“… One of the country’s greatest treasures of folk music …” (Cincinnati.com)
By R.J. Slately, Dec. 2015
Singer-songwriter and string instrumentalist Andru Bemis recently visited Tulsa, Oklahoma for the first time, to the delight of audiences and the benefit of numerous musical instruments. Bemis—who tours nationally, regularly impressing with his driving clawhammer banjo playing, old-time Irish fiddling, nimble finger-picking on the guitar, humorous and heartfelt songs, and crowd-friendly personality—arrived in mid-October and played several times while in town. His performances included a Friday night gig at the popular Coffee House on Cherry Street, a Wednesday evening service at All Souls Unitarian Church (accompanied during one number by pianist Rick Fortner, the church’s musical director), and a greatly appreciated voluntary show for Methodist Manor retirement community. Continue reading “Andru Bemis Visits Tulsa For First Time” — article and photos by R.J. Slately
Multi-instrumentalist, South Haven native and Renaissance man Andru Bemis has spent the past decade or so making his way across the country carrying his instruments on his back, spreading folk songs like apple seeds as he goes. Bemis is a churched-up version of the hobo you imagine in the back of a railcar, picking on a stringed instrument, coasting off into the sunset. But Bemis is much more than just a picker in a bowler hat: this is a folk musician’s folk musician, singing his own lyrics alongside traditional songs in his signature bluegrass-y warble; swapping between banjo, guitar, fiddle and ukulele onstage; and nodding to folk styles from Celtic and Cajun to more modern styles and back to pure Americana. — Recoil Magazine [Grand Rapids, MI]
… “Andru Bemis, hailing from South Haven, Mich., opened the evening at 7 p.m. and thrilled the audience for about an hour.
Bemis’ songs were story-like. He had great stage presence and a good sense of humor.
To top that, Bemis was a wizard on the acoustic guitar, fiddle and banjo.
Bemis, 35, travels from show to show via public transportation, most often using buses, trains or even hitchhiking.
I had the chance to interview him Sunday.
Bemis had high praise for the Dirtsandwich Music Co.
“It’s beautiful,” he said. “And what really sets it part [sic] is it’s about music. It’s not about beer or food, with music in the background. What they are selling is music. It’s really rare to find that.”
In the early to mid-2000s, Bemis would play 150-200 shows per year.
From 2007 to 2011, he concentrated mainly on a venue (Foundry Hall) in South Haven, which is a non-profit, all-ages community center and performance venue.
Now, he’s back to playing at least 150 concerts annually.
Bemis said he’s been playing violin since he was 3 or 4 years old. He added the acoustic guitar to his repertoire about 1995 and then picked up the banjo in 2003.
Bemis had a great time playing Sunday for the Norwalk audience.
“I thought it was great,” he said. “It was a good time and that’s what it is all about.”
Bemis will return to Dirtsandwich on May 9.” …. – Scott Seitz, Entertainment, Norwalk County Reflector [Norwalk, OH]
… When things finally got rockin’ and rollin’—er, so to speak, [John C. Reilly] came out and introduced their warm up act (the first time I’ve ever been present for a warm up and NOT wanted to kill myself) Andru Bemis, who played some sweet-ass banjo and sang old folk songs, real old ones, like the first ones ever. He warmed up the crowd sufficiently, inducing a sing along and called himself the canary of the show, coming out to see what kind of crowd they had on their hands …” — The Reel Scoop