"Hickory Robot hail from the fertile acoustic soil of Cincinnati, Ohio. The original trio of guitarist Jim Pelz, mandolinist Scott Carnder, and fiddler Lauren Schloemer came together in 2008 and by 2010 had released an album of critically-praised originals entitled Firefly. Citybeat Magazine noted the "stellar songwriting" and "impeccable musicianship". 2011 saw bassist Mike Georgin complete the quartet and a year of constant gigging that resulted in a Cincinnati Entertainment Award nomination for best Bluegrass band.
In October of 2012 the band released their 2nd album, Sawyer, to rave reviews, and was again nominated for a Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Bluegrass Band. In addition, Sawyer was nominted for Album of the year.
Mike Breen of Cincinnati's Citybeat Magazine noted "...like (Alison) Krauss and her band Union Station, the playing is flawless and inspired, guided by great vocals and melodies...", and predicted "Hickory Robot's future is neon-bright".
Jim Pelz brings a lyrical brand of storytelling and a sophisticated harmonic sense to his songs that engages the listener on multiple levels. His guitar playing complements his writing with a unique and fluid sound devoid of the usual picker’s clichés, finding new paths over familiar landscapes.
Scott Carnder writes songs often drawn from the traditional themes of bluegrass but arranged with with an ear raised on equal parts Motown and classic rock. His mandolin playing also reflects a broad range of influences, with strong rhythmic drive, deep pocket, and flowing melodic lines ready to take flight.
Lauren Schloemer, a natural singer of great dynamic range, power, and depth, takes their songs and makes them her own, delivering emotive and riveting performances. Equally remarkable is her expressive and adventurous fiddle-playing, which seemlessly melds a beautiful, classically-influenced tone to a warm, country soul.
Bassist Mike Georgin plays both upright acoustic bass and 5-string fretless electric bass. His playing percolates with chords, slides, and counter-melodies, providing not only a striking foundation for the rest of the band, but another superb soloist as well.
The band, brought together by friendship born of a shared love of acoustic music, songwriting, live performance, and improvisation, have created a music that reflects those varied backgrounds while developing a unique and multi-faceted personality all its own."
Notable performances & accomplishments:
Festivals & Events: John Hartford Memorial Festival, Fort Ancient Bluegrass Festival, Hamilton Co. Sizzlin' Summer Concert Series, Canoegrass (headliner), Oxford Wine Festival (headliner); Bluegrass on the Bandstand Concert Series, JHMF Fall Pickin' Party, Adjust Your Eyes Festival, Music for the Mountains II, Midpoint Music Festival; Fire Up the NIght, TIto's Oldtime Music Festival, One More Girl on Stage
Awards: Scott's song "Hartford's Bend" took 1st place in the 1st Annual John Hartford Memorial Festival Songwriting Contest
Support shows: Goat Rodeo Sessions, Lumineers, John Cowan, Giving Tree Band
Nominated for a 2012 Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Album of the Year for "Sawyer".
Nominated for a 2012 CEA for Best Bluegrass Band
Opened for Ralph Stanley at the Emery Theater, Midpoint Music Festival, MayFest
Nominated for a 2011 Cincinnati Entertainment Award in the bluegrass category.
Festivals & Events: Appalachian Uprising, Midpoint Music Festival, Rivertown Breakdown, Whispering Beard Folk Festival, Appalachian Heritage Festival, DylanFest, Goettafest, 8th St. Design Corridor Concert Series, Cincinnati Zoo Wild About Wine, Music For the Mountains CD release/benefit, Red Barn Radio
Support shows: ekoostik hookah at the Madison Theater; Larry & His Flask at the Southgate House
Selected to appear on the 2010 Midpoint Music Festival CD Sampler
Festivals & Events: Hamilton County Sizzlin’ Summer Concert Series, Cincinnati Zoo’s Wild About Wine series, WNKU Acoustic Lunch Concert Series, Sounds on the Towne Concert Series, Kenton Co. Library Music Series
Support shows: The Coal Men at the Southgate House
Lauren Schloemer - Vocals, Violin, mandolin, Cello
Scott Carnder - Vocals, mandolin, octave mandolin
Jim Pelz - Banjo, Vocals, 12-String Guitar, 6-string guitar
Mike Georgin - Electric Bass, Acoustic bass
The band's debut CD, "Firefly", was released in July of 2010.
Their 2nd album, Sawyer, was released in October of 2012. Both albums are available on iTunes and have received airplay on WNKU in Cincinnati.
A Bluegrass Spin Shoutout to Hickory Robot
[+ Show ]
WKRP is no longer my favorite thing from Cincinnati. Check out the infectious musical stylings of H...WKRP is no longer my favorite thing from Cincinnati. Check out the infectious musical stylings of Hickory Robot and try not to become an instant fan. The smoky sounds and “easy on the eyes” looks of lead singer Lauren Schloemer will blow you away as will the fine musicianship exhibited by her band mates. Jim Pelz on guitar, Scott Carnder on mandolin, and Mike Georgin on bass round out this quartet. Of course, Lauren isn’t afraid to pick up a fiddle or keep rhythm on the washboard when called for. With the recent release of “Sawyer” this Americana / Newgrass/ Country band has all the right ingredients to enjoy some crossover success if they can connect with a more mainstream audience. Of course, I wish them all the success in the world but I want to discuss their bluegrass roots and why you should want to listen to them.
Give a listen to several of the tracks from “Sawyer” as featured on their website at http://www.hickoryrobot.com/ and you’ll see what I mean. I am listening to the first track “Late” and the fact that this is their sophomore album is clear to me. Beautiful production and great use of the band’s assets. I’d stack this song up against anything I am hearing on Country FM radio these days. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, ReverbNation, iTunes and more. This band has fully embraced the digital age.
Cincinnati had best enjoy this hometown band while they can. Just like Tom Sawyer, I’d say their ready to set sail. Hickory Robot’s adventure is just beginning. Come along for the ride, won’t you?
New Cincy-Spawned Releases Celebrated This Week
[+ Show ]
Gifted, progressive local Americana/Newgrass/Country/Pop quartet Hickory Robot returns to record st... Gifted, progressive local Americana/Newgrass/Country/Pop quartet Hickory Robot returns to record store shelves (cyber or otherwise) this week with its new album, Sawyer. The band — which features Lauren Schloemer (fiddle, cello, washboard, vocals), Scott Carnder (mandolin, vocals), Jim Pelz (guitars, banjo, vocals) and Mike Georgin (bass) — will host an album release party in Sawyer’s honor at the new Southgate House Revival (111 Sixth St., Newport; southgatehouse.com) this Friday. Showtime is 8:30 p.m. and G. Burton and The Tadcasters open. Admission is $8 at the door or $6 in advance through ticketfly.com.
The band scored some nice buzz in the Americana underground with its 2010 debut release, Firefly, but Sawyer has some serious mainstream crossover potential. The songs on the album are as creative and diverse as ever (from swaying ballads to shuffling Bluegrass), but the band members’ wider range of influence is more ingrained in the sound and a stronger, natural Pop element emerges. Not the sheeny big-hat Country Pop of Nashville, but the cooler Bluegrass-driven style of Pop that artists like Alison Krauss have perfected. Like Krauss and her band Union Station, the playing is flawless and inspired, guided by great vocals and melodies (the group switches off lead vocals, but Schloemer’s voice is the more alluring). If Sawyer reaches the right ears, Hickory Robot’s future is neon-bright. (hickoryrobot.com)
2012 Midpoint Music Festival Guide
[+ Show ]
"Hickory Robot's lyrics, like the band's name, have a whimsical air to them, layered over top of a p..."Hickory Robot's lyrics, like the band's name, have a whimsical air to them, layered over top of a progressive blend of Bluegrass, Jazz and other Americana forms. Though adventurous and unique, Hickory Robot also has a marketable sound, meaning with a little love and dedication on behalf of fans, they could easily become "The Next Big Thing" out of Cincinnati. And, really, can we ever have too many big things? The band's new album 'Sawyer' is slated for a mid-October release and could well be Hickory Robot's "golden ticket" to the broader acclaim and recognition it deserves."
Dig: Artists who understand the Americana blueprint, but aren't afraid of augmenting it with new, modern ideas. (Deirdre Kaye)
Hickory Robot CD Release Party
[+ Show ]
Firefly would be a stunning release by a veteran band; the fact that Hickory Robot is such a new gro...Firefly would be a stunning release by a veteran band; the fact that Hickory Robot is such a new group (though members have veteran experience) makes it all the more astounding. There’s a remarkable diversity in the four-piece’s repertoire, thanks at least in part to the members’ multi-instrumentalist skills (fiddle, bass, guitar and mandolin are the core tools, but they also color with everything from banjo to cello to washboard). While there’s a strong traditional anchor to the band’s sound, the singular songwriting talents on display (three of the four members wrote songs for the album) give it a contemporary element and help the band standout from its peers.
Solid writing, impeccable musicianship and “secret weapon” Lauren Schloemer (whose fiddle and vocals provide many highlights) make Hickory Robot one of the best new bands in the local music scene.
2010 Midpoint Music Festival Artist Spotlight
[+ Show ]
Hickory Robot is one of the fastest rising Roots bands in the local scene, with its just-released de...Hickory Robot is one of the fastest rising Roots bands in the local scene, with its just-released debut album, Firefly, earning universally positive reviews, focusing particular attention on fiddler Lauren Schloemer, whose vocal prowess has been favorably yard-sticked against Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss. But Hickory Robot’s phenomenal sound is centered around the three part harmonies of Schloemer, mandolinist Scott Carnder and guitarist Jim Pelz, anchored by bassist Matt Holt and propelled to the stratosphere by great songwriting that is both traditionally influenced and contemporarily slanted. Long may the Robot run.
You’ll Dig It If You Dig: The old time train pulling into Union Station after stops at Dylan Street, Van Zandt Way and the Hartford Interchange.
2011 Midpoint Music Festival Artist Guide
[+ Show ]
“One of the marks of a great band is in taking a well-traveled genre and doing things within its sta...“One of the marks of a great band is in taking a well-traveled genre and doing things within its standard context that make it seem fresh and unique, like you’re hearing its rhythms and cadences for the first time. That’s the way it is with Hickory Robot, one of the coolest new traditional Americana bands on the scene. Coming together in early 2008, the quartet formed around typical Bluegrass instrumentation and crafted a sound that basically uses Bluegrass as a launch pad for their high flying musical ideas. Hickory Robot’s debut album, last year’s Firefly, got them noticed in a big way for their aforementioned singularity and and their spectacular songcraft, and their audience grows with every club date and festival they play. It’s all there in the name; wood and steel, traditional and technological, whittled and soldered, antique and advanced.” – Brian Baker
Gettin' Grassed With Hickory Robot
[+ Show ]
Hickory Robot is a four piece band formed in the summer of 2008. The band features mandolin (Scott C...Hickory Robot is a four piece band formed in the summer of 2008. The band features mandolin (Scott Carnder), fiddle (Lauren Schloemer), bass (Matt Holt) and guitar (Jim Pelz), showing off their talent as they frequently swap instruments. Three of the members are vocalists as well. Lauren is often compared to Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss, but I would add Sheryl Crow to the list as well.
Hickory Robot has a fairly new 13-track work - Firefly. Surprising diversity unfolds in Firefly, much credit for that is due to the members’ multi-instrumentalist skills, violin, bass, guitar and mandolin are staples, banjo, cello and even a washboard are incorporated too. Talented writing, marvelous musicianship and Lauren Schloemer’s fiddle and pipes have given Hickory Robot many rave reviews. You can get a listen for yourself online at Hickory Robot’s sites; (facebook.com/hickoryrobotband or hickoryrobot.com) both feature much info and great tunes. A few quick highlights are; Temptation & Sin”, an edgy, galloping tune. Lauren spins a tale of trials and desires, fast strumming follows her pace all the way through, quick chugging, it’s steam locomotive like. Modestly modern and catchy. “Falling is Still Flying” takes swooping jazz-esque twists & turns and weaves them into a sorta-love song. It goes from jazz grass, to joy grass and back again on every chorus. Progressive grass perhaps? “Granite State” is pure Kentucky Backporch Jug Band Bluegrass. Living in Ohio but longing for a distant home is the theme this diddy playfully dances to. Square dance grass maybe.
The sacred John Prine song “Angel from Montgomery” is covered with respect. Lauren sings it soulfully but thankfully with no aires. You can feel she’s at ease, honest and comfortable with her style. It’s refreshingly simple. “Firefly” and “Turtle Creek” are tattooed with Texas grass. Cool tunes with a real old western flavor. “Turkey Scratch” sounds like it’s coming right across the water off a big tall stacked riverboat. The only instrumental tune on Firefly. True old school Americana. The band runs a gamut of styles gracefully.
Firefly is perfect for NKU (among others), if they don’t play it they should be ashamed. It’s all American, roots, old time low down bluegrass and at least 5 more other grasses mixed in to keep it interesting. It’s worth a click and listen or a buy
We primarily play original music. Ideally we prefer to play 2 1-hour sets per show, but can do 3 sets if required. Most sets have 10-12 songs per set. We tend to play 1 or 2 cover songs per set, and can range from classic bluegrass (Bill Monroe, Stanley Bros.), to country (Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton), to rock (The Band, Tom Waits, Grateful Dead) as well as songs by other roots/Americana acts (Gillian Welch, OCMS) and traditional fiddle tunes.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.