The Betweeners
Gig Seeker Pro

The Betweeners

Band Americana Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Matador Karma"

Stephen Couch is the driving force behind this excellent Louisville based progressive bluegrass outfit, handling the bulk of the songwriting, lead vocals, slide guitars and mandolin; the core trio is rounded out by second guitarist & vocalist Eddie Green and Owen Reynolds on bass. Additional musicians provide fiddle, banjo, drums, percussion and backing vocals. Music like this just fills the soul, gets your feet moving, and puts a big old smile on your face -- it’s totally infectuous, delightfully fun, and absolutely impossible to ignore. Their sound (mostly due to the vocal delivery) is a bit reminiscent of The Band circa the second (self titled) abum, but replace their rock with a more lively acoustic based bluegrass vibe and one might have an idea of where Matador Karma is coming from. It’s pure Americana, but expanding well beyond the traditions, effectively doing to bluegrass what bands like Fairport did to British folk. And these guys can play up a storm and deliver some tasty arrangements. The lyrical humor of songs like “Hotel Movies” and “Beanstalk in My Bed” will make you smile, while one can relish the thoughtful social commentary of songs like “Fishers of Men” and “East Kentucky Water”. Countryphobes might want to give this a pass, but listeners fond of The Band, New Riders, early NGDB, Old and In The Way, Garcia, Grisman and similarly inclined artists might do well to check these guys out. -Peter Thelen, Expose'

- Peter Thelen

"Pick of the Week"

The Betweeners couple the characteristic flair of The Band with the vitality of an act like The Gourds and the virtuosity of entire generations of bluegrass greats...
This one goes highly recommended! -Benny Metten March 2004
-More reviews coming soon!

- Ctrl.Alt.Country

"What a Treat"

This is a great cd! These days, it's almost impossible to hear any virgin sounds, but The Betweeners have succeeded in creating a fresh, all-original sound with original material and delivery. Sometimes introspective, sometimes humorous, sometimes lyrical, sometimes gritty...always virtuostic, always unusual. Well-crafted lyrics, wonderfully unexpected musical turnarounds, essentially authentic and right-on. What a treat.
-Gabrielle Gray, Executive Director, International Bluegrass Music Museum, March 2004 - International Bluegrass Music Museum

"Feast for the Ear"

Matador Karma is a feast for the ear, a real treat. The singing, the playing, the songs, it all sounds great.
-Theo Oldenburg, dj for Alt.Country Cooking:"Real American Music That Don't Suck." March 2004

- Alt.Country Cooking

"Never a Dull Moment"

Great record!
You can invite The Betweeners to play on your own instruments. if they were around, I would do immediately to listen with open mouth to flashing bluegrass tunes, bluesy stuff in various ways and some fresh country songs. with lots of instrumental highlights on guitar, dobro and fiddle. You will never have a dull moment with The Betweeners. -Bart Ebisch March 2004 -

"Star Search"

Don't feel bad if you've never heard of the Betweeners. While talking this record up during the past few weeks, only one person was familiar with the mystery band — but still had never heard them. That won't last."Matador Karma" is where bluegrass meets The Band and mellow hell breaks loose. Stephen Couch's warm, ingratiating voice and engaging songwriting anchor the album with a deceptive ease; songs this good always sound easy. It sure doesn't hurt that partners Eddie Green, Owen Reynolds and Chet Surgener play like Couch sings — with a casual, comfortable grace.The Betweeners' low profile is charming, but they had better get used to higher ground. When you put out a record this good, the only way to go is up. -Jeffery Lee Puckett, Music Critic, The Louisville Courier-Journal April 10th, 2004 - Louisville Courier Journal

"DJ Raves"

These guys are better than most bands in the "damn good" category. Stephen Couch is such a good singer that when you hear him for the first time, you feel like you've been listening to him for years. He's so comfortable in his own skin, there's not a whiff of hesitation or pretension. His voice draws you in immediately, but then he backs it up with the lyrics.
" Karma" is more than a title, it's a theme. So many bands sound good, but have nothing to say. The Betweeners don't have that problem. When's the last time you heard a line as good as "They talk about death like it's alive" from somebody not named Haggard or Dylan. I'm not saying Stephen Couch has an agenda, but the album is spiritual in the sense that he's sharing his spirit with you. Reincarnation, religion, sex, the environment - it's all there. Make a spot for them in your CD changer right between the
Flatlanders and Oh Brother Where Art Thou?
- Michael Young, "Roots and Boots" DJ, 91.9 WKPK, Louisville, Kentucky April, 2004 - "Roots and Boots"

"An Honest Tune Review Summer 2004"

"Blues, bluegrass and everything in between." This simple phrase that graces the opening page of this fine Kentucky trio does as good a job as any of describing the band's sound.

For The Betweeners, formed in the bowels of coal country in Hazard, KY, it's not so much the style, as it is the song.

Matador Karma, the band's first record, belies their experience, coming off as a sturdy, confident set of jaunty acoustic gems. Fronted by lead man Stephen Couch and his velvety baritone, Matador Karma boasts thirteen tracks of superb songwriting, soft melodies and generally fine musicianship. It's highlighted by a gentle approach that allows the lyrics to shine at the forefront while showcasing plenty of the band's well-honed chops while they shift from back beat to back woods and back again. Songs like the high lonesome "360 Degrees" and "Chief Seattle's Blues" and its sauntering blue notes, show much more than promise, they show an arrival. And if things continue to go right for this delightful little ensemble, there should be plenty more arrivals for them to come.
-An Honest Tune Magazine, Summer 2004 - An Honest Tune Magazine

"Captain Couch"

"Like the crew of some lost ship in a past episode of Star Trek, the Betweeners have found themselves stuck between worlds. Unlike Captains Kirk or Picard, trying to extricate themselves before the credits roll, Captain Stephen Couch and his crew of enterprising, talented musicians are in a good place for them as well as for us.

Wonderfully jammed between musical worlds country, blues, bluegrass, cajun and at times pulled by one more than the others, drawing a little from all in a very entertaning collection of music.

Stephen has a fine cajun bent to his resonant baritone and is equally adept on guitar, resophonic guitar and mandolin. He is ably backed by Eddy Green, guitar and background vocals, and Owen Reynolds, bass, guest artists, Michael Cleveland, provides his usual outstanding job on fiddle and banjo, along with Curtis Wilson, banjo, Angie Carnahan, background vocals and Chet Surgener, drums and percussion.

The CD opens with "No New Tales", a laid back cajun blues number with some sweet resophonic guitar work. "360 Degrees" is a real toe-tapping cajun piece, "East Kentucky Water", and "Beanstalk in My Bed" are driving bluegrass, the former, riddled with Stephen and Michael's sizzling mandolin and fiddle work. The latter, with dazzling guitar, fiddle and banjo.

These folks do it all: Stephen penned twelve of the baker's dozen cuts with one by Owen. The band did a great job producing and arranging the CD as well. The Betweeners don't seem to have found a record label to produce them yet. Michael appears here courtesy of Rounder Records and Rounder might want to give this band a good listen before someone else snatches them up. Very elective, very creative, alot of fun and good enjoyable listening throughout. These folks are just waiting to be discovered."

- Bluegrass Now Magazine

"Paste Magazine June 2004 Review"

The Betweeners are aptly named, describing themselves as “blues, bluegrass … and everything in between.” The indie trio’s first CD, Matador Karma, creates a rootsy blend, infusing bluegrass and blues with folk and straight-up country. The result is a hum-worthy Americana mix that's been likened to the Flatlanders and The Band.

The first two songs “No New Tales” and “360 Degrees” immediately induce toe-tapping as the Kentucky musicians combine swing and soul with plenty of pickin’. Frontman Stephen Couch’s classic-country baritone has a warm, thick resonance, and the melodies he sings rise smoothly to the top like cream in a butter churn. But rural stereotypes be damned—this band isn’t just comprised of tea-sipping crooners ‘down in the holler.’

The Betweeners take old forms and tackle the issues—everything from the Grateful Dead to environmentalism and religion. They keep things surprisingly light, delivering solid punch lines and clever word play. In “Beanstalk in My Bed,” the band recalls a Deadhead’s wild past using nursery rhymes, singing, “was it the parties or the stories / that destroyed my mind / they both had a lot of lines.”

The group calls attention to athletic teams’ exploitation of Native Americans in “Chief Seattle’s Blues,” noting, “It’s the land of the free, where the mascots can be red in the home of the blues.” The Betweeners’ lyrics—while playful at times—have depth and, like the band’s sound, are layered and satisfying.

If you’re looking for progressive subject matter from traditional musical genres, your craving will be satisfied somewhere amidst Matador Karma's 13 tracks. The Betweeners would fit right in at a local bluegrass festival or even at other festivals… where grass of another sort is preferred.

- Paste Magazine


Along with the talents of drummer Chet Surgener and the two- time IBMA fiddle player of the year, Michael Cleveland, the group recorded "Matador Karma" in July of 2003. "Matador Karma" contains 13 original songs that are sometimes humorous and sometimes esoteric, all while maintaining a soulful, downhome sensibility. The CD continues to get airplay nationwide and even internationally, while ocasionally popping up on americana charts or "dj's favorites" lists.


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Betweeners are a band not easily categorized.
The band was founded by Hazard, Kentucky native Stephen Couch. Not content with his roll as a multi-instrumentalist for the award winning duo Zoe Speaks and the bluegrass group The Kettleheads, Stephen formed The Betweeners, along with bassist Owen Reynolds and guitarist Eddy Green as an outlet for his ever-growing original songbook. The band is influenced by artists such as Ry Cooder, Willie Nelson, Mose Allison, and John Prine, and has been compared to The Band, New Riders, early NGDB, Old and In The Way, and Garcia and Grisman.