Ragged Union is a six-piece, hard-driving bluegrass band, performing original tunes and off-the-beaten-path standards, with a focus on the duet singing of husband-and-wife pair Geoff and Christina Union. Award-winning instrumental work, a powerful rhythmic drive, uptempo arrangements and edgy, outsider songwriting are the marks of their style. Influences include Red Allen, Danny Paisley, John Hartford, Danny Barnes, Alan Munde, Jesse McReynolds, and Vassar Clements, with a side of Texas and a healthy dose of the blues.
Geoff and Christina formed the band in the fall of 2013 after moving to Golden from Austin, Texas, and immediately began working the Front Range bluegrass scene, from Oskar Blues to Avogadro’s Number, Cervantes Other Side, Swallow Hill, and the Golden Clear Creek Concert Series. The band performed at several festivals including Bluegrass on the Arkansas (Salida) and the Kerrville Folk Festival (Kerrville, Texas)in 2014, and the 2015 calendar is filling up with events including the John Hartford Memorial Festival in Indiana, Ullr Festival (Golden), Midwinter Bluegrass Festival, High Mountain Hay Fever Festival in 2015. The “Ragged Union Bluegrass Trio” traveled to England in October 2014 and the full band has high hopes of making a return trip next year. Ragged Union’s debut cd, “Hard Row to Hoe”, is due out in the early Spring of 2015.
Geoff Union (guitar, vocal; Fayetteville, North Carolina) has been performing in bluegrass bands for almost 20 years - most notably with the nationally touring Two High String Band (2002-2009). THSB played major festivals in the US including Rocky Grass, Merle Fest, Spring Fest, concert series and clubs all across the country. In 2012, Union released a solo bluegrass CD of original tunes entitled, "Cold as Steel", which aired on over 70 radio stations in the US, and a few overseas. Union is a powerful flat pick guitarist and singer, and writes in an "outsider" lyric style, eschewing standard country themes of love and loss for darker material including moonshinery, obscure history (mostly related to moonshine) and desperate fiction.
Christina Union (lead and tenor vocal; Eagle River, Alaska) has been singing all her life and was a member of several local Colorado bands when she and Geoff met in 2008. Although she is a relative newcomer to bluegrass, she has a natural talent for harmony, a blues-flecked emotional delivery, and a burgeoning knack for songwriting.
Jordan Ramsey (mandolin, vocal; Knoxville Tennessee) is an accomplished and highly sought after mandolinist currently living in Boulder. He won the Rocky Grass mandolin competition in 2008, has appeared in the finals at Winfield twice. He artfully wields his prize Gibson Sam Bush Model in numerous bands in the state, including most recently with Dave Richey’s Ruined Nation Boys and Benny Galloway. He also made a guest appearance with David Grisman at the Boulder Theater in 2014. Jordan teaches mandolin as well, and compliments his McReynold’s influenced bluegrass style with a side passion for gypsy jazz and swing.
Chris C-Bob Elliot (banjo; Huffman, Texas) won his Rocky Grass banjo prize in 2007, and is well known for his work in the popular band Spring Creek Bluegrass, and more recently the Blue Canyon Boys. He has appeared on many national stages with those bands, and also teaches.
Pat “Fiddle” Hoeper (fiddle, Arlington, Virginia) moved to Colorado from Indiana in the fall of 2013 and has quickly become a popular and sought after fiddler in the local scene. Geoff and Pat performed at the 2013 John Hartford Memorial Festival at Bean Blossom, where Pat was featuring his “Stuttering Ducks” band. Pat joined Ragged Union in January 2014 and his Vassar Clements-inspired fiddling and energetic stage presence have made him a defining element of the band.
Andrew Bonnis (upright bass, Kent, Ohio) has been performing professionally from the age of 14. He is skilled at bowing as well as plucking and slap, and has been a highly sought-after bassist in the Colorado scene for several years.