BURNT TOAST & JAM
Timothy M. Balke
rockin' box with spurs
Dobro, acoustic guitar
The story of Burnt Toast & Jam began more than 30 years ago as a group of friends gathered to play music at campfires, in garages and living rooms, on the banks of the Red River and among the tall pines of Northeast Wisconsin. Improvisational jam sessions inspired the creation of “Dewgrass”, a genre of music coined by guitar player Tim Balke's daughter Maggie Rayne. As our jam sessions evolved, so did the band.
We are a group of people that gather together in an array of numbers these days. A Key Three will get you a Tuesday. A Core Four is that and more. A Five Alive and you might find Wednesday. It is a pleasure to gather and a grace to play. Walking down an old familiar path or discovering a new one, it is the music, it is the muse, it is such good stuff for the soul. And then there's the times we come to your town and do it with you - talk about all that and more!
Dewgrass is the sound of band members Kurby Hoffman (banjo/vocals), Tim Balke (guitar/vocals), Pat Rades (guitar/dobro/vocals), Sarah Ludeman (rockin' box with spurs/vocals) and Tod Pubanz (bass/vocals). Each band member provides their own individual influences that create an atmosphere of spontaneous composition on stage. And sometimes we just hang on with both hands... or is it let go?
In 1995 we released our first CD, the self-titled, "Burnt Toast and Jam." The CD is rich in musical variety and demonstrates the band's lyrical talent that attracted the imagination of a large, loyal following of fans - thank you one and all.
Our second CD "Dewgrass" was released in 1999 and was us in our element - Dave's barn with an endless cooler of Old Style, meat on the grill, and Ted's studio on bales. We recorded the core of the tracks over the course of two weeks. Dewgrass was born - alive and spirited with a donkey to boot.
2005 saw the emergence of our third CD "Lost in the Woods." It was a long process but it was a satisfying process. Upstairs at Mongo's with Tim O'Connell and a fully stocked bar... it was a pleasure.
The thing we always like most about the studio is the ability to have our musical friends join us. Thank you to them all - the more the merrier and merry it was.
Some things have changed over the years. Folks have come and gone, it's PBR in the cooler now, we've shrunk in numbers and become wooden rather than electric but we miss the big rhythm sections and the electric power and... maybe someday again? But Dewgrass keeps keeping on and we wouldn't have it any other way.
Hope to see you soon. Peace.
Along with a multitude of original material, BT&J has covered these artists over the years: John Hartford, Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, Loudon Wainwright III, Doc Watson, New Grass Revival, John Prine, Tim O'Brien, Hot Rize, Jimmy Buffett, the Fiction Brothers, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Jimmy Cliff, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Cowboy, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, the Cox Family, Jerry Garcia Band, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Jonathan Edwards, Trixie Smith, Old & In The Way, Bruce Cockburn, Dan Fogelberg, John Gorka, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Laurie Lewis, Salamander Crossing, Blue Rodeo, Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Lyle Lovett, Steven Fromholz, Dave Habeck, Townes Van Zandt, Artie Traum, Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks, Johnny Nash, John Stewart, Nanci Griffith, Phish, Nickel Creek, Willis Alan Ramsey, Rolling Stones, Josh Graves, Johnny Cash, Jon Randall, Willie Nelson, Piper Road Spring Band, Jack Johnson, Sam Bush, Jimmy Martin, Billy Joe Shaver, Waylon Jennings, Old Crow Medicine Show, Yonder Mountain String Band ...