Front Country is not your average American Roots band. They play progressive bluegrass with an influence of world music, jazz, composition, and classical guitar. Electropop, honky-tonk, and soul sound merge, blending a modern sound of the future with the echoes of the past. Front Country plays Avagadro’s number on 11/10/2017 with Eli Slocumb & Friends.
Front Country is :
ADAM ROSZKIEWICZ mandolin, banjo, vocals
JACOB GROOPMAN guitar, Rezo guitar, mandolin, vocals
JEREMY DARROW bass
LEIF KARLSTROM five-string violin
MELODY WALKER vocals, guitar, percussion
To get to know the band a bit more, we asked them a few questions:
Q: How did the group meet? Where did it originate?
A:–We started the band in San Francisco in 2011. Most of us knew each other through the acoustic music scene and had played together in various projects in the past. The band ended up with a monthly gig at a little bar in the Mission district of San Francisco, which allowed us the opportunity to work on building our sound and discovering what we were capable of for the first year or so before we decided to become a more serious band.
Q: Why are you named Front Country?
A:—-The name Front Country is supposed to invoke the idea of acoustic music from the city. Since many people associate Bluegrass and Country with the backcountry of America (the mountains, rural America), we wanted our band to showcase what this music is like if it’s created and developed in an urban environment. We try and bring a modern approach to being an acoustic band and hope to fight the typical stereotypes that come with country and bluegrass.
Q: What is your favorite part of performing? What keeps you going?
A:—-I love when someone comes up to me after the show and says something along the lines of “I needed that” or “I hate country music, but I liked your band” I also hope to give folks a little bit of an escape but also give them something to think about. Many of our songs have a message that gives folks something to connect to. What keeps us going day-to-day is the music itself and the belief in what we’re doing as a band. We hope that we are contributing something new and excited to this music.
Q: What can we expect from you over the next year?
A:—–2018 is going to see more touring behind our recent record “Other Love Songs” that came out last spring. We’ve also been working on some new cover songs that will hopefully see the light of day, either as video or recordings. Some exciting festivals and events are shaping up for next year, and it’s going to be a good one!
Q: Talk about your relationship with your opener, Eli Slocumb. Have you played with such a young player before?
A:—We’ve known Eli for around four years and have seen him grow into a very accomplished young mandolinist. We’ve done a lot of work with younger musicians over the years, and I feel it’s very important to give opportunities to younger players like Eli. He’s just released an excellent solo record and is quickly becoming one of the best young mandolin players in the country.
Q: What is your biggest inspiration when it comes to songwriting?
A:—-We have a lot of different inspirations in this band. None of us grew up playing traditional bluegrass or country music. We all come from diverse musical backgrounds and have a wide variety of tastes. One of the prominent places that we found common ground when it comes to songwriting and arranging is pop music. We love and appreciate excellent pop music songwriting and arranging, and you can hear that influence in our songs. Melody, our lead singer, is the primary songwriter and comes from a very diverse background ranging from pop music to rock and even world music. We’ve taken to calling our music “Roots pop”, which is the best description we’ve found for our music.
Cynthia Reaves is the Managing Editor of The New Scene Magazine and North Forty News. Cynthia is multimedia journalist with a master's in New Media Journalism and a bachelor's in Journalism with a minor in Music Theory and Composition. She has a grassroots digital publication, Argento Studios. She was the social producer for Green Mile Films, PR for Women’s Grand Prix at the US Pro Challenge, and Chief Relationship Officer for technology company Studio Hyperset.
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