Wednesday, 1 April 2015

BOOK: High Lonesome Below Sea Level (release date May 14, 2015)

Center Front (singers): Doyle Lawson, Pieter Groenveld,
Del McCoury, Red Rector, Theo Lissenberg

Faces and Stories of Bluegrass Music in the Netherlands
authors: Loes van Schaijk and Marieke Odekerken

“Reading Loes’s articles and seeing Marieke’s images capturing rare intimate moments is like being a fly on the wall of the Dutch bluegrass and roots music scene. Most of these certainly bring to mind Bill Monroe, the half-Dutch bluegrass founder, Kentucky mandolin player and high tenor singer who spawned the entire genre, whose mother’s Americanized last name Vandiver is familiar in the Netherlands as Van der Veere, meaning from the small island city of Veere in the province of Zeeland. Aware and proud of bluegrass’ international appeal and its influence on other musical forms, Bill would surely have treasured this book and remembered many friends he met during his tours of the Netherlands.”  
          - from the foreword to High Lonesome Below Sea Level by Sandy Rothman

Cultural scholar Loes van Schaijk and photographer Marieke Odekerken are two young female Dutch debutants who are about to release a unique book revolving around the niche culture of bluegrass music in the Netherlands. Over a time period of six months they traveled to all corners of the country, and across the borders with Belgium and Germany, to visit all kinds of people who have been captivated by bluegrass music’s characteristics: the combination of acoustic string instruments, the dazzling tempo and hard driving rhythms, the virtuoso solo breaks and improvisation, the catchy vocal harmonies and the unique “high lonesome” sound of the lead vocals.

Marieke photographed and Loes spoke to musicians, bookers and luthiers; amateurs and professionals; pioneers and rookies; wallflowers, hillbillies, and hardrockers; traditionalists, purists and people who are always looking for crossovers with other genres. Except for their common love of bluegrass music, the only thing these people have in common is the opinion they don’t need to have anything in common. The book is a report of human individuality in fifty-six photos and as many interviews: nearly a hundred colorful character in black and white.

People who are familiar with bluegrass musicians hailing from the Netherlands might recognize the Blue Grass Boogiemen and Joost van Es. Influential artists who have passed on, like Theo Lissenberg, and many friends and sources of inspiration from Europe, the United States or even Japan are referred to in the interviews. But also people whose name might not ring a bell with most readers right away are portrayed by Marieke and Loes in such a sincere and natural manner that it will feel like you’ve known them all your life.

A book about music is not complete without the possibility to listen to the music discussed. Thanks to the Layar technology, readers can scan each portrait with an app on their smartphone to be redirected to a webpage with music linked to the artist in question.

The book will be officially released on May 14th, 2015 at the Gulpener Bluegrass Festival in Utrecht, Netherlands where the first copy will be presented to living legend and “Master of Bluegrass” Doyle Lawson. 

The book will subsequently be for sale at bluegrass festivals in the Netherlands in 2015 and through the webshop


Social media:      
Telephone:                   +31 (0) 6 14 36 21 34 (Loes van Schaijk)
Date of release:            14 May 2015
Language:                    English
Cover / Pages:              Hardcover / 136 pages
Category:                     Photography, music journalism, human interest
ISBN:                           978-90-9028918-2
Publisher:                     Kunst en Denkwerk (self-published)
Text:                             Loes van Schaijk
Photography:                Marieke Odekerken
Design:                        Au Revoir
Print:                           Veenman +
Edition: 1000 copies     
Distribution:  Worldwide via webshop