The Urban Hillbilly Quartet Bio:
americana ~ rock ~ whatever
“These concrete jungle hayseeds from the wind-whipped plains of St. Paul are fervent eclectics, liable to wander into funk, Arabic, or Irish music at the drop of a hi-hat. But their true allegiance is to bands like the Flying Burrito Brothers and their descendents, who like to mash together country, bluegrass, and rock n’ roll.”
Rick Mason. October 2003. City Pages. (Mpls, MN)
It started as a jam session in 1995 in a now burnt-out St. Paul hole-in-the-wall bar. Over 20 years later, the Urban Hillbilly Quartet has grown into an award-winning Twin Cities-based ensemble that delivers an eclectic mix of musical styles, blending electric guitar, piano, accordion, bass and drums. On stage, the Hillbillies perform mainly original material--most of which can be found on their nine albums. Their most recent recording South of Dark was released in 2018.
Their music has been influenced by: Midwest powerhouses The Jayhawks and Uncle Tupelo; UK’s The Waterboys; Canada’s Bruce Cockburn; and folk/jazz star David Grisman. UHQ has been compared to R.E.M., The Grateful Dead, and 16 Horsepower.
The core of the band is Erik Brandt (guitar, accordion, piano, lead vocals), Jeremy Szopinski (electric guitar), Dave Strahan (electric guitar), Mike Schultz (bass) and Jim Orvis (drums) who have been performing together in the UHQ all over the United States and overseas.
1997: Living in The City (Fundamental/Hymn 13)
1998: St. Paul Town (Fundamental/Hymn 16)
1999: Beautiful Lazy (Fundamental/Hymn 19/TrueTunes Records)
2000: Lanky But Macho (Independent)
2001: Hot and Now (Bert Records)
2002: (Erik Brandt & UHQ) Amelia’s Boot (Fundamental 1 A.D.)
2003: The A-List (Fundamental 2 A.D.)
2008: Bring in the Sails (House of Mercy Recordings MR021)
2018: South of Dark (House of Mercy Recordings MR045)