Foghorn String Band’s sound hearkens back to the 1950s, when the traditional sounds of rural America were on the minds of young musicians as they adapted old-time, bluegrass, and other folk music to the modern age. Though the Portland, Oregon group’s arrangements are often reminiscent of early bluegrass, their powerful approach remains rooted in the old-time sound. Devoted to the interpretation and performance of American stringband music, their style encompasses early country music, the fiddle tunes of the Southern Appalachians and the Midwest, as well as the stringband sounds of central Virginia.
At the heart of Foghorn Stringband’s sound is the unison melody of fiddler Stephen “Sammy” Lind and mandolinist Caleb Klauder, while banjo player P.T. Grover, Jr., guitarist Kevin Sandri and bassist Brian Bagdonas complete the lineup, providing steady rhythms and harmonies, vocal and instrumental. In the old time tradition, they play seated, gathered around one microphone, and do not use monitors. Together their music has an easy and natural honesty that comes from this stripped-down approach to performance, giving a down-to-earth, front porch feel.
The band’s two recordings, 2002’s “Rattlesnake Tidal Wave” and 2004’s “Reap What You Sow,” were both recorded with one stereo microphone, without the use of overdubs or multi-tracking methods. The group was also featured on a track from renowned fiddler Dirk Powell’s (of Cold Mountain fame) latest album, “Time Again.”
Despite their extensive traveling schedule, Foghorn still plays every Sunday night at a corner table of Portland’s Moon and Sixpence pub, and they continue to host a free monthly square dance in town. Initially gaining a reputation in the Pacific Northwest in this role, they have thrilled dancers and concert audiences at festivals throughout the country.