SINCE 2001, Andru Bemis has wandered the ends, edges and in-betweens of North America more times than he can count - by passenger train, foot, thumb, bicycle, bus, subway, ski and occasional aeroplane. Wearing a three-piece suit and a derby hat, he carries his beat-up instruments on his back: banjo, guitar, sometimes a fiddle or banjo-ukulele.... Call him a "Folk" musician if you will. Bemis plays music for folks, simple as that. His unmistakable voice, lightning-fast banjo and expressive finger-picked guitar styles, quirky humor, engaging stage presence and exquisitely crafted tunes of travel, love and longing have earned Bemis a dedicated following throughout Mexico, Canada, the U.S. and beyond.
The songs of Andru Bemis are spiritually descended from an era when music was made and played to express one’s deepest emotions while entertaining the neighbors. Bemis is a “traditionalist with a fresh approach and a modern troubadour with deep respect for the roots of his craft. He is a gifted vocalist and instrumentalist. His music speaks to our present condition in language of a gentler past” (Wepecket Island Records). The Birmingham (Alabama) Weekly calls Bemis a “modern-folk, Midwestern miracle of music …. with a voice that is pretty and ravaged, sounding as though 50 Appalachian winters have run him ragged.”
Songs from Bemis' three self-produced albums (Plays Past His Bedtime, Singer, Rail to Reel) are played regularly on radio stations throughout the country and have been featured in a number of independent films. Rail to Reel - recorded for Wepecket Island Records - was called the "Best Folk Album of 2006" by KVDS-FM (Davis, CA), both for its unique instrumentation and for bringing new life to a collection of lesser known traditional songs learned and adapted by Bemis in his travels. Andru can be heard on recordings with Rachel Ries, Jason Webley and members of the Steel Wheels, and has shared shows with Charlie Louvin, Amanda Palmer, Sarah Lee Guthrie, Tony Furtado, Over the Rhine, Sam Shepard and many others.
In 2007, Andru took a four-year hiatus from touring to start Foundry Hall, which has since become a regionally-renowned performance venue and community space in his hometown of South Haven, Michigan. He learned to tune pianos (there are three at Foundry Hall), and now tours with a tuning kit in his pack.
Currently, Andru Bemis can often be found recording and sharing shows with fellow Michigan songwriter, pianist and multi-instrumentalist, Elisabeth Pixley-Fink The duo is touring the Midwest and East Coast this fall by bus and train, performing almost nightly in cities and towns along the way.