Bluegrass Now  [October,2006 issue]


A few years ago at a music festival in Austin, Texas a group (then called Hillbilly Boogiemen) just blew me away with some of the best old style, traditional bluegrass I had heard. They were based in Holland and most fans were hardly prepared for the fine show they put on that day. Now returning as the Bluegrass Boogiemen, they have the tightest harmony of any band I've heard.

This album, their first as the Bluegrass Boogiemen, contains a lot of Jimmy Martin music, but is mostly bluegrass adaptations of country classics. Although it is common to hear country music transposed into bluegrass, I must say I've never heard it done better. The song list includes Hank Williams's classics, 'Please make up your mind' and the gospel favorite, 'When God comes and gathers his jewels'. The Boogiemen just inhabit the Jimmy Martin tear-jerker, 'It's not like home' done in a two-step, honky-tonk style. My favorite on the CD is an old Hank Williams song called 'I wish I had a nickel'.

Aart Schroevers (upright bass) and mandolin player Arnold Lasseur handle most lead vocals. Robert-Jan Kanis plays guitar, Bart van Strien, banjo, and Lody van Vlodrop adds fiddle. I checked the website for a schedule and did not find any dates in the US this year although they have tentative dates early next year. Hopefully they will be back soon with more of this great music. Until then, I highly recommend this fine CD. (They took their name from the Delmore Brothers' song, 'Hillbilly Boogie'.)

Johnny Pearce