Hillbilly Boogiemen, A Dutch Bumpkin Batch

At last! This band has done what many, many others have tried. Standing knee deep in Bluegrass, with the Honky Tonk Blues in their hearts and the Rockabilly fire in their souls, these guys got the Hillbilly fever goin' 'round again. Let that fever catch you too! Seeing them pumping their raw energy into their instruments, while singin' their hearts out, makes you feel like you're in some roadside Honky Tonk, some forty years ago. That's where these mad mountainmen from the lowlands of Holland really belong, but your stage will do just fine too.

Professionals? You bet! Many years of experience in several bands have taught each member what performing good music is all about. Together they broke down the barriers between hot Rockabilly, heartfelt Country and hard driving Bluegrass, making it all fit perfectly in one energetic show. And that's a show you definitely don't want to miss!

You see, they're not just a Bluegrass band, but with their two, three or even four part harmonies and fine ability on mandolin, banjo, fiddle, guitar and upright bass they're among the best. They're not just a Rockabilly band, but with their slap bass, mean blues harp and unique foot-played drum, they can certainly get a crowd rocking.

Not to everyone's taste? Don't worry, they feature a non-pedal steelguitar and play Hank Williams Sr, Jimmie Rodgers and George Jones songs with the best of them. Whatever your taste, the Hillbilly Boogiemen will have something for you. They're superbly entertaining, and you just won't want to miss them.

-- Source: The Hillbilly Boogiemen Flyer --

Members of Holland's Hillbilly Boogiemen say their cultural compass has led them toward "Go Cat Go!" over van Gogh ever since they first heard Elvis Presley on the radio. The rootsy quartet now ranks as the most popular surveyor of rockabilly and bluegrass (or "traditional American music styles") in the Netherlands, a title that the band admits doesn't mean much. The Boogiemen's official slogan is, "Wherever we play, there are at least four George Jones fans."

A lot more than four Jones fans greeted the Dutch bumpkins at Iota for their first area appearance. Sporting Fender Telecasters, Martin Dreadnoughts and enough denim to outfit the cast of "Hee Haw," the Boogiemen tore through most of the material on their recent CD "Rockin' And Cloggin'" and in so doing mimicked American music icons with absolute accuracy and joy. MandolinistArnold Lasseur did Bill Monroe proud while picking and grinning several bluegrass classics (among them Monroe's "Shenandoah Breakdown"). Bassist and lead vocalist Aart Schroevers did a killer Jones while rendering "White Lightning," doubled as Hank Williams for "Mansion On The Hill" and even threw in some Elvis for "A Fool Such As I". During a glleful 70-minute set, the Boogiemen showed themselves to be one of the few acts that would feel at home and welcome in either Branson or Amsterdam.

-- By Dave McKenna for The Washington Post --

Elvis led Dutch guitarist Robert Kanis to bluegrass and ultimately to the International Bluegrass Festival in Guthrie. "I grew up listening to Elvis Presley on the radio and then I discovered, that Bill Monroe wrote 'Blue Moon of Kentucky,'" said Kanis, a member of the band Hillbilly Boogiemen. "Bill Monroe rocks."

The Hillbilly Boogiemen, a band from the Netherlands, stands out as one of the most eclectic in a festival lineup that includes a Czech dobro player, an Austrian flatpicker and a guy from Kansas playing a pair of cow bones. The band gleefully plays all over the musical map, mixing tunes by bluegrass legends Monroe and Jimmy Martin with vintage country standards by Hank Williams and George Jones. Singing four-part harmony on the stage of the 1920s-era Scottish Rite Temple auditorium, with three heads of shiny, slicked-back hair, three pairs of dark denim bib overalls and a straw cowboy hat between them, the Hillbilly Boogiemen seem eerily reminiscent of 1940s-era Grand Ole Opry performers. Then the light catches the earring in Kanis' right ear, the band shifts into an up-tempo version of a Lefty Frizzell song, and it's clear who they are: young Europeans utterly enamored of traditional American music.

Band members honed their high lonesome sound in Utrecht, a town in the central Netherlands, where Bart van Strien, who alternates between fivestring banjo, harmonica and fiddle, said their love for bluegrass made it easy for them to find each other. "I used to tape bluegrass music from the radio," he said, and he's kept the first bluegrass song he ever heard, "Montgomery County Breakdown," in his repertoire. The band's straight-ahead rendition had the crowd in Guthrie clapping, stomping and whistling for more. As the band alternated between traditional bluegrass and a kind of up-tempo honkytonk, burly mandolin player Arnold Lasseur's Dutch accent melted into a soulful twang in songs like Hylo Brown's "Lost to a Stranger."

The band learns new songs by listening to bluegrass and country records - the older the better, Kanis said. The band released a single, Jimmy Martin's "Hit Parade of Love," on a 45 rpm record, purely for nostalgia's sake. Hillbilly Boogiemen was making a return appearance at the International Bluegrass Festival and following a 50-minute set Thursday afternoon, spent more than an hour selling copies of the single and compact discs and signing autographs in the temple's marble lobby. "We love Guthrie. We came last year and it turned out so fine," said Kanis, 30. "This year people are wearing our T-shirts and yelling our names."

-- By Barbara Palmer for The Daily Oklahoman --

The Hillbilly Boogiemen are:
Bart van Strien - Banjo, Bluesharp, Guitar, Fiddle, Vocals
Arnold Lasseur - Mandolin, Steelguitar, Guitar, Vocals
Aart Schoevers - Double Bass, Vocals
Robert Jan Kanis - Guitar, Drums, Vocals

Christmas time's a-coming with the Ranch Girls (45 rpm)
Live At The Pumkins (CD, 1995)
Hitparade Of Love b/w Why Baby Why (45 rpm, 1996)
Rockin' And Cloggin' (CD, 1998)
White Lightning / If I lose (CD-single, 1998)

Info & Hillbilly Bookings:
Hillbilly Boogiemen
Verfmolen 43
3642ZH Mijdrecht
Tel: +31 (0)297 255 297
E-mail: hillbmen@xs4all.nl

Web: http://www.hillbillyboogiemen.nl