Archived Story

Bluegrass for people who don’t like bluegrass

Published 5:15pm Friday, July 2, 2010

Niles Daily Star

Goshen, Ind. band Goldmine Pickers will perform at Riverfront Park in Niles Sunday at 7 p.m.
Goshen, Ind. band Goldmine Pickers will perform at Riverfront Park in Niles Sunday at 7 p.m.

At least that’s what Lukas Simpson, of the Goldmine Pickers, has learned.
“You have to develop a taste for it,” he said. “The first time you probably don’t like it but as you start to develop a taste, you eventually find that it’s really good.”
Simpson doesn’t like to label his band solely bluegrass, partly due to some of the negative connotations and mostly because that’s just the beginning of what the Goshen, Ind. band plays.
“It can be misleading using terms like bluegrass, folk or Americana, because people conjure up ideas about them,” he said. “But some people say we’re bluegrass for people who don’t like bluegrass.”
Simpson (guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, harmonica) and his bandmates Sean Hoffman (fiddle, vocals) and Brian Cook (upright bass, guitar) will bring their eclectic sound to the Riverfront Park amphitheater in Niles once again this Sunday at 7 p.m.
A big factor in the Goldmine Pickers’ wide ranging sounds is their diverse musical tastes.
“We grew up listening to heavy metal, rock and pop music, so we put all that stuff into our music,” he said. “We have one song where we put a Rage Against Machine tag into the song or something from Tom Petty or a Hank Williams-type country song.”
Three-part harmonies, solid picking and a full repertoire of music have given the band an opportunity to play in a variety of venues in the Midwest and has even taken them to a tour in Ireland.
A frequent stop during the Pickers’ tours, though, is always Niles due to their solid relationship with Summer Concert Series organizer Tom Majerek.
“We have a great relationship with Tom and the community,” Simpson said. “It’s one of our favorite places to play. We like playing outdoors on the amphitheater on the river.”
Simpson said fans can expect a few differences from past shows, most notably the absence of Jay Lapp, who started the band with Simpson back in 2003. Lapp recently got married and moved away from the area.
The band also has expanded its playlist with several new songs.
“Every time we come up with a new song, it is a highlight,” Simpson said. “To me song writing is such a mysterious, magical thing. Every time I write a song, I think I might not be able to that again.”
But the verses have been flowing lately for the bandmates, all of whom are song writers.
“It’s fun and exciting as a band for each of us to come up with stuff,” Simpson said “It goes in a lot of different directions. The sum is greater than the parts.”
For those planning to go to the concert on Sunday, they can expect a wild time.
Simpson is the first to admit the band, which got its name because each member likes to pick his nose, does not take itself seriously and just likes to have fun on stage.
“There won’t be fireworks there. We definitely want to see them though,” he said. “I’m not sure if I can blow something up on stage, but I will see about getting a potato gun.”

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