Sausage Grinder, Los Angeles’ all-natural hillbilly and country blues band, combines the traditional sounds of fiddle and banjo breakdowns with the low-down sound of country blues, topped off with a touch of ragtime and hillbilly jazz. The versatile acoustic ensemble features fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, jug, washboard, and a few odds and ends.
Sausage Grinder was formed in 2008 out of a desire to play this classic music “right” without being slavish imitators or academic lecturers. As old-time and blues fiddler Adam Tanner puts it, Sausage Grinder’s “reverence to the old 78s hasn’t restrained them from exploring even grimier nooks and crannies … unrestrained and impolite the Grinder’s performances are visceral and joyous — a blast from the past with a nod to the immediacy of the future!” Or as LA Weekly says succinctly, the band’s performance feels “reminiscent of an old Mickey Mouse cartoon.”
You can hear their music on our album Delicious Moments, which features features fiddle tunes, hot mandolin ragtime and songs from Memphis Minnie, the Lone Star Cowboys, Little Brother Montgomery, Sleepy John Estes, Banjo Ikey Robinson and more. Delicious Moments is available at CD Baby.
Sausage Grinder has headlined at the Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest, the Goleta Old-Time Fiddlers’ Convention, and the Los Angeles Old Time Social, and has performed throughout Southern California with artists including Frank Fairfield and Triple Chicken Foot. In 2006, David and Chris performed on Cold as the Clay, a solo album of traditional and original material from Bad Religion frontman Greg Graffin; Greg makes a special guest appearance on Delicious Moments, singing harmony on “Deep Ellum Blues.”
About the band
Chris Berry, a native of Long Beach, California, has been playing country blues and old-time country music on guitar and banjo for over 20 years. He learned many tunes from the late legendary Illinois/Southern California fiddler Mel Durham and plays banjo on his CD “Skillet Fork.” He has taught and played at many Los Angeles-area festivals including the California Traditional Music Society’s Summer Solstice and Equinox Festivals, the Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest, and the Goleta Old-Time Fiddlers Convention. When Chris isn’t busy playing old music or watching ’60s British television and ’70s American game shows, he works as an editor and web designer.
David Bragger was an itinerant street magician and collector of folktales in India following his degree in Religious Studies. Now, his wizardry can be seen and heard as the fiddler and mandoliner of Sausage Grinder, with occasional prestidigitation on the 5 and 6 string. After years of visiting with old-time musicians including Mel Durham, Tom Sauber, Charlie Acuff, Clyde Davenport, Benton Flippen, and Lester McCumbers, David is the go-to-guru in Los Angeles for learning old-time fiddle, banjo and mandolin. His students have won awards in fiddle/banjo contests from coast to coast, including the Old Fiddlers Convention in Galax, Virginia and the Goleta Old-Time Fiddlers Convention in California. He has recorded and toured with Greg Graffin of Bad Religion and occasionally directs short art films and music videos.
David Bragger’s debut CD–Big Fancy
“David Bragger’s soul snakes itself out of his core, like a cobra being charmed from a basket, and this soul does indeed find it’s way to that fiddle bow…” –Ernie Hill, No Depression!
“…a fascinating listening experience.” –Bob Buckingham, Fiddler Magazine
“It seems like many folks have known for years what an amazing player David is (we both remember the first time we heard his fiddling, and our jaws dropped). But what we have here folks is a monster musician – diverse, knowledgeable, and with his own unique voice. For us, this – his debut album – is required listening for any old time music fans.” —Pharis and Jason Romero
“…Every cut has something captivating about it….The best Washington’s March I’ve ever heard!” –Dave Bing
“David Bragger’s new CD is yummy. I wanted to play on every cut.” –Joe Newberry
Susan Platz was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She studied classical music for 20-odd years, earning a degree in music from Lawrence University in 2005. Soon after migrating to California in 2008, old-time music stole her heart and she hasn’t looked back! She studies with David Bragger and frequently collaborates with various local musicians in square and contra dance bands. When she is not sawing away on fiddle, Susan works as a massage therapist and enjoys exploring Los Angeles.
Timothy Riley was raised on an apple farm in Oak Glen, Ca and was surrounded by music from an early age playing guitar and harmonica in the family band for their square dances at the orchard. Along the way he picked up the jug, saw, bones, fife, and other sonic bric a brac. Taking up the bagpipes in a local competition band he eventually journeyed for a time between Scotland and Ireland to study the instrument further while busking on the streets to support the habit. He’s worked variously as a film extra, bartender, and museum living historian. Tim now works his own farm with his wife back on the home ground and also moonlights as a chimney sweep.
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