Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys
As American as apple pie, Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys make country music by nature, not by design. Their songs travel straight from the northern pines and fruit orchards of Michigan to your radio speakers and local honky-tonks. The honest storytelling instantly grabs your attention while the music hits you in the gut like a double shot of whiskey. The energy of a live Grizzly Boys show explodes into the audience like an electrifying dose of adrenalin.
Gunnar Nybald, who still farms the family apple and plum orchards he’s been working all his life, writes the band’s songs from the seat of a tractor. While attending Michigan State University for an agricultural degree, Gunnar teamed up with hometown pal and bass player, Rob Mason (Kent City, MI); guitar slinger, Shane Grehan (Alpena, MI); guitarist/keyboardist, Chris Newberg (Rockford, MI); and drummer Joe Connolly (Rochester Hills, MI). That grisly group naturally became Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys.
The group played their first show opening for Justin Moore to a sold out crowd in Grand Rapids, MI. Since then they’ve quickly climbed to the status of being one of the region’s top live acts and one of the nation’s hottest new bands. In addition to playing nearly every large country music festival in Michigan, they’ve also shared the stage with the likes of Colt Ford, Brantley Gilbert, Lady Antebellum, Kip Moore, David Allen Coe, and countless others.
Staying true to their country roots, on July 23, 2010 Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys self-released their 12-song debut independent album. In 2011 they self-released a 5-song EP Country My Whole Life. In 2013, the Grizzly Boys self-released North Country (EP) (produced by Ken Coomer) featuring two re-recorded songs from their previous albums and their brand new song, “Could Be Me.” The song was debuted as part of an April Fools joke involving a spoof Google Street View music video. The video and song immediately went viral, garnering world-wide attention and media.
In May of 2014, Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys’ highly anticipated blue-collar anthem, “Standard American,” was released on Average Joes Entertainment’s Mud Digger 5 compilation. The song offers an honest snapshot into the lives of 4 hard working individuals who, although relatively uncelebrated by current pop-culture, are the true backbone of America. Every verse ends with the ironically endearing phrase, “Standard American sumbitch.” Standard American has proven to be an immediate success, hitting national airwaves in June of 2014 and going on to sell thousands of copies. The best is yet to come for Standard American and the Grizzly Boys are excited to watch the song climb even higher.
With a 60 year range of musical influences from classic country to Detroit rock to 90s punk, Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys continue to unapologetically defy the odds and challenge the norms of today’s country music. Their live shows are truly unexplainable with words. The diverse combination of the Grizzly Boys’ songs along with their mastery of stage dynamics make for an experience that will move any listener. The Grizzly Boys are one-of-a-kind in a genre of music that seems to be becoming one-in-the-same. Founded on strong songwriting, passionate live performances, and the perseverance of the American working class, Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys have taken, and will continue to take, the nation by storm.
From the village of Kent City, Gunnar is a songwriter whose talent spans the length of his family’s apple orchards. Since age 13, he has been writing songs from the tractor. Growing up on the farm has given Gunnar a unique understanding of hard work. That same hard work shines through his songs and style. Become this dude’s friend on Facebook, listen to raw demos of new songs on Myspace, and follow on Twitter.
Rob’s plays the bass guitar, sings, and looks sexy. Since the 8th grade Rob has been slappin that bass, and harmonizing Gunnar back on pitch. “He’s my right hand man” says Gunnar. Rob keeps a trained ear on the music while keeping Grizzly Girls on fire with heart melting harmonies featured in songs like Simply Beautiful Girl. You can find him on Facebook or on a river.
All the way from Michigan’s north country, the Alpena native harnesses blues roots taking country to a level that drives John Mayer groupies to drop the city slicker and jump in this country boy’s truck. Since the day Gunnar met this modern day shredder they have been great friends discovering country from two very different backgrounds. A little Shane mixed with songs like Sweet Tea, Guns, and Devil Woman seals him as a Grizzly Boy who's not afraid to push the limits of country guitar. Follow Shanes Tweets, and be his friend on Facebook.
Rockford, MI native Chris Newberg is the Grizzly Boys’ secret weapon playing any instrument we put in front of him. You can normally find him on the keys or electric/slide guitar, however. Having a wide interest in all types of music has helped him bring influences ranging from twang-bangin' country to southern rock to blues. "Critter" is king of the keys with truly original style and hair that shines with the light that comes from within. Can’t get enough? Facebook him or follow him on Twitter.
Known as J-Conn to the band, Connolly controls live shows with his Detroit City roots. Giving the Grizzly Boys huge drums on songs such as Old Microphone and Cowgirls Make Some Noise. He’s a perfect fit between travis barker and a tambourine. The punk based drummer has what it takes to turn any crowd into free-for-all mode! He’s on Facebook and Twitter. J-Con endorses SS Custom Drums. Check out his blog for Modern Drummer Here!