what is Slopgrass?

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What is slopgrass?

Every Sloppy Joe performance draws on a deep well of original songs.  This material is frequently recombined with jug-band instrumentation  all while band-members swap the guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, and bass around the stage.  One observer claimed to see the upright bass change players three times in one song.   

In this era when many bands perform out of a  weak-eyed allegiance to pop-culture�s  formula for �success� and a soul-less mimicry of music  that�s already  �been there and done that�  this originality of sound and subject-matter is the refreshing difference that sets Slopgrass apart from any other stage-style.  

Sloppy Joe has performed regularly in the tall pines of the north country as well as  the mountains and  cypress swamps of the south all the while maintaining their unique slopgrass sound.  Although they are no strangers to these big stages, Sloppy Joe has thrilled audiences from the rough roadhouses of America�s backwoods to old-time rendezvous gatherings and community celebrations on Main street  USA. 

            Asking any other band to play slopgrass might get a,  

�You can�t get there from here!" response.

Remember, "If it ain�t Sloppy Joe it ain�t  Slopgrass�!


GAVIN  (Vocals, banjo, guitar, mandolin)

Many of the original songs performed by Sloppy Joe are Gavin�s creation often delivered in his rich baritone voice.  Since the beginnings of  Sloppy Joe his definitive slopgrass banjo sound has evolved into a style somewhere between 3-finger-pick-axe and clawhammer.  With his roots set deep in the rural woodlands of the upper mid-west, Gavin spent many of his formative years traveling and working odd jobs.  From roofer, falconer, migrant harvester, desert ranger, farmhand to deckhand on a  Bering Sea long-liner,  this lifelong exposure to the talk and experiences of  �work�n folk� shows itself in  the  lyrics and subject matter of his songs. 

JEFF    (Vocals, upright bass, fiddle, banjo, guitar, jug, mandolin)

Jeff is the undisputed Grandpappy of Slopgrass.  His never-ending journey into the middle of music itself has led him to jaw-dropping performances on all the instruments listed above.  The driving rhythm of  his� slap bass� has kept the dance floors full and he has been rated one of the best bassists of the mid-west.  His hillbilly fiddle adds a warm southern flair that makes you want to �kick off yer shoes� (no telling what you�ll take off when he picks a banjo! ).  Jeff has also written many of the songs considered cornerstones in the slopgrass circle.   Inspired by bluegrass, heavy metal, and country music since adolescence, Jeff has been creating and playing music in various arrangements,  transcontinentally.


STEF (Vocals, guitar, upright bass, fiddle, banjo, musical saw )

Since the beginnings of Sloppy Joe Stef Lee has evolved into  �one of the best female alternative country singers in the Midwest. Equally talented at lead and harmony vocals, her singing is unfettered, genuine, soulful and homegrown. " An accomplished painter, sculptor, cake artist,  wheat weaver, and graphic designer (including all of the Sloppy Joe artistry) Stef has applied her artistic discipline for detail to her musicianship.  Starting from scratch in 1998, she excelled on bass, guitar, and now, fiddle in stunningly short time.  Her confidence and adaptability on her instruments elevates every performance and enhances the  subtleties  of all  the slopgrass arrangements.


JIMERS  (Washtub and upright basses, jawharp)

Jimers has been with Sloppy Joe ever since first performing with them at the 18th annual Minnesota Jug-band Competition, (which they won!)  His homemade, wash-tub bass is a sight to behold and gives the band their authentic booming jug-band sound.  A promoter of local,grass-roots music for years, Jimers vision for spreading music has led him to playing many of the newest Sloppy Joe arrangements on the upright bass.  His enthusiasm for music and sub-sonic presence on wash-tub is another defining aspect of slopgrass that�s bound to make folks smile.