Category Archives: Promo

Radio Radio (Indianapolis, IN) with John Reilly and Friends — review by Reel Scoop, photos by Emily Steele

… 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

Images courtesy of Emily Steele

Codfish Hollow Barnstormer (Maquoketa, IA) — review and photos by Hoopla and Matt Erickson

“… [Andru] Bemis, the opening act for the night’s show, provide [sic] an introduction for those who were unaccustomed with the country twang of bluegrass music. The audience waited with hopeful anticipation for the strumming to begin from the slim character peeking at everyone through his wide rimmed spectacles. In his dark fedora sporting a feather-like feature on the side of it, he sat on a wooden chair in his common suit of suave chocolate brown hued pants and matching vest and jacket with a button up white shirt underneath.

Humidity so heavy a light sweat began to commence on the brown of all who watched as his fingers swiftly strummed the chords that ever so slightly began to rapidly take on a new tempo. As he expertly transitioned from the acoustic guitar to the banjo a song about trains began to bring about a new energy from the crowd. Just as a train begins to chug along picking up speed as it churns upon the tracks, the banjo represented those tracks, as his fingers became a blur to rapid beat. A soft, then distinct foot stomp to the beat took over and rose to the rafters as hoots and hollers gave way to their appraisal.

After revving up the drunkenly happy crowd, the main attraction for what they had traveled miles to see finally was upon them. When Bemis asked the crowd if they had ever seen John C. Reilly & Friends perform, it was if crickets were the only response as no one raised a hand …” — Hoopla

Images courtesy of Matt Erickson and Hoopla

Concert review from Phyllis’ Musical Inn

… Andru Bemis, on the other hand, lives just as much on the road as in southwest Michigan, where he coordinates the music at Foundry Hall in South Haven. Sometimes you can just tell by looking at someone that they’re full of stories- and you could tell from Bemis’ old suit and derby hat that he had at least a story or two. In fact, he has biked, hitchhiked, and ridden Amtrak trains across the country for many years to share his colorful and old timey songs. During the tense final moments of the Blackhawks playoff victory, he sat alone on stage reading an Elizabeth Brautigan novel, but early in his set he explained his stance on the game in a way that exemplified his colorful and gentle personality: “I hate rooting for the Blackhawks because I feel like I’m being mean to Philadelphia. I hate rooting for Philadelphia because I feel like I’m being mean to the Blackhawks. I’m not rooting for anyone, let’s just say the best team won.” One of the highlights of Bemis’ set was “Huck Finn,” a tune recounting Bemis’ lifelong admiration of Mark Twain’s creation (“I used to smoke a corncob pipe/I would smoke it late at night/I never got in trouble cause I turned out the light/just like Huck Finn”) … — Rob Reid; Gapers Block [Chicago, IL]

Review from WPSU–FM [Lemont, PA]

“Andru Bemis is a modern folk singer who sounds like he should be on some dusty old 78 record. The way he plays clawhammer banjo and nylon-string guitar, you can tell that all he does is play music. He has a beautiful voice that breaks one way to a cry and another way to a yell. He really captures the high lonesome sound.” — Mel DeYoung; WPSU–FM [Lemont, PA]