Accidental bluegrass: Fruition plays Carbondale
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE — When Kellen Asebroek moved from his native San Diego County to Oregon, he wasn’t looking to get into a folky, bluegrassy band. At the time of the relocation, in 2005, he had scant knowledge of acoustic roots music. What Asebroek, a teenager at the time, had was enough self-knowledge to recognize that music, any kind of music, was going to be essential to his well-being.
“The only thing I knew was, I wanted to be in the music industry,” he said.
Asebroek has made his way into the music realm. He is a member of Fruition, a fast-rising quintet that has graduated to the bigger theaters in their Portland hometown, and has started to break into the festival scene, with appearances at the Northwest String Summit and Colorado’s Yarmony Grass. On the day I spoke with Asebroek, he said he was “mostly recovered” from the previous night’s shenanigans, which included opening for the Infamous Stringdusters in front of a crowded house at the Emerson Cultural Center in Bozeman, Mont.
As to whether Asebroek’s place in the music business includes being part of a folky, bluegrassy band, Asebroek isn’t quite clear. Yes, Fruition features mandolin and upright bass, and the members take turns playing banjo; when it’s not his turn on banjo, Asebroek specializes in acoustic guitar. The band’s sound is built around coordinated harmonies, and the repertoire is filled with songs like “Mountain Annie” and “Devil on My Shoulder” that suggest rural America. By all appearances, Fruition seems to have a dress code that mandates bowler or cowboy hat, a shirt that would fit in at the Grand Ole Opry, ragged jeans and ragged hair.
But Asebroek vows that, when the band was formed, in 2008, none of its members was well-versed in bluegrass or folk. The first song Asebroek can recall playing with Mimi Naja and Jay Cobb Anderson, his current mates in Fruition, is “Satisfy My Soul,” a Bob Marley tune. Anderson, the lead guitarist, has a set-up that is not of the folk world: His acoustic guitar is outfitted with a pair of P90 pickups (“super rock ‘n’ roll,” according to Asebroek) and he plays through a Fender Twin (”a classic rock-type amp”). And in 2010, the band finally found the last piece of the combo in drummer Tyler Thompson.
“’Cause who doesn’t want to rock?” Asebroek said of adding a drummer to the group.
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