The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 24, 2014

Wise music from Naïve Americans

By Jeffrey Allen Federowicz
For The Daily Item

— DANVILLE -- Although they might be naïve, their music is very wise.

On Saturday night the insightful and harmonious music of the Naïve Americans will fill the Old Forge Brewing Company with tunes that are anything but gullible.

“Our music is very eclectic and influenced by bluegrass with an Americana feel,” said lead and rhythmic guitarist Bobby Kelchner. “We’re also influenced and play a lot of old-time songs you don’t hear that often.”

Noting that he should have been born 100 years earlier at a time when bluegrass came from a boxy radio on the kitchen table or sung by vagabonds hitching a ride on a southbound boxcar, Kelchner connects better to music of a different era when life was less hectic.

Based in and around Bloomsburg, Naïve Americans also features Matt Hallowell on bass, guitar and vocals, while Bob Randall takes on the dobra in addition to Dylan Whitehill’s smoking hot fiddle playing and spirited vocals.

“Whitehill is a phenomenal fiddle player. He learned how to play that well when he was in Nashville. His music along with the rest of the band all go together really well,” Kelchner said.

Formed a year ago, the Naïve Americans can often be heard around the Valley at such venues as Turkey Hill Brewing Company, Berwick Brewing, Marley’s Brewery and Grille and the Capital Restaurant in Bloomsburg.

“We tend to get a mixed crowd that has both younger and older people,” he said. “And we always put on a great show since we all love the music and enjoy bringing it to people who might not be all that familiar with old-time bluegrass.”

Although Kelchner and two of his other bandmates are in their early 20s, their interest in bluegrass and American has been with them for many years.

“When I was growing up my dad always had the radio on and would often be playing bluegrass or old-time music. That’s how I became interested in it,” said Kelchner, who works as an organic farmer.

“For the longest time my dad had a dusty guitar propped up in a corner. I started to play around with it about six years ago and have been at it ever since.“

Paired with excellent fiddling, a love of music, a bit of youthfulness and a toe tapping, knee-slapping style, the Naïve American’s music is not only distinct and rambunctious at times, it’s the musical equivalent of hearty comfort food.

It's music that’s comfortable, simple and soothing to the soul.