It all started in the small town of Lyle, MN (pop. 500) with a skid loader and a fence post, when Six Mile Grove frontman Brandon Sampson was 7 years old. He injured his hand when helping his dad on the family farm. The physician recommended guitar playing for rehabilitation, and a few weeks later, Sampson came home from the music store with a new guitar. His younger brother Brian threw a fit, and was appeased with a shiny drum set. And so the seeds of Six Mile Grove were planted.
The brothers spent years pounding away on their instruments in the kitchen of their great grandmother’s old house, as well as singing in church with their mom, an organist and devoted music lover. Soon Brian’s friend Barry, from across the woods, wanted to join the noise, and so his years of piano lessons began paying off. The boys realized they would need a bass player, put an ad in the paper, and dug up Dezi Wallace from the “big city” of Austin, MN, who arrived courtesy of his mom, as he did not yet have a driver’s license.
Fast forward 15 years, and Six Mile Grove has a lot to be proud of. They have weathered the ever changing music scene as a primarily self-managed, self-produced, and self-recorded band. Their music has evolved accordingly, as an organic, honest voice that has not been tinkered with or tainted by the lure of record labels or flashy music producers. You’re sure to find influences of Minnesota music’s founding fathers; from Bob Dylan to the Jayhawks, Six Mile Grove honors it’s roots, but has also managed to forge it’s own sound and space on a stage without compromise. They harken most to the genre of Americana, which recognizes the value of songwriting and musicianship over radio charts and record sales, and reflects that in artists as diverse as Emmy Lou Harris and Lyle Lovett. In addition, their friendship, touring and recording with legendary Johnny Cash guitarist Bob Wootton, has lended even more distinctly to their “good all-American boy” sound and style.
Six Mile Grove is releasing it’s sixth album this Spring 2012, titled “Secret Life in a Quiet Town.” In this album, Sampson muses on the responsibilities of providing for a family, keeping love alive, and fighting for what’s right in the world. These themes resonate with all the members of the band, as guys with day jobs, wives and kids. You’ll hear the whines and growls in Nelson’s piano and lead guitar licks; the take-it-easy pace of Wallace’s bass, and the simple to furious tempos in Brian Sampson’s drums.
As Wootton states, “There’s nothing fancy about them and they don’t try to be something they’re not. And that’s what I like about them.”