Horseshoes & Hand Grenades talk roots, Wisconsin and good times


By Chase Myers, @chasemyers_DE

Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, a bluegrass band from Stevens Point, Wis., will be kicking off the 2015 Sunset Concert Series with a folky performance at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Shryock Auditorium.

The group consists of college buddies Adam Greuel on guitar, Collin Mettelka on fiddle and mandolin, Davey Lynch on harmonica and accordion, Samuel Odin on bass and Russell Pedersen on banjo and fiddle. 

In classic bluegrass fashion, all members pitch in on vocal harmonies.


The Daily Egyptian had the opportunity to speak with Pedersen about different aspects of the band’s roots and their plans for the summer. 

How did you guys start the band?

We were all attending the [University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point] here and it was one of those random, organic conglomerations of people. We all just kind of met through different circles of friends and folks. I met a few of the guys in the dorms, personally, and then met up with the other guys out at house parties and concerts in the area. Yeah, it was one of those things where you meet good people and you just lead to picking and word gets around that other folks are into such. We all kind of had the same view on what kind of music we wanted to play and what we wanted to do with it.

How did you guys come up with the band name? 

The name was one of those purely organic moments also where we just needed a band name. Eventually, someone offered us a bill and we were like “well, we need a name. We cant just be the guys from Point.” I guess Horseshoes & Hand Grenades was one that just kind of came out in a car ride somewhere. I don’t even remember who came up with it or what the circumstance was, but that was the one that got shot off to the needed billing situation. It stuck and we never changed it.

Has being from Wisconsin shaped your overall sound?

You could say that.  The song writing, I would say, is more influenced by Wisconsin. The music is just kind of an organic thing.  We don’t really work very hard at trying to figure that part out. We just kind of like to see what people want to do with the song initially. I would say the songwriting is definitely shaped by not only Stevens Point, where everyone came together and our interactions in that community specifically, but personally, my songwriting stemmed from the area where I grew up in northwestern Wisconsin and a lot of my songwriting came from my time spent there and the landscapes available. I would say, for the most part, if nothing else, the words and the songs were definitely influenced but the approach to the music and the songs is birthed from the general mentality of Wisconsin, or growing up in the Midwest at least.


As well as the landscapes, have you drawn inspiration from other artists? 

Each of the members came from very different musical backgrounds. As far as a single artist that everybody in the group has really adhered to for any given amount of time, it would be nebulas in saying that there is no specific group that every person in the band necessarily has been attached to for a long point in time. But, each member specifically has had influences with them for a while. It’s those different influences put together that kid of make Horseshoes what it is.

Do you feel the outdoors and good times with friends are good ideals to deliver to a fast-paced, technological world? 

Definitely. I think all of us are trying to make sure that point gets across, you know, that it is important. It’s something that’s hard to describe and a lot of people have been working on that kind of preservation of the outdoors and keeping people attached. There’s so much going on that it’s really hard sometimes to keep an eye on that and, for us, music is the way most of us still remain connected with it. It’s a way to preserve a memory of a good time out on the river with your buddies. If you were inspired at that moment out there to come up with a lyric or a bit of a song or melody or anything, you get to preserve that little bit of a moment. It painted a picture for you then and once you put it in a song, you can visit that moment at any time. I would say that is very important to us. It’s not even just the good times and the people and the outdoors. I would say that a lot of our music is just, for some of us, a time capsule of memories and times put together saved in song.