Friday, June 29th
"Michigan Bred Bayou Folk Rock"
wsg: Billy King
Doors 7 PM | Show 8PM
$5 Cover at the door
'A unique blend of harmony-laden Americana, folk-rock and knee-slapping, acoustic-driven fun' -John Sinkevics, WYCE's Local Spins
As a duo of Resonator guitar and cajon drum, Drew Pentkowski and Loren Kranz began sharing songs in the spring of 2012. Soon they sought to expand to a full band with the addition of mutual friend Ryan Fitzgerald on upright bass.
Kranz: "It's just a bunch of old friends playing some original music. I spent the summer in Grand Rapids, living in the same house as Drew, and we did a lot of writing in the backyard garden..."
13 YEARS EARLIER...
Loren was in junior high, and he had just discovered the joy of the drums. Ryan had been playing bass in bands for several years already. Music made them fast friends, and as their bond grew stronger, they looked for opportunities to play together when and wherever possible. As they navigated the local music scene, they met someone who was their own age but possessed years of experience: Drew Pentkowski.
By that time Drew had already established himself as one of the hottest young blues guitarists in the state. But as he found himself playing with musicians a generation older, the opportunity to jam with peers appealed to him and he was soon popping up at shows frequently.
As Ryan moved to Chicago to take a gig with Frank Bang's Secret Stash, Loren and Drew went on to play together in short-lived projects such as Michigan Monsoon and Stand Back. But pretty soon Pentkowski was touring as part of Harper & the Midwest Kind, and shortly after that Kranz got a call to go on the road with world-folk group The Ragbirds.
It was a one-off solo gig that prompted Loren to call Drew up again. They had been talking about doing something like this for quite awhile, a collaborative project focusing on their own songs, having shunted those aside for years while playing in other people's bands.
"I remember 'Fire and Gasoline' was the first song Drew showed me. I didn't even know he wrote!", says Kranz. "Between us we had a set of songs almost immediately...after that we just kept going, sometimes writing together, sometimes apart."
With Ryan back in Michigan, he was the obvious choice to fill out the bottom end, but he brought something new to the equation: a 2005 La Scala string bass perfectly suited to the rootsy nature of the music.
Gig opportunities started to present themselves and the only thing left to do was settle on a name. Barbarossa was the name of Loren and Ryan's high school band, and Loren suggested Brothers as a tribute to the group's harmony singing.
"What we've discovered is a really remarkable blend. Listening back to recordings it's sometimes tough to tell who's singing what!"
As these three musicians clear more and more space in their busy schedules, 2016 promises to be a dynamic year for Barbarossa Brothers. But the thing that won't change is that essential ingredient, an undeniable chemistry many years in the making. When you see this band, you'll feel the warmth of their friendship and sense the love of making music that runs deep within each of them. You might even imagine that they're sharing these songs for the first time, jamming in someone's backyard garden...