You Me Everybody at Kiwigrass

You Me Everybody band

You Me Everybody (New Zealand)

You, Me, Everybody is a celebration of allowing others their moment to shine, the virtuosity of the individual and the camaraderie of coming together in a musical moment.  Taking their inspiration from a range of musical styles, YME start at bluegrass, weaving jazz, country and blues to create a dynamic sound that celebrates the best of Americana.

You, Me, Everybody is a band to look and listen for. You might know the  members:

Laurence Frangos-Rhodes

Laurence not only plays but builds beautiful guitars and his songwriting crosses boundaries of effortless but mature in the same breath.

Sam Frangos-Rhodes

Sam oozes musicality; he’ll pick up a mandolin, fiddle or double bass in a nonchalant manner but his talent quietly shatters the illusion of youth.

Nat Torkington

Nat Torkington is the resident banjo player for the Pipi Pickers. He is constantly pushing his own and his banjo’s boundaries while also encouraging other musicians to explore and challenge the bluegrass form.

Kim Bonnington

Kim Bonnington has a heart of pure country. She’s as comfortable at the centre of stage as she is as a backing vocalist and is known for her work as one half of Kim and Dusty but also for providing harmonies for a range of NZ acts.

James Geluk

James Geluk is a graduate of the NZ School of Music and most recently won a Tui for the Best NZ folk album for his work with the Frank Burkitt Band.  A bass player who brings his jazz education to bluegrass, an audience member once declared James’ fingers to be like spiders as they travelled their way around his bass.

Looking good and playing even better

Hot Diggity Bluegrass Band (New Zealand)

When it come to band photos the blokey bands try, but Hot Diggity are way more photogenic. Could it be that they smile and laugh and generally give the air of real live fun?

Hot Diggity is the only all female bluegrass band in New Zealand, but that is not why you should go see them at Kiwigrass. You should listen to them because they are one of the best bluegrass bands in New Zealand and as the photos imply, their shows are lots warm-hearted fun.

They play original songs by Heather Carrigan (mandolin, guitar and vocals) and Deborah Mackenzie (guitar and vocals) along with plenty of bluegrass favourites. If you were not told who wrote these songs you would probably go home and Google them to see where they came from because they totally sound the part.

Kiwigrass identity Jenine Abarbanel supplies bass and vocals, with Sue Drake on banjo and vocals and Krissy Jackson fiddle and vocals, combining to make a powerful five piece with a lively sound, hot chops, and tight harmonies.

Never get bored

The Pipipickers

The Pipi Pickers (New Zealand)

“The best newgrass band in New Zealand … They always have an interesting and high quality show – doing songs no one else in the bluegrass world does. Never get bored at a Pipi Pickers show.” –
Mike Kear, Music from Foggy Hollow  

The Pipis Pickers, know affectionately as the Pipis,  don’t take prisoners, they get out there with contemporary and traditional hard-driving bluegrass that puts a smile on everyone’s face and infuses even the most dreadful murder ballads with a sense of joy and energy.

The Pipis bring a love of the genre and a desire to share that love with as many people as possible. Out front is Jenine Abarbanel on bass and vocals while husband Nat Torkington is a standout New Zealand 5-string Scruggs-style banjo player, who is ably supported by his father Barry on guitar, and Garry Bigwood on mandolin.

The Pipis have become favourites at New Zealand and Australian music festivals through their vibrant performances, open and inclusive jam sessions, and slow jam workshops. You’ll also recognise  Jenine Abarbanel, Nat Torkington, and Barry Torkington as the folks we need to thank for starting the Kiwigrass festival.

Pipis are a delicious edible shellfish gathered when the tide is out in around Whangateau and Leigh, the Pipi Pickers’ home town.

Up and up with the Downunderdogs

The Downunderdogs perform a three-part harmony and instrumental blend of bluegrass, old-timey, country, and swing, mixed with originals penned by guitar players Jack MacKenzie and Peter Dyer. Supplying the heartbeat, extra cheery smile, and third vocal part, is Cathy Dyer on bass.

Like one of those old radio show taglines they are likely to chorus that they’re not happy until we’re happy, and it is hard to imagine any other outcome when you hear them perform.

As it happens, they are genuine, made-in-America imports.

MacKenzie hails from Southern California where he perfected his evocative, flowing, cross-picking style of guitar playing, influenced by legends such as Doc Watson and Tony Rice. In the 1970s he managed and performed at the famous McCabe’s music store on Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica before moving to New Zealand in the early 1980s.

Peter Dyer’s roots are in Little Dixie, Missouri where his dad’s Virginian and Kentuckian ancestors date back to the early 19th century.  Dyer is a guitarist and an accomplished songwriter with titles such as Go Ahead and Cry, and Immigrants’ Song, one of several that come with his distinctive high-mountain yodel.

Michigan gave rise to Cathy Dyer’s accent, where she grew up learning classical violin, while on the side taking in that funky Motown groove. Peter and Cathy Dyer moved to New Zealand in 2004 and a few years later teamed up with MacKenzie to form the Downunderdogs.