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Saturday, 17 March 2007
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Known for a unique, progressive sound that combines elements of bluegrass and central Euro-flavored folk music with a rock-edged driving rhythm section, intricately layered instrumental arrangements and poetic lyrics in Czech, Owens says the current Druha Trava line-up is playing more traditional-sounding bluegrass than ever. “I told Robert, ‘It’s so great to me that you’re playing bluegrass,’ and he said, ‘Well, that’s my music. What else can I do?’” Andy laughs, appreciatively. “They’re playing more straight-ahead bluegrass, and some of Robert’s songs have been translated to English, but it’s kind of difficult. It would be like trying to sing English words to a Japanese folk song melody. It would be hard to make it work.”

Andy says the camaraderie he feels with this band, both musically and personally, is like family. “They’re my brothers, and it’s been that way since I met them 12 years ago at the IBMA convention,” he states emphatically. “It was a chance meeting, the first year they came to Owensboro (KY). I was always looking for a jam that didn’t have a mandolin player, and they were jamming in the back room in the Bluegrass Unlimited suite. I picked up a mandolin and started playing with them. Then we got to be friends, and I started to facilitate tours for them. They would come to my house and use my vehicles.”

In fact, Druha Trava toured across America for a period of seven years in one of Andy’s vans. “It just feels like home when I’m in the Czech Republic,” Owens notes. “It’s a brotherhood, based on a lot of time on the road. But you know, I have friends like that all over the world…. For example, I’ve spent so many late nights talking to Sab (Watanabe Inoue, in Japan) about bluegrass. I have a lot of friends who don’t speak English at all, and I don’t speak their language. Sometimes someone will translate for us, and sometimes we’ll just hang out. Music is the universal language, especially when you’re in some country where you can’t talk to each other, but you’re singing harmony together! It’s a strange thing.”

Last Updated ( Monday, 16 April 2007 )
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