5 on a String has been picking and singing bluegrass music all around the Pacific Northwest for over twenty-five years. We have a family friendly show with plenty of hot picking and fiddle tunes to entertain just about any audience. Seniors love the old time theme and harmony singing, and the kids are attracted to the staccato sounds of the banjo and fiddle. All of our instruments are acoustic which means we are able to play without electricity and can roam over a festival site to draw attention to vendor areas or entertain people waiting in lines. We are equally at home on main stage venues, we play and sing in the old time radio show style, using only one microphone, which is also great for “tweeners” while a stage is being reset for a larger act. Over the years we have collected a large volume of performance material and can play for more than four hours without repeating a song. We’ll get their toes tapping and hands clapping…Guaranteed.
We began playing as 5 on a String back in 1989, when Gordie, Garry, and Dan got together with other musicians to play together informally. One thing lead to another and before long the band was invited to play at some of the regions most prominent Bluegrass Festivals including; Darrington, Wintergrass, and Chilliwack. About 10 years ago founding member Carrol Oldenburg (mandolin) left the band and we were pleased to add multi-instrumentalist and lead singer Tim Eccles in his spot. Another year later Vancouver fiddle player Hugh Ellenwood agreed to enlist after the retirement of our original fiddler, Val Dean. It’s been wonderful to perform all across B.C., Alberta, and Washington state over the years and the friends, fans, and relationships we have shared are priceless to us. We hope that we can bring our brand of mountain music to your venue someday soon.
Fiddle, lead and bass vocals. As the newest (and youngest) member of the band, Hugh is often expected to do the heavy lifting. Hugh has settled in to the fiddle position quite nicely and you’re sure to get a thrill from Hugh’s soulful long bows and signature Kenny Baker licks. Oh, and Hugh’s favourite food is a Salade Nicoise!
Guitar, lead and baritone vocals – Garry’s talents have earned him the Western Canadian Flatpicking Championship title three times! He has conducted numerous guitar workshops around town and always has time to answer other pickers enquiries. Garry looks after most of the musical and vocal arrangements for the band, and always has a good laugh up his sleeve.
Mandolin, lead and harmony vocals – The newest member to join the band is not really that new. Colin has been the 6th Five On String member for many years if other bandmates are not available. He is now an official member. Yes, he might have a funny little English accent, but that’s ok with us.
Upright Bass, lead and tenor vocals – Hard worker, singer, songwriter all rolled into one – what do you have? Well, its Dan the swinging, swaying Bass man for 5 on a String. Dan grew up in the American Midwest and his playing and singing has taken him to the stage of Bill Monroe’s Bean Blossom Festival in Indiana, and the Grand ol’ Opry.
Mandolin, lead and tenor vocals – Tim is no stranger to the British Columbia Bluegrass scene. An accomplished player on mandolin, guitar and banjo, Tim headed up the band Great Northern before joining us 10 years ago. Tim’s strong vocals are a great asset to the band, and yes girls – he can yodel!
Banjo, lead + tenor vocals – Playing a major role in the lead singing for 5 on a String, Gordie lays down a traditional Scruggs style of banjo playing that is so inherent to traditional bluegrass. He also writes songs and has recorded two with the group, “Don’t go to Heaven”, Blue Mountain, and most recently, “Easy to Forget”.