Bluegrass Beyond Borders: You, Me, Everybody goes worldwide on Netflix

The five piece band from New Zealand, You, Me, Everybody, takes their name literally. Like…well… everybody, the band is well connected to social media. In their case, it’s served them well. A fan’s post about the band, led singer and guitarist Kim Bonnington to explore the possibility of having her group be the backing band in a scene for the hit Netflix series, Sweet Tooth. Conveniently, the fantasy drama was filmed in New Zealand during 2020, and subsequently streamed into over 66 million homes.

“The casting directors enlisted a talent agency to try to find a bluegrass band that could play one of their songs in the episode,” Bonnington explains. “They started the search by going on to a New Zealand facebook page called ‘Kiwifolk.’ Their post asked if there were any bluegrass bands in New Zealand that would be suitable for playing music in a television series. A fellow muso tagged us and said, ‘There’s no one else you want other than You, Me, Everybody.’ I replied straight away and said not only was he was right, but there was no one else they wanted. After emailing them with links to our music, within 30 minutes they called me to say they’d been playing our music in their office, had a song in mind and were calling off the search.”

The show is set in the wilderness of Wyoming and Colorado, and the group’s scene depicted a rambunctious party complete with skyrockets, moonshine, and a decidedly festive celebration. The song they performed, Stranger, was written by guitarist Laurence Frangos-Rhodes, and reflects their usual Appalachian influences, albeit in a slightly sinister minor key. 

“As time went on, it became clear that the scene would open with our song, Stranger,” Bennington continues. “A month or so later, we flew to Auckland for the filming. We went in at 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon and left at 5:00 a.m. the next day, having spent the evening miming the song and entertaining the extras between takes.”

As a result, the band — consisting of Bonnington, Frangos-Rhodes, Sam Frangos-Rhodes on mandolin and fiddle, bassist James Geluk, and Nat Torkington on banjo — suddenly found themselves accorded the beginnings of worldwide fame. “We’ve gone from having an audience predominantly based in New Zealand to now having had more people listen to us in the States, the U.K., and Australia than in our home country,” Bonnington maintains. “We’ve had messages and album sales from all over the world. It’s been a great opportunity.”

As detailed two years ago in Bluegrass Today, the band was spawned from Sam and Laurence’s family band, Rhode Works. They met the other future members of You, Me, Everybody while playing festivals in their native New Zealand. They recruited the musicians based on their belief that they could help them in their quest to create a bluegrass band with a distinctive presence and personality, as well as an allegiance to bluegrass and a decidedly progressive posture.

More recently, in order to capitalize on their newly acquired worldwide recognition, the band launched an international social media on Shazam to accompany a re-release of the song they performed in the series.

Bennington told a local publication in their native New Zealand that they knew what was needed to make the most of the opportunity. Although the goal wasn’t necessary fame and fortune, they were anxious for as many people as possible to hear their music. That may well be the epitome of all their name implies, specifically, You, Me, Everybody!

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About the Author

Lee Zimmerman

Lee Zimmerman has been a writer and reviewer for the better part of the past 20 years. He writes for the following publications — No Depression, Goldmine, Country Standard TIme, Paste, Relix, Lincoln Center Spotlight, Fader, and Glide. A lifelong music obsessive and avid collector, he firmly believes that music provides the soundtrack for our lives and his reverence for the artists, performers and creative mind that go into creating their craft spurs his inspiration and motivation for every word hie writes.