This Sunday, Dec. 11, ArtRat Gallery will host the Grand Rapids debut of a musical family tradition when The Schrock Brothers’ Holiday Show comes to Americana Sundays, ArtRat’s monthly concert
Their fraternal moniker notwithstanding, The Schrock Brothers actually comprise two generations of West Michigan rock ‘n’ roots: brothers Andrew and Jason and their father, Mark, who’s been playing out since the 1960s.
Ahead of Sunday’s event, Mark filled us in about the history of the band and the holiday show.
How long have you all been playing together as a trio?
While we've always made music around the house since the boys were young, we didn't start playing out until about 2006, when Andrew was in college.
Did The Schrock Bros start as a household project when the kids were young?
We started making “Christmas Tapes” for friends and family when Andrew and Jasen were quite young — like four and 13, respectively. We used a multi-track recorder, Papa Schrock played most of the instruments, and we all sang. We did that for a number of years.
What's the history of your holiday shows?
We started doing an annual show around Christmas 2009 at our restaurant Salt of the Earth in Fennville. We have a lot of local friends and family, and it's continued since then. It's definitely a friends-and-family-Christmas-
And what can Americana Sundays attendees expect?
Hopefully that same vibe! We play originals and covers from our regular Americana/blues/roots set list, with a few renditions of holiday tunes thrown in. The three of us will be joined by our pal and
The Americana scene in West Michigan seems very lively and very supportive of its artists. What do you think makes this a special place for roots music?
It's a special place for sure! I've been playing in West Michigan since the late ‘60s, and that spirit was there then.
I think a lot of it has to do with our festival scene, where we actually get a chance to hang out, get to know each other, and stay in touch with what our peers are doing.
What do you like about performing in downtown Grand Rapids?
For me, it's home. I can remember as a kid back in the ‘60s when downtown was a really vibrant shopping center at the holidays: sort of a smaller version of Chicago or New York with big window displays etc. The boys and I actually played some of our first bar gigs together at local downtown clubs.
What other projects do you have in the works? Gigs, recordings, other collaborations?
We have a nice schedule shaping up for next summer, for our band with Mike and Peter Madcat Ruth. We're going to record a few things at LaLuna Studios in Kalamazoo in January with them as well.