DePue Brothers Band -- For those not familiar with this musical iconic family from northwest Ohio (Bowling Green, to be exact) one is in for an ear-bending revelation. These four violinist brothers encompass a vivid blend of bluegrass, classical, and rock genres. Each brother is a classical virtuoso in his own right, and brings rich and diverse talents to their sound. As a family they have been making music together for over 25 years. They were named “Musical Family of America” in 1989 by presidential decree, were the subject of a nationally televised PBS documentary in 1993, and two brothers (Jason and Zachary) were featured in the film documentary Music From the Inside Out in 2005. Their first album as brothers, “Classical Grass”, sold out of its first printing.
Coming together with Tony Trischka, Mark Cosgrove, Don Liuzzi and a variety of bass players, the band began performing and recording in late 2004. Weapons of Grass Construction represents their foray into a more rock, blues, and progressive bluegrass direction.
Wallace DePue received his Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) degree in Violin Performance from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006. Wallace served as assistant principle of the Austin Lyric Opera Company 2000-2006; is presently assistant concertmaster of the Philly Pops; and most recently, toured as associate concertmaster of the John Williams’ “Star Wars” National Tour Concert Orchestra. Wallace is the band’s lead vocalist, and shows his vocal versatility by singing in three very distinctive styles in Weapons of Grass Construction.
Alex DePue is simply one of the leading improvisators on the violin in his generation. His prowess in bluegrass, country, rock and roll, classical, jazz, blues, is legendary. He has been a leading studio musician in Nashville, music director for the Chris Cagle Band, a state fiddling champion in Michigan, Texas, Alabama, and California, a regular top ten finalist in traditional fiddling contests (including Grandmasters Fiddling Championship in Nashville, and National Oldtime Fiddling Championship in Weizar Idaho), a regular touring and recording member (grammy nomination 2009) with the Steve Vai Band, and is now a part of the DePue/DeHoyos Duo, blending Mexican progressive flamenco with popular rock tunes. Their first release, “Underground Whispers”, came out in 2008.
Jason DePue is currently a member of the First Violin Section of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Formerly the Concertmaster of the New York String Seminar, he attended Encore School for Strings, and the Curtis Institute of Music. In furthering the art of violin playing, he has performed live recitals of the Paganini 24 Caprices, as well as the Sonatas and Partitas for Unaccompanied Violin by J.S. Bach. He is the founder of the Guarneri Quartet Room in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Principle violin teachers include William de Pasquale, David Cerone, Vasile Beluska, and Boris Brant.
Zachary DePue, formerly a first violinist with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and a graduate of the Curtis Institute, Zach is now the Concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and a founding member of the classically trained garage band/trio Time For Three.
Mark Cosgrove. Mark’s distinctive, creative flatpicking guitar sound is known and respected on both sides of the Atlantic, through both his own recordings and as a sideman and session player for Jerry Douglas and others. He has won the U.S. National Flatpicking Guitar Championship in Winfield, Kansas and also the Doc Watson Guitar Championship in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Aside from performing with the DePue Brothers Band, Mark tours with Italian guitarist Roberto Dalla Vecchia, with his own band, and as a solo artist. He is a sought after instructor as well, teaching at guitar camps around the country and abroad. Mark has released four recordings on the FGM label.
Don Liuzzi, drums and vocals, is the principal timpanist of The Philadelphia Orchestra. He teaches at the Curtis Institute, plays in Philorch Jazz sextet, POPG percussion group, and has a solo percussion/chamber music CD release on Equilibrium Records. He is the co-ordinating producer of the feature length documentary film Music From the Inside Out. He also conducts the Philadelphia All City High School Orchestra.
Special Guest, Tony Trischka. Perhaps the most influential banjo player in the roots music world, Tony is a Grammy nominated, critically acclaimed recording artist and performer. For almost 40 years, his stylings have inspired generations of bluegrass and acoustic musicians. Considered one of the banjo’s best practitioners, he is also one of its most respected and sought after instructors, having authored 16 books and 4 dvds. He is currently overseeing the Tony Trischka School of Banjo, a cutting edge, on-line, interactive, instructional website with a world-wide reach. His most recent releases, “Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular” and “Territory,” climbed the charts and prove, once again, that Tony is one of the most innovative banjo players on the planet. Tony appears courtesy of Rounder Records.
Who’s On Bass -- between Ranaan Meyer (Time For Three), Paul Kowert, (The Punch Brothers), Kevin McConnell (Latin Fiesta), Larry Cohen ( Skyline), Douglas Mappe (Rowan University Jazz Quartet), and Hal Robinson (Philorch Jazz and The Philadelphia Orchestra), and even Alex DePue, the bass somehow gets covered.
Rodney Whittenberg, guitarist, and producer of the album and group, is an emmy award winning television and film composer, founder of the company, Melodyvision, music and film professor, and arts education advocate. He has several film scores to his credit including Infested, Hard Coal;Last of the Bootleg Miners, and the soon to be released Cost of a Soul.
The Weapons of Grass Construction began as a few tunes recorded for a potential soundtrack for the documentary film, Music From the Inside Out. It has evolved into a new recording project for the DePue Brothers Band. With a direct nod to their bluegrass ties and their classical foundation, this recording is a building process, fusing elements of rock and blues in their songs.
Mexico, by Alex, was written on a remote beach in Mexico exploring the full force of the 4 brothers violin talents, complete with a famous classical music quotation – let’s say this track could be called “Paganini On the Beach”.
I Wanna Know What I Knew, by Rodney, is a hard hitting tune exploring the spiritual concept that our identities may predate the mortal scene. Wallace is singing lead here.
Flint Hill Special is Tony Trischka at his finger flying banjo best.
Evart Waltz is Alex’s homage to his home town in early adulthood (Evart, Michigan). Alex plays every instrument on the track.
Catfish Corners is Tony’s progressive composition whose melodies are based upon the telephone numbers of Don and Mark. For a while a possible title was Got Your Number, and then potentiallyThe Obama Special to be played at the inaugural send off from Philadelphia’s 30th Street train station. When that didn’t materialize, Tony settled on Catfish Corners. Larry Cohen, guest bassist, was essential in the tune’s evolution during the recording session. Tony makes his string writing debut with Catfish Corners – and the string writing is delicious.
Plow Train is Don’s foray into writing, and singing. It is inspired by the songwriting in the film Once, and deals with the deep desire to return home in the face of a blizzard. This could be an anthem /theme song for snowplow drivers, or anyone wanting to get home – metaphorically or literally.
Lonesome Texas Cowboy is the song most likely to surprise. It reveals Wallace’s incredible talents, and his past as a former Texas resident. Imagine a remote campsite in the mountains of West Texas….
Maiden’s Prayer is a symphony of bluegrass DePue violins in an old Texas swing tune.
Muddy Boggy Banjo Man, sung by Don, was heard in a few albums of Larry Groce (of “Mountain Stage” fame). In today’s economy, it seemed a fitting song to revisit. Alex and Wallace provide the backround vocals with Alex’s vocal harmony arrangement.
Fiddle Faddle is a Leroy Anderson pops orchestra favorite performed for many years by the DePue Brothers. Wallace DePue senior (dad) wrote the arrangement. The solo is played by Jason, the violin harmonies with Wallace, and the rhythm guitar is Alex. Mark provides the sweet guitar solo.
Dance of the Goblins is a violin virtuosic tour de force. Jason’s playing will mow you down here. Alex is on the accompanying guitars, inspired by some of their mother’s piano accompaniments when the boys were young. This recording is dedicated to one of Jason’s primary teachers and mentors, William Depasquale
Please Take Me Back by Larry Groce, is a country/folk/bluegrass ballad that makes you want to be a West Virginia native. “Is this heaven? – no its Iowa” (Field of Dreams), could be replaced with “It’s West Virginia.”
Don is on lead vocal with Alex providing the vocal harmonies he arranged.
Ice Cream Man is a 50’s rock tune revisited by Van Halen, and now resung by Wallace. Alex provided the fuzz box violin playing. Jason and Zach played the fiddle solos.
Orange Blossom Special is the finale which is vintage DePue Brothers – hold on.