Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys
Like the apple of your eye, Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys (GGB) are just what the doctor ordered!
GGB have fashioned a style that leader Gunnar Nyblad describes as, “Country music with a Michigan root.
In other words, GGB’s country rocks! With a young beat and a driving force, the honest storytelling grabs your attention while the music makes you smile. The energy of a live Grizzly Boys show explodes into the audience like a dose of adrenalin.
Gunnar, who still farms the family apple and fruit orchards he’s been working all his life, is the conductor and lyrical leader of this band of Michiganders who came together during stages of his young life. While attending Michigan State University for an agricultural degree, Gunnar introduced his childhood friend, bass player Rob Mason (Kent City, MI) to his college buddies, lead guitarist Shane Grehan (Alpena, MI); guitarist/keyboardist Chris Newberg (Rockford, MI); and drummer Joe Connolly (Rochester Hills, MI).
Gunnar and Rob had sung together and been in a Blink 182-styled band when they were youngsters. But deep in his heart, Gunnar knew that he had, indeed, been country his whole life and he put together the band that could convey the sound fans around Michigan wanted to hear.
The group debut was opening for Justin Moore in 2009 to a sold out crowd at The Intersection in Grand Rapids. The Intersection continued to book GGB, now playing around the state, for Nashville acts until GGB reached headline status. At the same time, they played WBCT’s Birthday Bash and WYCD’s Detroit Hoedown.
By 2013, GGB played the inaugural Live Nation Faster Horses festival in Brooklyn, MI, and by 2015 were on the main stage. They also were playing major festivals around the country in Florida, Delaware, Minnesota, Nevada and the Deadwood Jam in South Dakota.
GGB’s release of the popular anthem “Standard American” on Average Joes Mud Digger 5 brought national awareness for the band, which had opened shows for the label’s Colt Ford, as well as Florida Georgia Line, Kid Rock, Brantley Gilbert and many others. SiriusXM’s The Highway started playing the song in June of 2014, along with local radio stations. It proved to be a hit, selling over 32,000 downloads in the US and Canada.
Both the lyric and official video proved to be quite popular on YouTube, something the band had been known for. On April Fool Day, 2013, GGB put out a video that appeared as if they had performed “Could Be Me” in three trucks that travelled in front of the Google video street car. The hilarious performance topped 500,000 views almost immediately as was covered in Reddit.com and the Huffington Post. In 2015, the band also released high-quality videos for a new song, “Pedal To The Floor”, and a remake of their own “Country Boy Tan Lines.”
Back in 2010, Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys self-released their 12-song debut independent album Homegrown and followed it in 2011 with a 5-song EP Country My Whole Life. In 2013, the Grizzly Boys put out the North Country (EP) (produced by Ken Coomer).
With a wide range of musical influences from classic country to Detroit rock to 90s punk, Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys are one-of-a-kind in a genre of music that seems to be becoming one-in-the-same.
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.
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.
The northernmost Grizzly, 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.
Rockford, MI native Chris “Critter” Newberg is the Grizzly Boys’ secret weapon playing any instrument put in front of him. You can normally find him on electric/slide guitar or keys. His wide interest in all types of music has brought a wide range from twang-bangin' country to southern rock to blues.
Known as J-Conn to the band, Connolly controls live shows with his Detroit City roots. He gives the Grizzly Boys huge drums and is 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.