Sloughgrass band Biography
The Sloughgrass band, from Birchdale, Minnesota, is a family affair with Grandma Audrey Nelson setting the rhythm on the upright bass. Her two daughters, two sons-in-law and three of her grandchildren and sometimes a cousin or some friends join in playing on a variety of acoustic instruments. Everyone in the family started learning to play their instruments around the same time back in 2002 from a traveling teacher, Dale Blatter, who would stop by grandma's house on Monday nights. Eventually they looked around the living room and realized that they had a band even though that had never been the intention. The band's music is a blend of Bluegrass, Gospel, Country, Old-time, Scandinavian, and Folk music. All of the group members take turns on the vocal and instrumental pieces. The group's spokes person Søren emigrated from Denmark 1989 and married Audrey's youngest daughter Judith. Christine the older sister married David who grew up in International Falls. They all reside as the fourth generation in the hamlet of Birchdale, Minnesota, a small unincorporated town in far northern Koochiching County situated on the banks of the Rainy River half-way between International Falls and Baudette. Sloughgrass has performed throughout Minnesota at a wide variety of events since about 2003 including: numerous celebrations, The Rollag Steam Threshers Show, The Blackduck Bluegrass Festival, Bemidji Winter Bluegrass Weekend, International Falls Bandstand Summer Concerts, Timber Producers Annual Expo, The Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener 2006, the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-time Music Association's August Festival & their Winter Bluegrass Weekend, the Duluth Cabin Fever Festival, and also at Brown's Ole Opry in North Carolina, the Frozen Fingers Festival in Minot, ND and other North Dakota locations. In 2004 the band also performed at the Blomster Festival in Roskilde, Denmark. In 2009, 2010 they played at the Minnesota State Fair at the Ramberg Senior Center on the opening weekend of the Fair and also performed on the popular AM 1500 radio program Garage Logic and they were back at the State Fair in 2012. The band was the featured artist on www.Ampers.org radio in March 2011. A feature article about Sloughgrass was in the April 2012 issue of the magazine "Simply North" published by Northstar publishing in International Falls, MN. In March of 2012 Sloughgrass was lucky to be invited to be part of the "Prairie Musicians" PBS series filmed at the Fargo Prairie Public PBS studio, the band now have their own PBS show to showcase some of their music. The show aired during the summer of 2012 and is now available online at this link www.Youtube.com/PrairiePublicBcast.
In 2005 Sloughgrass released their first CD "Down The Road". It was recorded live at Bemidji Music Center, Bemidji, MN.
In July of 2007 Sloughgrass released their second CD "Are we There Yet?" which was recorded live in their hometown church in Birchdale, MN.
In the summer of 2011 Sloughgrass released their third CD "Not Quite There", which was recorded live at Kezar Music in Thief River Falls, MN, in April of 2011.
The young people in the band with friend Maria Lewis also have their own band Ditchgrade. They released their first Demo CD in the summer of 2011. Ditchgrade often appears with the Sloughgrass band, but also appear on their own. Visit them at www.ditchgrade.com
In August 2012 Gary began his undergraduate studies at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City TN, to pursue dual degrees in Bluegrass, Old-time and Country music, and in Business. So now he's only able to play with the bands occasionally. The family is very excited that Gary has chosen to pursue a music career and that so far he loves his choice.
The Sloughgrass band members are: Audrey Nelson, upright bass; Judith Nelson, fiddle, vocals, rhythm guitar; Søren Olesen, mandolin, rhythm guitar, vocals; Sofia Olesen, fiddle, mandolin; Holger Olesen, resonator Dobro guitar, saxophone, vocals; Christine Hultman, banjo, vocals; Dave Hultman, rhythm guitar, vocals; when available Gary Hultman, resonator guitar, banjo, lead/rhythm-guitar; mandolin; (occasionally Maria Lewis, upright bass, vocals).