The Blue Water Ramblers, est. 2002, are song smiths who take turns harmonizing with each other to create a colorful tapestry of sounds. Banjo-Jim Foerch on acoustic and electric banjo writes and sings of the sailors, lumberjacks, driving and unrequited C&W love. Bear Berends creates and croons songs on his big Martin guitar that celebrate Michigan, the greatest generation and babies. Tom DeVries' songs include sparkling instrumentals on his mandolins and songs for you. California Dan Lynn is our blue grass specialist, laying down the beat with his bass and laying down some powerful lead vocals in addition to singing the high, lonesome harmony line. The Deacon, Marten Van Eyk is in charge of all things fiddle. In a Blue Water Rambler performance you will hear our songs expressing our unique take on life present and past presented in a mix styles from country to reggae to bluegras to a bit of R&B to olde time.
Banjo-Jim Foerch picked up his first banjo in 1965 and hasn't put it down since. As a founding member of the regional touring band “Beats Settin' Home,” Banjo-Jim was busy pickin' and singin' all over the Midwest for 20 years between 1982 and 2002. He says writing and singing songs of Michigan, America and our lives to all the people we meet on tour is the best thing he's ever done. “Everyone I ever met here in Michigan or around the Midwest is proud of our home state and our country. Our songs express that pride the best way we know how- by getting us all singing together!”
R. H. “Bear” Berends holds down the rhythm with his big, black six and twelve string guitars. As with so many baby boomers he started strumming guitar and singing folk songs in high school in the sixties. He joined Banjo-Jim and “Beats Settin' Home” at the Wheatland Music Festival in Remus, Michigan in 1993 and “Da Bearster” hasn't stopped playing and touring since. "I wanted to sing with Banjo-Jim, so I learned all his songs and taught him mine and here we are," he explains. Whether delivering the lead line of a love song or harmonizing with his solid baritone, Bear sculpts the Blue Water Ramblers’ sound.
Tom DeVries has been entertaining all over the Midwest since his early twenties. Between 1979 and 2001 Tom was the front man for the popular Michigan bluegrass band, The Hill People. When asked why he loves picking with the Ramblers these days, he responded, "There's nothing I'd rather do than write a song, work it up with the boys and deliver it to an enthusiastic audience. And that's what we Ramblers are all about!"
A few years ago at Jam on the Grand a tall fellow with a bass fiddle joined in and told us he'd read about the Jam in the paper and knew we needed a bass player. California Dan Lynn wondered if the Ramblers might have a couple gigs for him, so Bear and Banjo-Jim offered him dozens! In addition to laying down the foundation of the music, Dan writes and leads crowd-pleasing bluegrass songs and harmonizes with a pure tenor voice on the rest.
Dan moved here from California where he played with the “Crooked Jades.” During that time Dan and the Jades evolved from a blue grass band to a free style old time show band. Dan's roots in bluegrass and traditional music give the Ramblers a driving honesty which will keep your toes tapping and your fingers snapping.