Jack of the Wood Performed with Kontras Quartet and Special Guest Steve Martin

International Bluegrass Music Festival, Wide Open Bluegrass.
September 28, 2013.

Steve Martin stopped by the Raleigh Convention Center after our performance of the Appalachian Concerto to play Jack of the Wood with us.

Many thanks to Daniel Schram of Indy Week for capturing this.


2013 IBMA World of Bluegrass Roundup

Here are a few highlights of our performances at the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina.

City Plaza Stage, Friday Evening, 6:15 pm.  Estimates put attendance at 3,500 for the open and free performance on Fayetteville Street, many of whom would listen to the Kruger Brothers for the very first time.

Raleigh Convention Center with the Kontras Quartet, Saturday September 28, 3:20 pm

“After performing their lauded Appalachian Concerto with the Kontras Quartet, The Kruger Brothers enjoyed a surprise visit from the evening’s headliner, Steve Martin. Sitting in to play a soaring instrumental number named after the Asheville watering hole, Martin added clawhammer banjo to Jack of the Wood.” – Dan Schram, Indy Week.

The Pour House, Saturday, 11:00 pm.  Michael Cleveland sat-in with us and set his instrument on fire, as usual.


New York Times interview with Jens Kruger and the Steve Martin Prize.

David Itzkoff of the New York Times spoke with Jens recently about growing up in Switzerland, discovering the banjo, and winning the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo. Here’s the interview.

Click to read the New York Times interview with Jens Kruger and the Steve Martin Prize.


Jens Kruger Wins 2013 Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo


North Wilkesboro, NC – Sept. 6, 2013

Jens Kruger has been named as the fourth recipient of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music today. Kruger is known for his innovative banjo composition and performance that integrates folk music with European classical music.  Kruger is the first North Carolina resident and first winner born outside the of United States.

Kruger is known for his inventive, hard to categorize musical style of composition and performance, which can be described as thoughtful and lyrical.  His virtuosic playing style ranges from the very complex, to the simple and profound. Jens Kruger and The Kruger Brothers have raised awareness about bluegrass music by writing and performing classical pieces that incorporate the instrumentation of banjo, guitar and bass. The Kruger Brothers consist of Jens Kruger (banjo, harmony vocals), Uwe Kruger (guitar, lead and harmony vocals) and Joel Landsberg (bass, harmony vocals).

Born in Switzerland, Kruger and his brother Uwe left home to become street musicians. As adults they were billed as the Kruger Brothers, adding the third “brother,” Joel Landsberg, from New York City. Their interest in the music of Doc Watson motivated them to relocate near where Doc lived, in North Wilkesboro, NC in 2003. They became friends of Doc, and had the honor to play music with him.

The Steve Martin Prize, created and endowed by Martin, includes a $50,000 honorarium and recognizes an individual or group for “outstanding accomplishments in the field of five-string banjo or bluegrass music”. Each year’s winner is selected by a committee of noted banjo players, including Martin, Pete Wernick, Béla Fleck, Alison Brown, J.D. Crowe and others.

Regarding the award, Kruger said, “Coming to this country as an immigrant and to be accepted so warmly is amazing, and quite humbling.”


Flatpicking Guitar Magazine back issue page.


Uwe is the cover story for the July/August 2013 issue of Flatpicking Guitar magazine. There’s a lovely feature article by Dan Miller, as well as a tab transcription of Uwe’s arrangement of “Streamlined Cannonball.” The CD that accompanies the print issue also includes an audio recording of the KBs playing that song.

If you don’t have a subscription to the magazine, you can buy a single copy, either in print or in digital download at the Flatpicking Guitar Magazine back issue page.


Remembering Doc Watson Review on the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association website.

DTM-025-kruger-brothers-remembering-doc-watsonRemembering Doc Watson is a labor of love and for musicians it is a master class in Doc’s music and style.”

Jacques DiCroce’s review is exactly the kind that anyone could wish for: reasoned, informed, and well-written.

Click the link below to read this review.

Remembering Doc Watson Review on the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association website.