SATURDAY, NOV.18, 07:30 PM
Blue Water Ramblers
The Blue Water Ramblers, est. 2002, write their own songs and take turns harmonizing with each other to create a colorful tapestry of sounds. “Banjo-Jim” Foerch on his acoustic and electric banjos and R.H. “Bear” Berends on his big Marten guitar are the core of the Rambler vocal and writing team. Then add “Dr. Tom” DeVries on mandolin, “California Dan” Lynn laying down the steady rhythm on his doghouse bass and “Deacon Marten” VanEyk adding just the right amount of fiddle harmonies and fills and what do you get: the unique Blue Water Rambler sound. In our performances you will hear songs expressing our unique take on life both present and past in styles from country to Cajun, rock to reggae, bluegrass to the blues and gospel to swing time.
Banjo-Jim Foerch picked up his first banjo in 1965 and hasn’t put it down since. As a founding member of the regional touring band “Beats Settin’ Home,” Banjo-Jim was busy pickin’ and singin’ all over the Midwest for 20 years between 1982 and 2002. He says singing the songs of Michigan, America and our lives to all the people we meet on tour is the best thing he’s ever done. “Everyone I ever met here in Michigan or around the Midwest is proud of our home state and our country. Our songs express that pride the best way we know how- by getting us all singing together!”
R. H. “Bear” Berends holds down the rhythm with his big, black Martin guitar. As with so many baby boomers he started strumming guitar and singing folk songs in high school in the sixties. Bear joined Banjo-Jim and “Beats Settin’ Home” at the Wheatland Music Festival in Remus, Michigan in 1993 and hasn’t stopped playing and touring since. “I wanted to sing with Banjo-Jim, so I learned all his songs and taught him mine and here we are,” he explains. Whether delivering a lead line or harmonizing with his solid baritone, Bear sculpts the Blue Water Ramblers’ sound.
At times Banjo-Jim and Bear collaborate with our musical pals. We love adding “Dr. Tom” DeVries with his blazing mandolin and melodious tenor voice. For that high, lonesome blue grass sound we bring in “California Dan” Lynn and his bass. And for the full 5-piece traditional sound we add the sweet fiddle stylings of “Deacon Marten” VanEyk.