THE YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS perform original songs and fiddle tunes inspired by the classic hillbilly, western-swing, and old-time fiddling traditions—and they also mine this same repertoire for forgotten gems that deserve to be heard again. Their second album, Ocooch Mountain Home (2015), has received high praise from the likes of fROOTS, Bluegrass Today, and Country Music People UK.
The duo performs frequent concerts at a variety of venues and events and are known for engaging their audiences and putting them at ease with their light-hearted stage presence. They also regularly perform as a dance band for square and contra dances. Though their dance repertoire includes tunes from across the continent, they often favor traditional fiddle music that represents their roots in the rural Upper Midwest.
Based in Soldiers Grove, WI, the Sapsuckers are Nikki Grossman (fiddle, guitar, vocals) and Joe Hart (guitar, vocals). Both are also highly skilled professional kazooists. Hart and Grossman are seasoned musicians and performers who have worked, together and separately, in numerous other old-time, folk, rock, and country bands, and other musical projects. They are regular performers on the Kickapoo Barn Dance, a live radio musical variety show on their local community radio station, WDRT (www.wdrt.org).
Formed in 2013, the Sapsuckers released their first CD, Speaking Of Music...Here Are the Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers! Their second album, Ocooch Mountain Home, was recorded and engineered by Tom Herbers, released in March 2015, and has been since widely praised by critics. fROOTS calls out the duo’s “enchanting harmonies” and Grossman’s “note-perfect old-time fiddle playing,” while Bluegrass Today calls the group “impressive.”