“You don’t have to be a man to be a Gentlemen” says Lucas Biespiel of his Lucas Biespiel and his Dangerous Gentlemen. This talented group is composed of two men and two women.
At three years old Lucas’ mom took him to the Oregon Symphony. The music moved him so much by the age of five he had picked up the violin. Playing classical music until his high school years, he found the joy in playing blues and folk music and writing his own music.
Berkley School of Music in Boston was his next stop in the learning process. That brought him to playing not only fiddle, but guitar and keyboard. Being immersed in music, he found it easy to find players to put his music to the test. If you needed a bass player there was one down the hall in the other practice room. Whatever you needed to add a sound to your music it was easily found. He stayed at Berkley for a couple of years, then decided to return to the northwest. Now making his living playing music he is connected to nine different bands, playing with each project when he has the time.
Lucas Biespiel and his Dangerous Gentlemen have been together in this configuration for about three months. However, it sounds like they have been playing music together for years. Guitar is his instrument of choice for this band. He plays a very old “Harmony” which has the exact sound he was looking for his band.
Not only was Lucas’s mother important to his developing musical abilities by exposing him to music at an early age but, his father is a poet. There is something to be said about heredity when songwriting comes easily to a person.
Lily, the fiddle player, came to the northwest after meeting Lucas at Berkley. Studying classical violin from the age of fourteen, she started playing with her father who is a guitar player. Playing music with her Dad as a kid in Florida brought her to playing and loving the bluegrass sound. Deciding studying music at Berkley was the direction she wanted to go, off she went to Boston. She received her degree and moved out to the Northwest at Lucas’s invitation. When she plays her solos the sound goes from delicate flavor to the haunting sound that only come from the player’s feelings being expressed through their music.
Zach Steiner met Lucas at an open mic at Good Foot in Portland, Or. He picked up the bass guitar at age 12. Songwriting became another passion. Raised in Milwaukee, Wis. he moved to Oregon about 2 years ago. Listening to Zach play, jazz influences can be heard throughout a song. Accompanying the guitar he lays back and plays a simple percussive beat, but when given the nod he lets loose with a solo that can blow your mind.
Singing backup to Lucas’s powerful vocal is Blake Austin. She is a singer/songwriter/percussionist who has recently moved here from Pennsylvania. Traveling quite extensively, she decided on the Northwest for a home away from home. Coming from a musical family, most of her life has been music. She says she has to have a day job now, but her passion is music and it will always be her first love. Portland’s music community is strong and supportive according to Blake, which makes it easy to meet good musicians to work on projects together.
It was a pleasure listening to this band of young, but seasoned musicians. I can’t wait to see them again. they will be back at the Growler Underground in September.