Barbarossa Brothers • Six Well-Deserved Awards

Best Concert/Album or Project – Best Live Event of the Year (Blues on the Beach) – Best CD Release (Holy Water) – Best Male Blues Vocalist (Drew Pentkowski) – Best Blues Songwriters – Best Blues Band

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, , Review Music Awards,   From Issue 861   By: Matt deHeus

03rd May, 2018     0

It’s been said “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

For Barbarossa Brothers, the hardest working band from Mid-Michigan, this axiom would appear applicable to their present state of affairs.

The band has a hard-earned reputation for consummate musicianship and energetic live performances, honed over countless gigs over the last five years across Michigan and into the Midwest.  It’s a pace that wears many down and, in fact, 2018 started with the band’s future in doubt, as bassist and founding member Ryan Fitzgerald stepped away from the touring unit to concentrate on other playing opportunities closer to home. 

Fast forward to April 22 and the tone has changed as the band and members Drew Pentowski and Loren Kranz accepted six trophies at the 2018 Review Music Awards in total, including Best CD, Best Blues Band, Best Songwriter, Best Guitarist, Best “Concert, Album or Project,” and Best Live Event, for their annual music festival “Blues On The Beach.”  Whatever is in that Holy Water is working.

2018 has seen Kranz and Pentowski double down on the Barbarossa Brothers brand, embracing both their flexibility as musicians and their standing within the regional musical community.  The pair now are offering up a variety of configurations, from a rootsy duo, to a rock trio with Will Jackson subbing on bass on most nights, to a “super group” version of the band, in which Kranz switches to keyboards when they meld the Straight Eights and guests, like trumpeter Jacob Wisenbach, into the mix.

Given the tight deadline for this issue we weren’t able to interview the band.  Loren is on his way to the New Orleans Jazz Fest with his fiancé, with a plan of coming back as Mr. Loren Kranz and Drew is just Drew, so this summary will have to do for now. 

If you’d like to congratulate them in person, you know where to find them – on stage, making music at some of the best rooms in the State.  Just as it should be.


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