“Synergy is the interaction of forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual parts.” – an apt description for The Barley Jacks.
The Barley Jacks sing original vocals and play jaw–dropping instrumentals in a spirit of excitement and fun. They are masters of the fiddle, guitar, bass and drum who meld their divergent backgrounds of blues and bluegrass, classical and Celtic, R & B and bebop to inspire each other and create something entirely new. Front–man and fiddler Brian Wicklund is joined by Mike Cramer–guitar, Jim Chenoweth–bass, and Joel Arpin–percussion. Their 2010 debut recording "Either Side of Night" and 2011 recording "The Lighthouse" has been met with great praise by reviewers. They're music was awarded an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota Arts Board in 2011.
Virtuosity, magic and a little danger combine to make every performance unique. The first thing an audience notices is how much fun the Barley Jacks have when they perform. These Minnesota–based veterans of years in the musical trenches enjoy making music together so much that they sometimes giggle like little kids completely lost in a moment of play.
Brian Wicklund does the front work, song writing and double duties on mandolin and fiddle for the Barley Jacks. He has been integral to the national acoustic music scene for decades. He has toured internationally with Stoney Lonesome, Judith Edelman, Kathy Kallick, Lorie Line, Chris Stuart, and Brother Mule. He is a busy studio musician, teacher and author of the best-selling, American Fiddle Method published by Mel Bay with over 100,000 copies sold. He teaches fiddle and mandolin at camps throughout the US, UK, Canada and Sweden. He hosts his summer, week-long Fiddle Pal Camps in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Massachusetts and has begun a new, online fiddle instructional school. His own website is fiddlepal.com.
Mike Cramer (Minneapolis, MN) wows audiences with his amazing tasteful versatility. He received his degree in music from the University of Northern Iowa and has taught privately for many years along with serving as a faculty member at Grinnell College, Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, and The National Guitar Workshop. He’s been featured in Flatpick Guitar Magazine, contributed lessons to Premier Guitar Magazine and produces the Mandolin Play-Along Series for Hal Leonard. website
Jim Chenoweth is a longtime veteran of the Minnesota music scene. Best known as a jazz bassist he is comfortable playing rock n roll, blues, funk, folk... the list goes on. He has performed with Randy Sabien and his Fiddlehead Band as well as many local jazz luminaries. He is a composer and arranger for his own group as well as other artists. He's also the guy pros call when they want their pianos tuned to perfection.
Joel Arpin adds his virtuosic percussion on cajon and hand drums. As a freelance musician Joel performs many styles of music including: jazz, pop, classical, modern and world music styles such as African, Afro-Cuban, and Brazilian. Joel regularly works as an accompanist for a variety of dance classes and is on staff at the Theater and Dance department of the University of Minnesota. Joel holds a degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Wisconsin and teaches private lessons, group classes and workshops in a variety of schools and corporations.