The Swannanoa Grovemont Roadrunners, ca. 1964
(Left to Right) Donald ZEPP, banjo and guitar; Bob BROWN, mandolin, bass, and jug; and the late Svante MOSSBERG, guitar.
This trend-setting group featured a remarkable--if forgettable--blend of old-time, bluegrass and modern music, often occurring inadvertently within the same piece at random intervals.
Their music was carefully and unsuccessfully patterned after some of the best musicians of the era, notably the Greenbriar Boys, Neil Young, Peggy Lee, the New Lost City Ramblers, Doc Watson, and others whose records they could find at garage sales. The SGRR interpretations veritably defined a style: derivative.
The critics muttered:
"I suppose there are worse..." - First Presbyterian Church Bulletin
"As a bluegrass band, these guys fall a few feathers short of a duck." - Tom Brindley
"Who?" -- The Philadelphia Bulletin
"This is definitely...the best band I've heard," -- Roger Thurman
"...but they sure are loud.." - Donald's father
The Swannanoa Grovemont Roadrunners, 1997
(Left to Right) Bob, Svante, Donald. To paraphrase W.S. Gilbert: there are the remains of a fine group about us. It was the late Svante who suggested a name for our re-formed band: the "Swannanoa Grovemont Middle-Aged Fat Guys." *Sigh* Incidentally, Svante was never purple: The only picture he would send me was one of him on his boat, and I didn't feel like messing with his skin tones when I clumsily pasted his image into this contemporary photo of Bob and me.