CTBA Newsletter Interview April 2014

Meet The Artists – The Sieker Band

CTBA Newsletter April 2014

 

International artists Rolf & Beate Sieker created their own style of Bluegrass/Country Music. Critics call it spectacular and exciting - a vibrant collection of contemporary bluegrass. Around here, we just call it really good. Let’s take a moment to learn a little more about some local folks who are doing it right - The Sieker Band.

Let’s start with a little background on how you got started with both music and bluegrass.

Way back in Germany I ran into Earl Scruggs’ Foggy Mountain Breakdown. In 1968 at the age of 14 I got a Framus banjo for Christmas. I wrote to Earl Scruggs if he could help me learn how to play it. After I received his book and record we stayed in regular contact throughout the years and I visited him at his house in Madison in 1981. During the same trip I got invited to stay at Bill Monroe’s farm in Nashville for about a week. Beate and I met at a Bluegrass Festival in northwest Germany. She was in love with the acoustic music Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and others had developed at that time. Together we started creating our own sound and moved to Berlin to just focus on music. With our band Appaloosa and later the Sieker Band we toured all over Europe and recorded 4 albums and had a record contract with LP Records.

Tell us how you got to Austin from Berlin.

We actually did not come straight from Berlin to Austin. First we moved to Nashville in 1997 and lived there for 1½ years. The main reason why we went to Nashville was Bobby Thompson. Shortly after I had discovered Earl Scruggs I heard Bobby on records. He was one of the most requested studio musicians in Nashville. My playing is highly influenced by Bobby’s blues-melodic style and I received his Baldwin banjo in 1996. A few years later in 1999 Beate got Bobby’s Martin D-18 guitar. Bobby was one of my best friends. Nashville was great and later we went back to record our latest album The Siekers – Texas.

Introduce us to the Sieker Band.

In 2000 we moved to Austin. Here we concentrate on playing live gigs. Since we toured so much in Europe we didn’t want to do it here anymore and Austin is the live music capitol of the world. That doesn’t mean we don’t play out of town, just not on a regular basis. Our musicians are Vance Hazen, the finest upright bass player we ever played with, Andy Lentz, a great fiddle player and sometimes depending on the gig Jim Stringer, my favorite acoustic lead guitar player and Peggy Malec, whose harmony vocals blend perfectly with us.

Let’s have a little history lesson. Can you give us some highlights of your work?

In 1975 I was the driver for Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys in Europe. The same year I recorded the very first bluegrass album in Germany with my band Bluegrass Express. In 1997 we received the keys to the city of Bryan/College Station. In 2001, I won the Texas State Banjo Championship. In 2006 we recorded our ‘The Siekers – Texas’ album at ‘Cinderella Studios’, my favorite recording studio in Nashville with studio musicians Wayne Moss, Kenny Malone, and Stuart Duncan and Tony Rice. In 2008 we were inducted into the Gatesville Country Music Hall Of Fame. 2008 and 2009 Bob Schneider’s Texas Bluegrass Massacre was named ‘Best Performing Bluegrass Band’ at the Austin Music Awards. I do a lot of studio work in Austin, Nashville, and San Antonio and played for a lot of artists. If you want to check them out please go to our web-page at www.siekerband.com.

Tell us about Bob Schneider’s TX Bluegrass Massacre. How fun is that?

I’ve been a member of Bob Schneider’s TXBM since 2006. It feels like a modern day Scruggs Revue. The band consists of seven musicians. I love to play banjo to the drums. Bob Schneider is an outstanding songwriter and a great guy. We won the Austin Music Awards twice and last year they flew me into Los Angeles and Chicago for gigs. In January 2011 our Austin City Limits TV Show aired. We recorded a new album in 2013 which will be released this year. Also we recorded and played the Ozzy Osbourne song ‘Crazy Train’ for the TV series ‘Revolution’ which aired in fall of 2013.

Is there a new CD in the future and what plans do y’all have for 2014?

Right now we’re in the process of recording a new CD. The great fiddler Bobby Hicks has already recorded two instrumentals with us. It will contain lots of original numbers. For upcoming gigs and additional info, please go to our webpage www.siekerband.com and, if you’re interested in purchasing our songs, you can go to CD Baby or itunes and punch in The Siekers. For banjo instruction and OME banjo sales, you can contact me directly at thebanjoshrink@aol.com. Also, please visit my other website www.banjoshrink.com. We hope 2014 will be a great year and we’d love to see y’all at the gigs.

 

Sounds like a great idea. Find ‘em when you can then you can say that you, too, have heard the internationally known The Sieker Band!