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The Bumper Jacksons are hot and sweet, painting America’s story from the streets of New Orleans to the hollers of the Appalachian mountains, to their vibrant, beloved cities of Baltimore and Washington, DC. Unafraid to scrap together new sounds from forgotten 78’s, the Bumper Jacksons boldly and elegantly balance paying homage to the traditions while fashioning their own unique, DIY style. Honored as the region’s 2015 and 2016 “Artist of the Year” and “Best Folk Band” from 2013-2016 at the Washington Area Music Awards, the Bumper Jacksons are playfully creative with their originals and re-imagining roots music with both power and tenderness. Bursting at the seams with some of the richest threads of old America, Bumper Jacksons bring you into the center of a party where everyone’s invited and the dance floor never sleeps.
Jess Eliot Myhre
Clarinet. Vocals. Washboard. Songwriting.
A native Floridian, Jess Eliot grew up singing in church and swinging from banyan trees. After performing in hip hop and funk bands at Wesleyan University, she moved to New Orleans and became mesmerized by the big, uproarious glory of the old sounds of the street bands and second lines. She dusted off her lonely old clarinet, built herself her iconic frog washboard, and turned a 180 towards the traditional. She now performs all over east of the Mississippi, playing her original songs and traditional American Roots music in performance halls, swing dances, contradances and square dances, house concerts, and busking in your city’s streets. She’s a two-time winner of the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest in the jazz and vocal categories.
Guitar. Vocals. Tenor banjo. Songwriting.
A Maryland boy, Chris tramped off to the hills of western Pennsylvania to study the 3 B’s: books, beer and banjos. There he woodshedded with old hill cats in barns outside of abandoned steel and coal towns playing any instrument he could take a turn on. Hitting mountain trails, biking over rough terrain, rafting down rivers, all with a bottle of whiskey and a banjo on his back. Chris’s deep jazz pocket and graceful Kentucky-style banjo is only outmatched by the snarlyness of his beard. He was the one bold enough to believe that he and Jess could make music for a living and is solely responsible for all of the shenanigans that embody the Bumper Jacksons.
Together, Chris and Jess Eliot form the core of the Bumper Jacksons in 2012. Their initial meeting fueled a riotous impromptu jam on the lawn of a radical bike house in Washington, DC.… The music never quit since.
Bass. Harmony vocals.
Alex swears that it was beautiful sirens who lead him to the upright bass at the impressionable age of seventeen. With lots of practice under his belt and two degrees in music education from Eastman(MM) and James Madison University(BA) he has found a home laying down some groovy bass lines with the Bumper Jacksons. His first music love which lead him to the upright bass was jazz music, something he studied vigorously. Years later he found himself chasing every opportunity to play some happy thumping lines with bluegrass and old-time string bands. Alex is now an invaluable third leg of the Bumper Jacksons, tasked not only with bass-playing duties and helpng with arrangements, but also keeping Chris in line for over three years now.
Drums. Suitcase percussion.
It’s clear that a man who’s birth took place in a speeding car (headed to the hospital in Trenton, NJ) was meant for a life on the road and keeping people on their toes. What better way to do this than being the drummer and suitcase percussionist [in training] for the Bumper Jacksons? As the newest member of the group, he brings a wealth of diverse musical chops and expressions from his time in Baltimore-based funk/soul/hiphop groups. When Dan isn’t playing on stage with the BJ’s he can be found in Baltimore working on his afro-cuban folkloric suitcase percussion, organizing community events and concerts, or on his roof trying desperately to turn his thumb from brown to green.
Growing up in rural Northwest Illinois, Dave was learning guitar when he heard a pedal steel guitar being played for the first time at the local music store. He became completely obsessed with the sounds that the instrument could create, bought one, and he would sometimes lock himself in a room and practice for 8 hours a day during summer vacation and play along to a stack of albums of various genres. Since then, he’s played and recorded with hundreds of artists and musicians, adding unique sounds and textures to the music. Dave is not only a pedal steel monster, but has donned the very-important caps of “The Captain,” “The Rainman,” and “Ray-of-Sunshine Hadley” (helping drive the band van Olga on tour, giving us the weather report, and being resident cynicist) for three years now.
Trombone. Harmony vocals.
Brian Priebe had wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps as a trombone player ever since the first time he sneaked the instrument out of its case in the basement, assembled it and tried his first “blast”. (This was a stunt which nearly got him grounded). Brian has performed with an unusual variety of ensembles including symphony orchestras, rock and ska bands, chamber ensembles, traditional jazz bands and even Bavarian Oom-Pah bands. A favorite memory is performing on stage with the Moody Blues while secretly recording the concert on his cell phone. As an avocation, Brian learned to play the Swiss Alphorn. In 2007, (and again in 2010), he placed 2nd in the International Alphorn Festival.