Po’ Ramblin’ Boys from Hoogstaaten to Spanbroek

The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys are bringing their hard driving brand of old school bluegrass to western Europe, and have promised to send us updates along the way. Here’s their fourth installment, from mandolinist C.J. Lewandowski, covering their trip from Hoogstaaten, Belgium to Spanbroek in Holland.

Lone windmill along the drive from from Hoogstaaten to SpanbroekJan was up early to cook breakfast for us all. A great meal consisting of bread that Josh got from a vending machine the night before. He thought it was the coolest thing and had to have a loaf of bread from a vending machine! We said our goodbyes to Jan and headed towards Spanbroek, Holland for an afternoon show.

A short two hour drive, put us in Spanbroek right on time. Our venue was a beautiful hall, Party Centrum de Vriendschap. Holding about 200 people, it was a perfect spot for an afternoon matinee show. Loek Lommis is very well known promoter and DJ, starting in 1955 after hearing Armed Forces Network shows broadcast on local airwaves. He has been pushing traditional country and bluegrass ever since. The Party Centrum has hosted over 30 shows under Loek and his wife, Hanne’s, watchful eye. From our past boss, James King, Charlie Louvin, to European bands, Loek has presented bluegrass very well with every performance he puts on.

Po' Ramblin' Boys perform at Party Centrum de Vriendschap in Spanbroek, HollandThe show consisted of two 45 minute sets and a short 15 minute show to end the day. We saw many many familiar faces from past Bean Blossoms and IBMAs. We met Dick Groot at the June 2015 Bean, and he met us once again at Party Centrum with his usual kind smile. Dick is also a DJ with a weekly program called Herringtown Country. We receive his weekly playlists via email and he plays some great music, including our friends, Flatt Lonesome and The Malpass Brothers. We visited with Dick quite a while and caught up on recent bluegrass happenings.

Owner of Strictly Country Records, Pieter Groenveld, was our sound man for the day. It was a great sound system and we were particular pleased with the audio. Pieter is husband of the late singer songwriter, Liz Meyer. He has produced many albums on Strictly Country, one of my favorites being Bob Paisley and The Southern Grass: Live In Holland.

Po' Ramblin' Boys perform at Party Centrum de Vriendschap in Spanbroek, HollandThe show went very well with a request from Loek to make sure we play songs that tickle the heartstrings. The crowd was extremely attentive. It still amazes me how much these folks pay attention to every detail of the music and love it. We had many conversations about Hank Williams that particular day. So, it was the perfect place for Ms. Sofia to sing some Hank stuff.

After we said our goodbyes to all the fans, we proceeded to Loek’s home in Wognum. We had heard all day of Hanne’s great cooking, and it proved to be true. After visiting in the beautiful garden, Hanne presented chicken soup, tomato soup and bread. All with fresh herbs from the garden. Excellent! Pieter, Loek’s daughter and granddaughter also joined in the feast and fellowship. We thought we were done until Honi asked if we should head to the dining room for more. Three more courses awaited us. Food everywhere! Needless to say, we had our fill and Hanne topped it off with ice cream and warm chocolate sauce.

Koi pond at the home of Loek and Hanne Lommis in Spanbroek, HollandLoek kept referring to his music room, so we asked if we could take a peek; he was like a child. So excited to show us all his collection and toys. It was nice to see an 84 year old man’s eyes light up. He truly has a deep passion for music. The music room was plum packed! Posters everywhere, Loek’s accolades, over 3000 LP’s, 100s of live reels, CDs galore and a vast array of cassettes. It reminded me of Paul and Prude Mullins’ basement; a bluegrass treasure trove. He dug in one corner and pulled out 5 of the finest cigars of Holland, and it was back to the garden for a relaxing smoke and drink.

The trip was finally catching up with us, so we retired early. Loek drove us over to a bed and breakfast that has hosted every band Loek has booked, a horse stable that was converted into a very nice B&B. We all had our own rooms, so we stretched out and crashed. What a great day in Holland. Couldn’t have asked for better fans and company.

Porch at the home of Loek and Hanne Lommis in Spanbroek, HollandThank you to the Loek Lommis family for the awesome day and welcoming us with open arms. Also, we really appreciate all you’ve done for bluegrass music in the Netherlands. Thanks to Pieter Groenveld for the great sound, and Dick Groot for his kindness and support through radio airplay.

Next Stop, Copenhagen!