HANCOCK - In 2008, the EverGreen Grass Band began playing music in Eau Claire, Wis. In the years since, the band has extended their gigs throughout Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan and beyond. While they may be known as a bluegrass band, they describe themselves as non-traditional.
"There are a lot more elements of modern music. The music we play is a mix of bluegrass and rock and roll," said Matt Jagow, who plays the banjo and provides vocals. "I think that's what sets us apart."
While the band originally started out with members Jagow, Tim Litscher (guitar, vocals), Caleb Horne (mandolin, vocals), Mike Turner (fiddle), Dan Turner (bass, vocals) and Steve Bateman, they now only use the talents of Jagow, Litscher, Turner and Adam Seland on mandolin.
Photo courtesy EverGreen Grass Band
Members of the EverGreen Grass Band enjoy some time outside.
Friday the EverGreen Grass Band will be playing at The Orpheum Theater, which Jagow said the band has played before this past April.
"I love it," Jagow said. "It's a really cool atmosphere. People come out and support live music."
In 2010, the EverGreen Grass Band released their first album, "For Sheriff." A lot of songs on the album were written and composed in either 2007 or 2008 and some of which were part of another band, Ultimate Frisbee Orchestra, which Jagow was a part of.
"All of it was a collaborative effort with the band" Jagow said.
Since it was their first album and the technology was readily available to allow them to do so, they decided to just record their album themselves.
Over the course of three to four months, the band laid down tracks in Jagow's basement. The mix was then mastered by a producer in Eau Claire, Wis.
Jagow said that although the album may come off as a bit dated, it's a good reflection of where the band was at the time and the songs off it are still played at shows.
"A lot of those songs are great," Jagow said.
With their next album, the EverGreen Grass Band had a bit more trouble getting it off the ground. They recorded the album twice but still had no album to show for it.
In June of 2011, they recorded their second album, but their producer wasn't happy with the work and wanted them to re-record it.
"But at the time, (a band member) got arrested for back child support, which we didn't know he had a child," Jagow said.
They fired the arrested band member and were going to scrap the project, but they got a new member and trained him in and went back into the studio and re-recorded the album in Nov. of 2012. When the band's tour manager/sound guy temporarily went on the road with another band in California, his van was broken into and an external hard drive was stolen, which happened to contain the files of the songs recorded.
"We've got enough original material for probably two albums," Jagow said. "We're hoping to get back in the studio. We're really frustrated with that issue right now. We need to get it out."
Jagow said their first album was an accurate reflection of what they were doing at the time, which is a typical studio album. But Jagow feels their song-writing has progressed quite a bit.
"There's a lot more complicated musical ideas, whether it's tempo or style changes in the middle of the song," he said. "Normally in traditional bluegrass they stick to three of four chords per song. We've also matured and had more life experiences. It's more introspective ideas on life and relationships."
Orpheum Theater owner Mike Shupe said he wanted to bring them back because the audience really enjoyed them last time and he thinks they're great musicians.
"The musicianship is just fantastic," Shupe said.
The EverGreen Grass Band will perform Friday night at The Orpheum Theater.