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Touring America: Swedish bluegrass band to play Music Barn

Special Photo
 The Swedish bluegrass band G2, from left to right, Erik Igelström, Jens Koch, Christoffer Olsson, Jimmy Sunnebrandt and Tobias Strömberg, will perform Saturday at Everett Brothers Music Barn in Suwanee. 

Special Photo The Swedish bluegrass band G2, from left to right, Erik Igelström, Jens Koch, Christoffer Olsson, Jimmy Sunnebrandt and Tobias Strömberg, will perform Saturday at Everett Brothers Music Barn in Suwanee. 

Bluegrass bands aren’t too common in Sweden, native Jens Koch said, but enthusiasm for the musical genre is growing thanks to an American film.

“(Bluegrass) is getting bigger because of the movie ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ That seemed to bring out the interest for the music,” Koch said.

IF YOU GO

• What: G2 in concert

• When: 8 p.m. Saturday

• Where: Everett Brothers Music Barn in Suwanee

• Cost: By donation, $15 suggested

• For more information: Visit www.everettsmusicbarn.com or www.g2bluegrassband.com

The film follows a trio of escaped convicts after a large sum of money who happen to form a bluegrass band and produce the hit single “Man of Constant Sorrow.”

But long before the release of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Koch and the other members of the Swedish band G2 were making bluegrass music.

The band’s name is derived from the words “generation two” as four of the five members are second generation bluegrass musicians. Koch picked up the banjo at age 12 after listening to his uncle play.

“I was hooked on the music,” he remembered. Bass player Jimmy Sunnebrandt, whose father played in a bluegrass band, picked up the fiddle at age 6, and lead vocalist Christoffer Olsson’s dad is a well-known country guitar player in Sweden. Tobias Strömberg, who plays the dobro, grew up listening to his father pick a banjo.

The band’s roots now run deep. The members all have taken leave from their day jobs in Sweden — Koch is a salesman, Strömberg is a police officer and mandolin player Erik Igelström is an IT consultant — to continue to pursue their music career with a four-month tour here in the States, a more lengthy follow-up to a 2008 tour. The band is also looking for an American record label to release its sophomore album, “Untapped Routes.”

“It’s a big thing for us to do to just focus on music,” Koch said. “We have been really well-received here. People like us. They say we play like Americans and we could have grown up in North Carolina or Virginia. It sounds authentic to them.”

Temporarily based in Nashville, the band will make its way down to Georgia for a show Saturday at Everett Brothers Music Barn in Suwanee.

For the band, the tour is serving as an indication of what could follow.

“We see this tour as something that will guide us, what’s the next step?” Koch said. “We have to do this in order to be able to continue.

We will see what happens. We want to see where the album goes and how things feel. We just want to play, play, play as much as possible.”