The DeWayn Brothers Bluegrass Band
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The DeWayn Brothers Bluegrass Band

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Not since writer William Allen White put Emporia, Kansas, on the map in the early 1900s with his Pulitzer Prize-winning columns has anything made noise — or even kicked up a little dust — in that eastern Kansas town, located at the desolate cross section of U.S. Highway 50 and the state turnpike. Not until the Dewayn Brothers, that is.

"authentically Kansan."

"It seems like a dangerous claim to make. But with a driving wickerwork of lilting sound and haunting harmony — aided by the smooth, cool voice of singer Jamie Ferland — it's not such a difficult assertion after all. Singing about bastard sons and throat-burning whiskey, this band holds nothing back"

As far as Kansas music fans are concerned, though, all that's important is that the Dewayn Brothers put on a foot-stomping, hat-waving good old-timey show. And, of course, they raise enough hell to wake old W.A. White from the dead. That ought to be enough to put Emporia back on the map.
5.25.06 by Jesse Zerger Nathan - The Pitch


After spending their summer touring the country, The Dewayn Brothers will be returning to their home turf of Emporia and perform their unique brand of punk infused bluegrass.

“Emporia is always such a great show for us and a fun time for the audience,” said Eric Nelson, the band’s guitar player. “It’s nice to look out and see familiar faces. We also like the back-to-school shows because we get a chance to meet new students from the college and to hang out with some folks we haven’t seen all summer.”

This homecoming show is a celebration of sorts for the band as they have accomplished quite a bit in the past few months.

“This year has been an incredible year for our band,” Nelson said. “We’ve done around 230 shows and have added quite a few great new places to play.”

The band has been busy promoting their fourth album ‘Farmer,’ released in 2007.

“We’ve had a lot of really good feed back on ‘Farmer’ and we love the album,” Nelson said. “With the amount of touring we’re doing, it’s getting out to a large group of new people.”

The band played a hand full of festivals this summer including the Wakarusa in Lawrence, Kan and the Podunk Bluegrass Festival in Hartford, Conn. at which they won second place in a 45 band competition. The band also recently shared the stage with influential bluegrass artist Ralph Stanley.

“We did get to meet Dr. Stanley,” Nelson said. “He was very quiet but very gracious. We had pictures taken with him and got to see a living legend in concert. What more can you ask for?”

As their summer ends, the band has plans of staying closer to home and playing a number of shows in the area.

“We’ve had the busiest summer yet,” Nelson said. “But after the fall gets underway, we’ll be home more and on the road a little bit less for the rest of the year.”

The band is scheduled to perform at this year’s Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival in Winfield, Kan. on September 14 through 21. This will be the fifth time the band has played the festival.

“We’ll be playing on Stage Five either Friday or Saturday and Stage 7 a few times throughout the week,” Nelson said. “We’ll also be sound checking the main stages for the sound crew on Wednesday evening.”

Festival goers should keep their eyes open as the band has a habit of playing in unusual places, utilizing their ‘guerrilla grass’ style of performance.

“That’s what Winfield is all about, playing wherever, and whenever you can,” Nelson said. “It’s great to jam with other musicians as well as not having to play Dewayn tunes all week.”

In October, the band is playing the ‘Fall Roots and Grass Festival’ in Black River Falls, Wisc.

“We met the promoters at a show in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.,” Nelson said. “They had us do the Campout Roots Festival this summer and wanted us back for the fall. Wisconsin reminds us all of Kansas, in terms how cool the people are and their ability to drink beer. Wisconsin loves their beer.”

The Dewayn Brothers also have a few shows coming up in their hometown of Emporia, most notably their annual Halloween show called ‘Hall-o-Wayn.’ The show marks the band’s eight-year anniversary of playing together.

“Our 8th annual Halloween party is at Beer:30 on Halloween night this year ,” Nelson said. “The theme is ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ so the attire is jungley. Halloween is our biggest night of the year and 2008 is no exception.”

The Dewayn Brothers are scheduled to play on Friday at 10 p.m. at Beer:30, 402 Merchant, with Snake Bite, a band featuring Eric Mardis, Calvin Bennett and Ryan Johnson.

- ESU Bulletin


Discography

The Dewayn Brothers Discography.....

The Dewayn Brothers 2003
"Whiskey-n-Roll'n Papers a Tornadic Tradition"
Recorded @ Studio IV in Wichita, KS
All songs Dewayn. All art: Joshua Finley

The Dewayn Brothers 2003
"Family Farwell"
Recorded @ the Aqua Room, Emporia, KS
Mastered @ Facet Sound, Joplin, MO.
20 live songs some traditionals, covers & originals
Album art: Joshua Finley

The Dewayn Brothers 2004
"Frontyard Junkyard"
Recorded @ Facet Sound, Joplin, MO.
mixed & mastered @ Facet Sound
15 originals and one traditional
Album art: Joshua Finley

The DeWayn Brothers 2005
"Critter Creole"
Recorded,Produced, and Mastered by
Mike West at The Ninth Ward Pickin Parlor
New Orleans, LA
15 original songs 1 traditional, 2 covers
Album art: Joshua Finley

The Dewayn Brothers 2007
"Farmer"
Recorded,Produced, and Mastered by
Mike West at The Ninth Ward Pickin Parlor
Lawrence, KS
17 original songs, 1 cover
Album Art: Joshua Finley

Photos

Bio

Introducin' The DeWayn Brothers!


We're a fast-paced insurgent bluegrass band that draws influences from old-timey bluegrassers, country,modern punk, heavy metal, blues, and good ol' rock and roll. Simply put, we're not your grandpa's bluegrass, but you can bet even he will be tappin' his feet and singin' along.

Our shows are high in energy from start to finish as we tackle topics ranging from the comedic to the unruly. From bar-room brawls and drugs, to murder and mayhem, we draw inspiration from our time on the road and from the people we meet. The DeWayn Brothers are all songwriters, and we've all got stories to tell.

Logging in over 230 dates in '07, DeWayn is quickly headed to the forefront of the insurgent bluegrass scene. With a hot new record released March 30, 2007 DeWayn is back on the bus and headed your way.

Jamie Lee Briggeman (Lead Vocalist)
With a raw, edgy voice that has been compared to the '60s legend Janis Joplin, our Jamie Lee belts out soulful songs of lost loves and pistol wieldin' bad guys. Possibly the best female vocalist in the Midwest, and a native of Wichita, Jamie formed her own band, "Eivy," in 2001, before meeting Garrett Briggeman three years later. At the time, Garrett was in a band called "Loco Macheen," and Jamie started singing with them on occasion. She learned of their side project, The DeWayn Brothers, and it was then that she fell in love with bluegrass. Her rock and roll background definitely finds an outlet within the DeWayn style of music, and though she didn't have much experience with bluegrass before, she gave it a try and found her niche within the band. Not long after teaming up with The DeWayn Brothers, Jamie quit her job at a local phone company and began to tour full time. On April 15, 2006, she and Garrett got married and are living their dream together on the road.

Garrett Briggeman (Banjo, Vocalist, Band Manager)
A native of Emporia, KS, Garrett's lifelong interest in music was influenced mainly by '70s rock and heavy metal. He's been playing the banjo for six years now, but first learned how to play on the guitar. It wasn't a difficult transition switching from guitar to banjo, he says, and he appreciates the speed and true, country twang of the traditional instrument. DeWayn bluegrass isn't your typical bluegrass, and though the banjo itself holds to tradition, in Garrett's hands, it can do some amazingly untraditional things.

Eric Nelson (Harmonica, Guitar, Vocalist)
Eric met Garrett and Josh at Emporia State while they were playing in their band "Loco Macheen." He and Peter joined the group, but Eric was the main influence behind The DeWayn Brothers and their bluegrass-oriented music. He started playing the harmonica at age twelve and heard his first bluegrass at a festival in Winfield. Eric believes in staying true to the traditional bluegrass soul, while expounding upon it with a mix of modern influences. He's been writing songs since age fourteen, drawing inspiration from Kirk Rundstrom, a local song writer and mentor to the band. Eric's songs tell stories about individuals and their experiences with drinking, drugs, sex, traveling, and life on the road.

Eric is recently married and believes he's come a long way from working in kitchens with Peter to pay for college and just to get by. His ultimate goal has always been to end up in music and has loved being a part of The DeWayn Brothers as they've grown from a local bar band to touring full time.

Peter Gaskamp (Upright Bass)
Peter's life has always been centered around music. He began by taking lessons on the piano, focusing on classical and jazz, then picked up the electric guitar at fifteen and got into bluegrass and rock. He studied jazz for four years, playing in the jazz band through high school and college. Peter appreciates all genres of music, but has found an incredible outlet in the music of The DeWayn Brothers. He started off as a fan of the band and eventually joined as the bass player. He has loved every moment of it. The energy and unconventional theme of DeWayn's mixed bluegrass music represent a genre that Peter has always wanted to be a part of.Â

Josh Finley (Mandolin, Vocalist)
Apart from being an incredible mandolin player, Josh is also the artist for the band. As his mother puts it, "Josh hasn't put a pencil down from the day he picked one up." His artistic tastes and styles say much of his preferences in music, which is anything unique and entirely original. If DeWayn's style of bluegrass was conventional, he says, he wouldn't do it. Josh's art is influenced by surrealist Salvador Dali, and innovative cartoonist Robert Crumb. Likewise, his lyrics and music are never without a hint of humor. Josh writes songs about truck drivers, gunfighters, and whiskey.

During a performance, he likes to get the audience laughing and is in his element on stage. He was a self-sustained artist and musician even through high school, and being entirely