GrevenGrass Bluegrass Festival 2017

looping brothers

Looping Brothers (D)

Many speak today of the roots of American music, whose Einflüsse famously once again be proven in rock, pop and jazz read. But where can you listen to live music, which live on the sound of the forties & fifties is in pristine tradition? Where are the High-Lonesome sound of the Hillbillies, the fiddles & banjo of old country music and the unique harmonies of the old brother duets? The "looping brothers" committed to this music and virtuosic take on the stages of Europe and the United States. There are original fiddle tunes and banjo breakdowns to hear mandolin, guitar and double bass are used. Impressive old tunes of forgotten Mountainsongs mixed with congenial compositions to a repertoire that is particularly appreciated by true connoisseurs of the genre. To be observed is the perfect harmony vocals of musicians who look back on many years of professional experience.

The "looping brothers" - that is high-quality acoustic music to listen to and enjoy, not only for the lovers of country and folk music.

The musicians:

Ulli Sieker, 1958, Germany

Ulli Sieker is one of the founding fathers of Bluegrass style in Germany and one of the first European Bluegrass LP brought out with his previous band "Bluegrass Express" already in the 70s it. Ulli is one of the (very rare) masters of Bluegrass fiddle, as well as the mandolin in this country. His expressive style and not copy sound shines in the classics of the breakdowns and Fiddletunes, but also in a variety of original compositions.

Matthias Malcher, 1961, Germany

inspired by the Carter family, Lester Flatt, Doc Watson, Merle Travis and others was from the country blues and Ragtime guitarist Matthias Malcher at the end of the 70s immediately a bluegrass guitarist and banjo player. The meeting made the wall with Ulli Sieker and the band "Bluegrass Express"...

The encounter made perfect with Ulli Sieker

and the band "Bluegrass-Express" the change and it began a musical partnership with Ulli Sieker, that continues to this day since the early 80's. M and Sameer played with "Bluegrass express" in Northern and Western Germany and are also in the Group of 'GroundSpeed' not to divide. As a musical Duo "Looping Brothers", the two toured extensively including through England, Scotland, Ireland and North America. Matthias Malcher plays a whiptail dynamic rhythm guitar in the style of the music's founding generation. In between, he boasts tasteful small breaks or surprised by Intros in the authentic U.S.-Gospel-guitar-style.

Ralf Strotmann, Germany

after many years of experience as a drummer and percussionist, as well as bassist in various pop, rock and jazz bands, Ralf Strotmann has connected the looping brothers. Matthias and Ralf had cooperated in various projects at this point. Ralf has his love of folk and Bluegrassmusik discovered and now provides the secure backbone for slow ballads, such as including the unflinching clock for the often halsbrechwerisch fast "breakdowns". With the looping brothers you can look forward to an atmospherically dense concert with artistic mastery of the instrument and perfectly coordinated, often 3-part vocal harmonies.


                                                                            More information: LLooping Brothers
BG Boogiemen

Blue Grass Boogieman (NL)

‘HIGH-ENERGY BLUEGRASS AT ITS FINEST’ (Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine, USA)

Bluegrass from the Netherlands?

Bluegrass. 1751. Being any of several American grasses of the Poa genus and having a bluish cast, earlier called Dutch grass (1671). (Source: ‘I hear America talking; an illustrated history of American words and phrases’ by Stuard Berg Flexner)

We are the Blue Grass Boogiemen from Holland. We’ve been playing bluegrass (and as the Hillbilly Boogiemen vintage country and rockabilly as well) professionally since 1990. Our line up consists of mandolin, banjo, guitar, upright bass and fiddle and we play and sing using an omni-directional microphone.Our show has proved to be very successful all over Europe. For instance in Ireland where we won the “Waterford Crystal Bowl” for “Most popular band” at the “Guinness International Bluegrass Festival”, but also in England, France, Germany and Switzerland where we played some major roots-, bluegrass-, rock’n’roll-, americana- and countryfestivals. And of course also here in our native Holland where we won the “Silver Fiddle Award” and for the 8th time the “Gram Parsons Award” both for “Best acoustic country/bluegrass band” and once beat Alison Krauss to the number one spot in the “Strictly Country” charts. When we played at the “European World of Bluegrass”- festival in Voorthuizen, Holland, we were voted “Most popular band”. So the style experts already agree that we’re doing a fine job, but what sets us apart from other bluegrass acts is the fact that we’ve also played quite a few pop- and (alternative) rockclubs and festivals, sharing the stages with acts as diverse as Iggy Pop to Status Quo, bringing bluegrass to totally new audiences. For an impression, here’s a link to a recent performance at the launchparty of one of Holland’s biggest festivals ‘Lowlands’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?

Our show has also proved very succesful in America, were we’ve toured 7 times so far. We shared the stage with some of the greats of country- and bluegrassmusic (such as Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, the Osborne Brothers, Jim and Jesse) and also backed up Chris Hillman and Rose Maddox. Fiddler Byron Berline once wrote: “Your band was singled out as one of our ‘don’t miss’, ‘please have them back’ and ‘we love them’ groups…” after we appeared at his international bluegrass festival in Guthrie, Oklahoma, for the first time. Since then we’ve played his festival many times. Even the Washington Post did an article on us which wrote: “…the Boogiemen mimicked American music icons with absolute accuracy and joy…” and “Mandolinist Arnold Lasseur did Bill Monroe proud…” after we played in Arlington, Virginia.

 More Information: Blue Grass Boogieman
Heiko Ahrend Band

Heiko Ahrend Band (D)

Since his childhood, Heiko has been on stage. At the age of 10, he began playing in a band with his two older brothers, Sievert and Hendrik, who instantly recognized his talent on the guitar and encouraged him. After high school, he moved to southern Germany and played in different bluegrass and country bands. He collected experience in Europe and in the USA, where he won a youth competition along with the band Sacred Sounds of Grass in 1990. By spending time with Jimmy Martin, Heiko was influenced deeply.

Since Heiko returned to northern Germany, he plays together with Hendrik in their new band, Heiko Ahrend Bluegrass band. The style of music was clear from the beginning. It connected them for centuries: Bluegrass music with powerful rythym and High Lonesome Sound.

Heiko Ahrend: Guitar, Singer
Hendrik Ahrend: Mandolin, Singer
Lukas Grabe: Banjo, Singer
Stephanie Pepperell: Contrabass, Singer
Ulrich Sieker: Fiddle, Singer
McGees

Die McGee New Hampshire, USA

The White Mountain Bluegrass Band from New Hampshire, USA, has toured extensively throughout Europe many times. They showed us what traditional bluegrass music is really all about: heartfelt ‘mountain’ singing with beautiful harmonies, instrumental virtuosity, and a very friendly atmosphere.
The core of that band, since the 1970s, has been the husband-and-wife team of Mac & Hazel McGee, together with their eldest son, Herman McGee. White Mountain Bluegrass always brought some very good musicians to Europe, with prominent players of the fiddle or Dobra. They played in many European countries in the 1980s - '90s, but toured less frequently after the turn of the century. Strictly Country Records has released two live recordings from those early tours.  
Sadly, in 2014, Hazel passed away. Without her unique voice and warm personality, Hazel’s family decided to retire ‘White Mountain Bluegrass’.
However Herman, together with other second generation bluegrass musicians from New England, formed a band called 'Descendants of Bluegrass'. Their shows feature occasional appearances by Mac McGee, and also Herman's wife, “BJ”. They revive some of the old White Mountain Bluegrass songs as part of this unique experience.
On the Big Bear Festival in Zuidlaren, NL, the trio could be convinced to come over once more. Some of the best Dutch bluegrass musicians will be their band for this occasion: Johannes Bodingius on bass, Laura van Beek on the fiddle, and Kevin Lynch on the mandolin. The McGees all sing, and Mac plays rhythm guitar, while Herman plays banjo and lead guitar.

John Lowell Band

John Lowell Band (USA)

John Lowell is a trailblazing singer/songwriter from Montana. He has become increasingly popular throughout the US, Canada and Europe with his graceful playing, expressive original songs and smooth baritone vocals. Bluegrass and Americana music is the backbone of the JLB.

Julie Elkins is the "banjoista" for the JLB, having played since childhood. Originally from Montana, she currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. In addition to her impressive instrumental skills, she is also an excellent singer with a clear, powerful voice.

Tom Murphy adds depth and power to the JLB on mandolin. With imaginative solos, driving rhythm, and precise vocal harmonies, Tom brings color to the music of the band, and decisively shapes the sound.

Completing the quartet is German native Thomas Kaerner on the standup bass. A multiinstrumentalist with many years of experience as a professional and studio musician for numerous acoustic bands, Thomas provides the essential musical foundation for the JLB sound with his tasteful bass lines and solid rhythm.

More Information: John Lowell Band
 
 
Never Again

Never again (S)

Formed in the beginning of the 80´s Never Again was one of Swedens´ more progressive bluegrass bands at that time. Now, in 2017 and more than 30 years later, Never Again has once more teamed up to play bluegrass music – despite their name. Banjoplayer Anders Ternesten visited Grevengrass a couple of years back with the band DUNDERHEAD and now he brings Never Again to Greven.

The music of Never Again is a mix of traditional bluegrass and original material written by singer/songwriter Steve Ericsson. Steve has been a professional musician and songwriter all his life and the love for country and bluegrass music has never left him. He has been working with American textwriters for many years and the lyrics to his songs has a special feel to them. Steve is also a skilled jazz and bluegrass lead guitarist.

In 1981 Bengt Nestor was in the USA playing bluegrass with Steve and Anders. He played guitar at that time but found a new love in the southern mountains of Carolina – the upright bass. He quickly learned to master slap-bass techniques inspired by the sound of Country Gazette and since then he never played another instrument. Over the years Bengt has played many types of music, but now he has made a promise to dust off his old slap-bass techniques – just for Grevengrass!

On the violin we find mr Bertil Pohl. During office hours you will find him in his violin repair shop. He is a master repairman and luthier. Often doing the work on the violins for The Gothenburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Two of his inspirational sources over the years has been Kenny Baker and Vassar Clements.

Tomas Timour lends his voice to harmony singing and is an accomplished guitar player. He has been playing with various groups over the years but primarily had influences from jazz, folk and pop.

On the banjo Anders Ternesten had his first influence from Earl Scruggs and then Alan Munde. He has always had a love for the hard driving kind of banjoplaying but when trying different kinds of music he has realized that the hard sound of the banjo is not always what works best. Blending in with a soft ballad or intricate guitar work is also a necessary way to treat the banjo. Nowdays he listens mostly to Ron Block and Sammy Shelor.

Never Again is looking forward to see you all at Grevengrass. Will you sing with us?

Lead vocals & Guitar – Steve Ericsson
Kontrabass & harmony vocals – Bengt Nestor
Guitar & harmony vocals – Tomas Timour
Violin – Bertil Pohl
Banjo – Anders Ternesten
Suzanne und Jim

Suzanne & Jim (USA)

We are an acoustic duet specializing in the "Roots of Bluegrass Music". Our repertoire is drawn from the classic recordings of the 1920's and 30's mostly — the Carter Family, the Dixon Brothers, the Georgia Yellowhammers, &c. — although we perform a number of songs from the early recordings of Ralph and Carter Stanley as well.

Next year will be our 25th year as full time touring performers averaging more that 150 shows each year. It will also be 10 years since our last European tour and we intend to make it a double anniversary. It is an honor to make the GrevenGrass Festival a part of our celebratory tour.


 More Information: Suzanne und Jim
 
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