When two pure Wisconsin boys get together to make a record, you know it’s going to be rich in Badger State material.
So “Unthawed,” a bluegrass and comedy record by Charlie Berens (yep, the "Manitowoc Minute" Charlie Berens) and Adam Greuel of Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, is rife with titles like “Ope Nope,” “Supper Club Shuffle,” “Uff Da” and “Goin Up Nort’.”
And, of course, the cover art is green and gold.
The record, which Berens says hit the top spot on the Billboard bluegrass charts a few weeks ago, was released Nov. 23. It also landed on the publication’s comedy charts.
Holy smokes Unthawed is #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass charts and #6 on the Comedy charts. What’s everyone’s address? I got enough rhubarb in the freezer for everyone #BerensAndGreuel pic.twitter.com/rstoYQUeT7 — Charlie Berens (@CharlieBerens) December 9, 2020
“I don’t know if Adam will agree with this, but I like to think of it as a good old Midwest junk drawer,” Berens told Wisconsin Life. “You got a tennis ball in there. You got a Packers bumper sticker in there. You got a muddle in there for your Old Fashioneds. All this stuff — which seemingly may not make sense if a non-Midwesterner is looking at it. But if you pull it open, someone from the Midwest will look in there and go, ‘Yeah, I think that’s about everything. You could use a couple more nails and screws in there. But, you know, other than that, pretty solid.’”
The two met over the years and started to talk of collaboration, and after sharing stages a few times, they decided to go into the studio.
The disc was recorded in part at Wire & Vice in Wauwatosa Village.
"They came through over three or four days to track their vocals and a few guest vocals," says Ian Olvera, who engineered those sessions. "Adam and Charlie mostly had their arrangements down but were both in the live room with live mics together working things out in detail as we went.
"Adam and I did some sessions last year for one of his solo records so I think thats how he and Charlie ended up coming our way for this one."
Here’s a video preview of it:
And another sample:
Copies of the CD can be ordered for $15 here.
The same week that "Unthawed" was released, Greuel's band Horseshoes & Hand Grenades also released a new record, which you can find here.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.