The Kruger Brothers have been a fixture on the folk and Americana circuit for the past ten years – since they moved to the US from their native Switzerland in 1997.
Jens Kruger in particular has established himself as one of the most technically advanced banjo players in the history of the five string, and his brother Uwe is no slouch on the guitar. With bassist Joel Landsberg, they perform regularly as a trio all over the world.
The Krugers make their home now in North Wilkesboro, NC, not far from the annual Merlefest site. They have immersed themselves in the traditional music and culture of the Appalachian region, and their original tunes show how they have incorporated themes of their new home into the lush and complex instrumental music they compose.
Despite their demonstrated virtuosity, they have not received the same sort of acclaim in bluegrass circles as they have elsewhere. But that may be about to change.
Staring this weekend at the Carolina in the Fall festival, which they host in North Wilkesboro, The Kruger Brothers will unveil a more accessible, familiar sound featuring a couple of bluegrass heavyweights. Mandolinist Adam Steffey will be on hand and may do a number of future dates as his schedule allows.
“I’ve gone down to Wilkesboro a couple of times in the past month or so just to jam a little with the Krugers. They are talking about booking a few shows next year as an aside to their regular shows, with an emphasis on some more traditional sounding tunes. My involvement in this is totally contingent upon my schedule with Dan Tyminski. I may be able to do a few dates with them, or none. It’s really too soon to tell.
It’s a blast playing with them, though, because not only are they all superior musicians, they are the nicest guys you’d ever want to meet.”
Also on hand this weekend will be fiddle legend Bobby Hicks, who will also join the Krugers on stage.
“I’m working the festival with them this weekend, and I’m doing a couple things in Florida next year. I’m not a regular member of their band as of yet. But you never know what might happen.
They are some awesome musicians.”
Let’s hope someone records the shows.
HT: Ted Lehmann