Hickory Strings
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Hickory Strings

Medford, Massachusetts, United States | INDIE

Medford, Massachusetts, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Jam




"Tuesday is Bluegrass Night in Boston"

Every year at the Newport Folk Festival I get my fill of bluegrass from the likes of Trampled By Turtles, Chris Thile, and Sam Bush to name a few, but back home in Boston I never know where to turn to get my fix. That was until I hit the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge on Tuesday night to check out Hickory Strings.

Each Tuesday night of the month Cantab hosts some of Boston’s best bluegrass musicians and with this past Tuesday being my first look into the Boston bluegrass scene, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I can tell you that I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. Hickory Strings played an hour long set highlighted by some impressive musicianship from each band member.

Geoff Brown led the charge with his entrancing mandolin skills, and showed off some versatility on a few Celtic inspired songs while Mark Whitaker made playing the banjo look easier than making fun of Donald Trump’s hair. Guest fiddler Eva Walsh transported me back to Newport with a performance reminiscent of Sara Watkins and bassist Gian Pangaro pulled it all together.

What was most surprising though was the turnout that the show attracted, and on a Tuesday night nonetheless. I was expecting share my evening with a few bluegrass diehards telling stories of how they were at the very first Newport Folk Festival, not to be squeezing my way through a crowd of 20-somethings to find the exit once Hickory Strings left the stage. I applaud the Cantab Lounge and Hickory Strings for giving Boston residents a place to share some beers and some tremendous bluegrass music, can’t wait for next Tuesday. - Maimed and Tamed

"John McGann"

“Hickory Strings latest release “Duo” is a unique and fantastic instrumental duo recording featuring original compositions by Geoff Brown (mandolin) and Mark Whitaker (banjo). Eschewing the flashy pyrotechnics that both players are capable of, they instead focus on textures, dynamic interplay, emotional range, and deeply musical uses of harmony and counterpoint, as well as that oft-missing component: space! Adventurous without sounding “experimental”, flowing without rambling aimlessly, these well conceived melodies are delivered with the panache and fluidity found in jazz and bluegrass, combined with the classical composer’s sense of balance and form, but yielding something greater than the sum of those stylistic parts. This music is easy to listen to, but light years from “easy listening”, as it balances memorable melodies with the sound of surprise, in a recorded atmosphere that is both warm and inviting. Beautiful stuff!” - National Mandolin Champion


Duo (2011)
Patches (2008)
Geoff Brown and Hickory Strings (2006)



Hickory Strings blends musical influences from around the world into a unique brand of modern American chamber music. With elements of classical, jazz, African, klezmer, bluegrass, celtic, folk, pop, and funk, the resulting compositions and improvisations are unclassifiable. The group’s versatility has led to performances in concert halls, bars, coffee shops, bluegrass festivals, libraries, and is one of the few groups truly suitable for nearly any venue. Their music has appeared in films and for public radio. The group is often grouped with and compared to similar recording and performing artists: Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, and Nickel Creek’s Chris Thile.

The musicians are active educators, providing workshops and interactive performances in schools, community centers, and other academic institutions. The group also provides music for weddings, private parties, events, and children’s concerts.

The core of the group is a duo: Geoff Brown and Mark Whitaker. The critically acclaimed duo formed in 2006. The debut 2006 recording, Geoff Brown and Hickory Strings includes a variety of duo, trio, and quartet combinations for mandolin, banjo, upright bass, and guitar.

The 2008 recording, Patches, features bassist Gian Pangaro (Three Tall Pines). Gian actively performs concerts with Hickory Strings throughout New England and adds a third dimension to the music, bringing his strong background in bluegrass, jazz, and classical music.