You are cordially invited to the penultimate 2005-2006 Holden's Lair show, as folk-blues-Americana artist Andru Bemis comes to Baltimore for a house concert at Holden's Lair.
When: Saturday, April 29 @ 8pm
Where: Holden's Lair House Concerts, 4636 Walther Ave, Baltimore
What to expect: Simple, expressive throwback songs, accompanied by both guitars and banjos.
More info: www.andrubemis.com, Andru's Myspace page, http://holdenslair.blogspot.com
Cost: $10. Please bring a dish or drink to pass.
Random quote: "modern-folk, Midwester miracle of music ... (with a voice that) is pretty and ravaged, sounding as though 50 Appalachian winters have run him ragged."
Why you should come: Andru Bemis will be unlike any show you've seen at Holden's Lair. His travels and lifestyle earn him frequent comparisons to Carl Sandburg, John Steinbeck, and Woody Guthrie, but it's his unmistakable voice, inventive self-taught banjo and guitar styles and exquisitely crafted tunes of travel, love and longing which have brought him rapid success and respect throughotu the US and Canada. Andru has been featured on NPR, where radio host Garrison Keillor commented, "the ability to play such a beautiful song is a rare gift, and a power of which I can only dream."
Random fact: Andru and I went to high school together in South Haven, MI, and I haven't seen him in ten years.
Random fact #2: My dad is coming all the way from South Haven and will be attending the show!
About Holden's Lair: If you've never been to a House concert at Holden's Lair, they are a laid back affair. Everyone usually brings a dish to pass and everyone chats in between the breaks. If we know you're coming, we often wait until you get here until we begin. The artist mingles with the fans, signing CDs and schmoozing. A box is passed around and the money is collected, and all of it goes to the performer. Children are welcome, and don't be surprised if a friendly cat jumps in your lap or starts mewing to the music, or if a slightly overweight dog gives you sad eyes, hoping for a treat off your plate. A few rules:Please RSVP by e-mailing before the show so I know the number to expect, Please try to get here before the performer begins, and Please bring food or drink to pass. If you want to sit on a piece of furniture and not the floor, come early to grab a seat. It never hurts to bring something - a pillow, a beanbag.
Check out the website - http://holdenslair.blogspot.com - for new photos (Rose Polenzani pics are up!) and more.
Next show: Sunday, June 18 @ 6pm. Sam Shaber w/s/g Matt Moon. Baltimore CD release party of Sam's new CD In My Bones (Live in Chicago), with support from Denver songwriter Matt Moon. More info, check out samshaber.com0, matthewmoon.com, myspace.com/samshaber, myspace.com/matthewmoon. We're very excited to be hosting the official Baltimore CD release party for Sam's new CD.
Andru Bemis Biography: Since early 2002, Andru Bemis has wandered the ends, edges and in-betweens of North America- by thumb, train, bus and motorbike- playing his original songs of love, loss and longing for anyone who will listen. He's traveled more than 100,000 miles- banjo, guitar and occasional fiddle or banjo-ukulele in tow- promoting his first two albums, "Plays Past His Bedtime" and "Singer." In 2005, Bemis collected his favorite tunes learned from these wanderings and put them to tape for the Massachusetts traditional music label, Wepecket Island Records. Now, with a new album of mostly old songs, aptly entitled "Rail to Reel," Andru Bemis is back on track for his most extensive tour yet.
The songs of Andru Bemis are simple and expressive- spiritually descended from an era when music was made and played to express one's deepest emotions while entertaining the neighbors. His are songs of faith, spirit, patience, and hope in the midst of an uncertain, troubled world. Andru's dynamic voice shifts effortlessly between Erik Darling's plaintive bellow and the spine-chilling intimacy of Iris DeMent. His delicate guitar work and lightning-fast banjo style tie seamlessly with his lyrics and phrasing to make each performance and album unforgettable. His self-produced recordings are played on radio stations throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Australia. Critics and audiences alike comment on Bemis' remarkable ability to craft timeless-sounding lyrics and tunes and to perform the songs of others- including Don Gibson, Tom Paxton, Greg Brown and Stephen Foster- as if he'd written them himself.
When he's not riding the rails, Bemis lives alone in a one-room shotgun shack in his hometown of South Haven, Michigan. His greatest joys are watching fruit trees bloom, practicing ragtime fiddle tunes, paddling around in little boats and recording himself and others on his old multitrack reel-to-reel.
"... Bemis expresses sadness and joy with each chord. He tells stories in a unique, bittersweet way that sticks in your mind like long goodbyes at the train station."
- Diana Satruc; Tipp-C
"... Describe his music as folk or bluegrass- Bemis calls it po'folk. Arlo, Van Ronk, early Dylan weave in and out of his original material- but to pinpoint him is impossible. His songs are deceptively simple with an earthy, intimate feel."
- Bob Felberg; Phantom Tollbooth
"... Andru's sad songs are a gritty, railroad-and-rust-belt sort of sad. In my brain they situate themselves firmly in places like Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, and they have more of the feel of songs of a people. Even when he's singing his own stuff, it sounds like a rendition of something that surely must have been written decades ago and put into a "songs of the hobo" singalong book somewhere."
- Don Blahedo; blahedo.org
"This cat is 26 years old, and he is one of the most remarkable combinations of old-time analog lifestyle and modern digital awareness ... His music is really beguiling- simple melodies and intricate lyrics ... a startling original."
- Keith Harrelson; Moonlight Music Cafe
"... young man i thought my jaw dropping days were long gone. but lo and behold as the song says...then there was you. Who from somewhere deep down in you pulled out the unexpected to put me back on my heels, close my eyes and open them again to wonder if i wasn't just imaging somethin special as i listened to a history of music in that voice of yours as it cried picked soothed weedled whispered and doubled backover and into itself singing songs so exquisite raw and tooled that it almost pained me to hear em. Whatever you're doing to be doing what you're doing, don't stop now...or ever. Thanks for the songs and the show that went with em."
- Carl Schinasi
"The voice of Andru Bemis is pretty and ravaged, sounding as though 50 Appalachian winters have run him ragged. His fingers are nimble on a guitar and like lightning on a banjo. He's traveled more than 20,000 miles making music on his own, usually singing into a 60-year-old microphone salvaged from somebody's barn. He's got a Woody Guthrie kind of bellow and a John Prine kind of keen, both of which he's taking around the country right now, as he tours by train, in support of his new album Singer. If you only heard his voice and never saw his face, you'd never believe that this modern-folk, Midwestern miracle of music is only 25 years old ..."
- Glenny Brock; Birmingham Weekly
"... the ability to play such a beautiful song is a rare gift, and a power of which I can only dream."
- Garrison Keillor
"Andru Bemis creates highly original spirited lyrics in his music. Andru has a high, whispy, sometimes gritty voice and scratches away on his old classical guitar (albeit scratching with great ability). This young man sings like a 30s cowboy, a 60s hippie, someone's kid brother. His music whispers in your ear with an intimacy that is addictive."
- Wendy Chappell-Dick; Mennofolk