show he was playing and says she “blew me away.” The two got to talking, and Rogers told Myers he had a basement studio and would be happy to record her songs.
But there was a catch. Myers, who was born in Layton but has lived much of her 24 years in Ogden, could track whatever songs she wanted, but for each recording session she had to do one song with Rogers.
“We just sort of started playing together,” Rogers said. “It was all very organic and natural.”
Before long, Osguthorpe was playing, too. The three musicians ended up doing the Tom Waits song “Come On Up to the House” together, and that was their “Eureka!” moment.
“All three of us looked at one another and said, ‘Whoa. We’ve got something here,’” Osguthorpe said.
Myers says she isn’t really sure how she ended up gravitating to music.
“I was Mormon growing up, so the church kind of started it with choirs and stuff,” she said. “I picked up the ukulele, but I’ve never had any lessons.”
And no vocal training, either.
“Just me and the car radio, mostly,” she says.
The trio’s new album is something of a study in contrasts.
“We like the juxtaposition of taking two of the growliest musicians out there (Dylan and Waits) and listening to Carrie smooth them out like butter,” Osguthorpe said. “My opinion is we’ve got a tiger by the tail.”
“Ain’t No Good Thing Ever Dies” by Carrie Myers and The Proper Way is available on most streaming services. For those who prefer their music on a compact disc, it can be ordered through theproperwayband.com
“Our joke is that we’re going to make tens of dollars on this one,” Rogers said.
As for what comes next, Rogers and Osguthorpe — as The Proper Way — just finished an EP tentatively titled “Pretty Songs About Horrible Things.” And Myers recently offered up a new song that the group has fallen in love with; they’re getting ready to go into the studio to record it.
“We clearly have to keep going with this,” Osguthorpe said. “We feel each other’s music so perfectly that we feed off each other.”