Mike Balitsaris: vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica
Brian Dusinberre: vocals, acoustic guitar
John Mondick: electric guitars
Hobart Rowland: drums
The stuff you feel … like an old pair of boots that fits like a second skin.
The '29ers have that stuff, funneling it into a unique sound with an alt-country edge and Americana twang inspired by such singer/songwriter icons as John Prine, Guy Clark, Tom Waits and Waylon Jennings. When it comes to the music they love and the music they create, the '29ers are passionate about impeccably crafted songs grounded in compelling narrative truths.
The '29ers’ story began a decade ago, when Mike “Seve” Balitsaris opened a custom leather shop in Wayne, Pa., a vibrant town not far from Philadelphia. “It was a throwback bohemian enclave—like a well-curated pawn shop,” says Balitsaris. “There was a ’40s-era Harley police motorcycle in the main aisle and a 1958 Airstream out front.”
On many evenings, the shop doubled as a locale for jam sessions with musician friends. Brian “Duze” Dusinberre was one of the regulars. Often, it was just Seve and Duze, surrounded by old stuff and pints of beer from the pub next door. Stories were embellished, songs were written, and a partnership took shape.
A weekly residency at a local bistro followed, and the duo brought in drummer Hobart Rowland to add a rhythmic framework to an evolving sound. Word spread about the band, and gigs started piling up. There was street-corner busking, performances in truck beds and apple orchards, and a growing list of club, festival and private party dates. Eventually, the trio filled out its sound with multi-instrumentalist John Mondick, a seasoned fixture on the regional scene.
Meanwhile, Seve and Duze continued to hone their songwriting craft, working with producer Derek Chafin at his BarnSound studio. The result is the band’s debut LP, Old Machines.
In the end, the leather shop didn’t survive. But the '29ers did.