James Nitz //MTSU Seigenthaler News Service
Whether it’s a love of eclectic musical genres from jazz to reggae, a freight train-like stage energy or just their welcoming ways, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades is eager to please.
The Wisconsin-based band is set to perform at 10 p.m. Wednesday at The High Watt as part of the 16th annual Americana Music Festival.
“Be here, be yourself and be happy above all else,” guitarist Adam Greuel proclaimed in a phone interview this week.
Self-described as “progressive, high energy old-time folk music,” Horseshoes & Hand Grenades consists of Greuel, Collin Mettelka on fiddle and mandolin, Davey Lynch on harmonica and accordion, Samuel Odin on bass, and Russell Pederson on banjo and fiddle. Each pitches in on vocals.
“There’s something about the music, something natural about it,” Greuel said. “The simplicity is compelling.”
Although the instrumentation resembles a traditional bluegrass outfit, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades is anything but traditional. The band incorporates the likes of jazz great Miles Davis and bluegrass founder Bill Monroe shot through internal influences such as Odin’s jazz stylings and Lynch’s bluesy licks.
The band formed in Stevens Point, Wisconsin and began playing shows in spring 2010. As they continued to perform, a bond and trust developed to pave the way for their unconventional sound and a willingness to experiment with it.
“We became really close friends, and it wasn’t because of the band,” Greuel explained. “That transformation led us to an understanding of each other.”
The band recently released the album “Middle Western,” a record that developed from years of long stretches on tour. Said Greuel: “The album has a multifaceted feel. We’re different from when we started writing it.”
When they’re not traveling across the country on tour, these Midwest boys can be found exploring their other love besides music: the great outdoors.The band enjoys backpacking, hiking, urban farming and fly-fishing for smallmouth bass.
“We got to hike around the Red River Gorge in Kentucky before a show in Lexington (Kentucky),” Greuel said.
Fans can find as well as purchase the band’s music on iTunes, SoundCloud, Bandcamp and Spotify, but the musicians mostly are concerned with being heard.
“We like to follow the lead of the Grateful Dead,” Greuel said, “and keep our music open and available.”
IF YOU GO
The 16th Annual Americana Music Festival continues through Sunday at various venues in downtown Nashville.
- Festival Wristband (allows access to five nights of showcases): $60
- TIckets can be purchased for individual showcases for $20-25
- AmericanaFest featuring Loretta Lynn, Steve Earle, Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, and many others: 4:45 p.m. Saturday at Ascend Amphitheater, $25-75.
For more information and a full schedule, visit americanamusic.org.