I was cruising around the Renaissance Hotel about 2:00 in the morning on Wednesday night looking for something cool. Somebody introduced me to Mike Bucayu outside of the conference room on the second floor where Mountain Home records was showcasing their artists. Mike’s wife came out of the room and told him that Michael Cleveland was playing with the Kruger Brothers in the conference room. Having sat in a suite several years ago in Louisville for many hours witnessing a similar event, I knew this would be a hot one.
I walked in the room and the music was on fire. The setting was great with a nice lighted stage and a good sound system. They were jamming on some tune that I did not recognize, but Michael and Jens were trading breaks back and forth for about ten minutes. Mike Bucayu had said to me "Jens Kruger is the only person that I have seen that can make Michael sweat." What an apt description! The breaks that these two traded were incredible. Musical ideas were put out there which pushed the limits of credibility and each successive break seemed more impressive than the last. After this song finally ended, they went into a more laid back blues type of number with vocals. By the end, Jens had the audience singing along on the choruses. Somewhere in there they wore out the Cherokee Shuffle and I remember them ending with an astounding version of Sally Goodin. Not to be overlooked were the incredible guitar breaks by Uwe. It is truly amazing how fast and clean these guys can play. They really were "wearing it out."
Some high profile players, including Noam Pikelny, were in the audience. I got the impression that they were as amazed as I was. The showcases were supposed to end at about 2:00, but this one went on until more like 3:30. Yup, this was one for the highlights.