It started as a jam session in 1995 in a now burnt-out St. Paul hole-in-the-wall bar. Over 18 years later, the Urban Hillbilly Quartet has grown into an award-winning Twin Cities-based ensemble that delivers an eclectic mix of musical styles, blending electric guitar, piano, accordion, bass and drums. On stage, the Hillbillies perform mainly original material--most of which can be found on their eight albums—especially their latest: 2008’s Bring in the Sails.
Their music has been influenced by: Midwest powerhouses The Jayhawks and Uncle Tupelo; UK’s Grand Drive; Canada’s Bruce Cockburn; and folk/jazz star David Grisman. UHQ has been compared to R.E.M., The Grateful Dead and The Waterboys.
The core of the band is Erik Brandt (guitar, accordion, piano, lead vocals), Jeremy Szopinski (electric guitar), Dave Strahan (electric guitar, banjo, vocals), Mike Schultz (bass) and Jim Orvis (drums) who have been performing together in the UHQ all over the United States and overseas.