Interview: Jacob Groopman of Front Country


There has been a sort of bluegrass and folk theme this summer in regard to music. As my sessions have grown, the musicians who have come under my interest have fascinated me beyond count. To add onto that enjoyment, I reached out to another band that I have become a fan of, Front Country. These guys made up of Adam Roszkiewicz, Jacob Groopman, Jordan Klein, Leif Karlstrom, Melody Walker and Zach Sharpe have been all over my iTunes library. Luckily, Jacob was kind enough to share their story on the progress of their amazing success.

Their foray into the music world was simple and sweet. “All of us have been playing all sorts of music in various bands for a long time. Front Country is giving us the opportunity to play the music we want to play the way we want to play it. We are all really excited to be playing in this band together and creating music that’s exciting and interesting to us.”

Jacob delved into the work that meant the most to them. “I guess you mean recordings? Our new album “Sake of the Sound” is definitely the best thing we’ve put out into the world. We’re very proud of the record and think it really represents the band up to this point. Also, the video we did for the song Sake of the Sound with The Bluegrass Situation last summer at Telluride was awesome.” Watch and see awesome how it is!

To tie into their best work, venues have been plentiful. However, a few stand out. “Playing at the Telluride festival was a big milestone for us. So many of our [heroes] have been on that stage and getting to play our music at that festival was incredible. I would love to see this band play at the Fillmore in San Francisco (where we live). That room has so much history.” I asked Jacob to talk a bit about his most difficult show. “Oh man, let me think. Well, there was one gig fairly recently where the sound was really bad and sadly it was a gig we were really excited about. I’m not going to name the venue but we had really high expectations going in and it ended up being one of the most frustrating performance experiences we’ve ever had due to the incredibly bad sound … in front of a big crowd of people who were there to see us. We just smiled our way through it, but man, I was so tired after!” Way to hang in there, that is how professionals do it.

As always, I remain curious about musician’s opinions on the modern music scene. “I’m personally very excited about the music world today. We’re living in a VERY interesting time for music and for musicians. There are so many amazing bands out there and so much incredible new music being made. I’d venture to say there is more creativity happening these days in the music world than ever before. Technology is playing a big part in that for better or worse. Better being the ability to access all this music more easily and get your music out there as an artist. Worse being that the revenue streams for artists are becoming much harder to access now that recorded music has been completely and totally devalued.”

My favorite songs of Front Country are Gospel Train and The Way It Is.  Jacob shared a bit more about their musical progress. “… These days we’re moving in a bit more of an Americana direction and away from straight Bluegrass (Gospel Train is a good example of that). However, we’ll always continue to make the music we want to make and not change it for any sort of commercial or economic reason. We’ve been adding some percussion recently as well and there’s been talk of bringing in some looping. Personally, I’ve been interested in producing record for a while and learning more about recording music. However playing live is something I will always love to do.”

To follow up, I asked Jacob if there were any influences that helped shape his musical taste. “None at all. Just kidding, so many! Too many to name but just the other night I got to sit and watch Mary Stuart completely destroy the headlining set at this little festival in Wyoming we played. It’s always inspiring to see someone who’s not only an amazing singer and instrumentalist but also a top-notch entertainer. I always learn something from watching a show that is so well put together and exciting.”

“[We are currently] driving through Kansas. It’s very flat but kind of a nice change from the last few weeks driving around the mountains of Colorado. It’s much easier to sleep in the van and work on the computer without getting carsick. At the end of this tour we are spending three days recording an EP of cover songs. I can’t tell you what’s going to be on this EP but I will say we’re really excited about it!” Front Country are one of the bands that you grow to love with every song. I suggest you try and see them live and look out for their new EP. C’mon, you always need good music!


Jam On.