THERE ARE ONLY THREE BANDS THAT CAN TAME A MOUNTAIN LION JUST BY PLAYING. GANGSTAGRASS IS ONE OF THEM. GANGSTAGRASS IS ALSO THE OTHER TWO.
“There are a lot more people out there with Jay-Z and Johnny Cash on their iPod playlists than you think.” says Rench, mastermind behind the genre breaking sensation Gangstagrass. He should know. He’s spent the last couple years traveling the country, performing with a groundbreaking band that gives them the best of both.
Rench produced honky-tonk hip-hop recordings on his Rench Audio imprint for the last decade, while making beats for local NYC rappers and hosting country music nights in popular NYC venues. In 2007, Rench had a musical itch that needed to be scratched – he was listening to the 1970s recordings of Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys and couldn’t help imagining what classic bluegrass would sound like with rap vocals and beats. The result was a genre-demolishing blitz called Rench Presents: Gangstagrass. He put it up for free download and people took notice. Hundreds of thousands of downloads followed creating an intense underground buzz.
When FX Network came to Rench looking for the Gangstagrass sound for the theme song to their new series Justified, he had bluegrass players lay down an original track with rapper T.O.N.E-z, the younger brother of early hip-hop legends Special K and T-LaRoc. The result was “Long Hard Times To Come,” the song that opens every episode of the series, now in its final season. “Long Hard Times To Come” was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2010, contending for best theme song after critical praise and massive fan response!
The Balkun Brothers
Balkun Brothers is an American rock n’ roll power duo hailing from Hartford, CT. Originally formed in 2010 by blood brothers Nick and Steve Balkun, the duo has been described as, “Spectacular torch-bearers for rockin’ American blues. The band brings a raw, soulful and energetic personality that is a fresh sound for blues and rock ’n roll.”
Mixing heavy rock and funk grooves with traditional styles of delta and electric blues, the Balkun Brothers are crafting a unique sound and style all their own. Their distinct sound draws from a vast range of influences including The Black Keys, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Black Sabbath, Johnny Winter, Primus, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muddy Waters, Motörhead and many more.
The band’s live shows and in-studio recordings seamlessly transition between rock, blues, funk, jam, punk, psychedelia and everything in-between. Known for their explosive live shows, Balkun Brothers are quickly evolving into one of the USA’s premier duo acts and they are gaining followers rapidly across the world with their gritty hard-rockin’ attitude.
After being voted ‘Best Blues Band in Connecticut’ at the Connecticut Music Awards for the last 4 years in a row (from 2013-2016), the band was most recently awarded ‘Best Rock Band in New England’ at the 2017 New England Music Awards.
Balkun Brothers have been featured alongside Johnny Winter, Joe Bonamassa, Gary Hoey, James Cotton, Gogol Bordello, Devon Allman, Melvin Seals and JGB, Eric Sardinas, Albert Castiglia,The Mike Dillon Band, Dopapod, Vapors of Morphine, Selwyn Birchwood and Chris Duarte. The duo has also been on major festival line-ups with The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Motley Crüe, Alice Cooper, Slayer, Iggy Pop, Gary Clark Jr. and Elvin Bishop.
Brothers, Nick and Steve, independently produced and released their debut album in 2015 entilted, ‘ReDrova’, which was well received and rose to #1 on the Roots Music Report Blues-Rock album charts and was #5 on the Roots Music Report overall Blues charts.
Balkun Brothers signed with European label Dixiefrog Records in 2015 and will be releasing their much anticipated second album, ‘Devil On TV’, with Dixiefrog in May of 2017.
In addition to touring extensively throughout the United States, The band has also completed 3 European tours since 2015, performing in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and France. They will return to Europe for their 4th tour in Germany, Holland and France in Fall of 2017.