The Blackberry Bushes Stringband makes tour stop in Ames


Blackberry Bushes Stringband will perform on Bluestem Stage on June 27. 

Leah Landrum

The Blackberry Bushes Stringband will perform with Mirabai and Tim Britton at 8 to 11 p.m June 27 at the Bluestem Stage at Zeke’s Building. 

Tickets are $12 for adults with a $1.65 service fee and $10 for students with a $1.54 service fee. Tickets can be bought at Eventbrite.

The Blackberry Bushes Stringband is currently touring to promote its new album, “Three Red Feathers,” which will be released within the next few months.

Lead vocalist Jes Raymond said optimism is the central theme of the album.

“This album feels braver than any work I have done before,” Raymond said. “I’ve been writing songs for about 15 years now, and I still always learn something new from every song.”

The Seattle-based group has made it a tradition to travel up the Mississippi River every year, as its fiddler, Jakob Breitbach, is from Dubuque, Iowa. 

Raymond said they have toured the Mississippi River the past few years, and it has given them the chance to experience The Boats and Bluegrass Festival in Winona, Minn. along with different harvest events.

Because of its upcoming album release, the band will attend the fall International Bluegrass Music Association Business Conference in Raleigh, N.C., which is the reason for its early, summer visit to Iowa.

The modern string band places itself in the acoustic Americana genre, but Raymond said, “If you call us bluegrass, we answer to that.”

All of the members have studied music in an academic setting, which has influenced them in their exploration of arrangements and improvisation. 

The band also infuses its music with elements of pop, jazz, gospel and classical music.

“We are also pickers and we have been known to see the sunrise after a good festival night of picking bluegrass tunes,” Raymond said.

Along with Raymond, the lead vocalist and guitarist, Breitbach, Daniel Ullom on the mandolin and Forrest Marowitz on the upright bass round out the group’s lineup.

“Expect some High Lonesome, some boot stomping, some face melting and a little something for the heart,” Raymond said. “Good fun.”

The Blackberry Bushes will perform with father-daughter duo Mirabai and Tim Britton, who feature smooth instrumentals and alluring vocals.

For more information on The Blackberry Bushes Stringband, visit For more information on the venue, visit