Spotlight on HVBA Member Band: Grass Fed

Band leader Dan Budd interviewed:

The band started as a casual beginner's jam session in a private home. It was after receiving a warm response from audiences at Taste Budd’s Café in Red Hook that the jam sessions became regular rehearsals and the band took shape. We had tossed around a few name ideas at the beginning, and I can remember one of those was The Seedlings, but Grass Fed  stuck and has been our only name.

I have written 75% or more of our music. Jeremy also has shared a couple of original tunes. Many of our songs, in keeping with the bluegrass tradition, are about family, sorrow, love, and humor. We always play “Everywhere He Goes” a fun upbeat song about Dan’s brother and “Don’t Stop Keep With It,” a song inspired by Dan’s 6-year-old son about getting everything out of life. We are currently in the mixing process of our first CD of all original tunes. Pete is producing this, and we hope to have it ready for sale online and at gigs by winter 2011.

“First Love”

“I’m A Farmer”

I remember two performances that stick out. Playing one summer in the park in Red Hook, we hit a stop in our song, and our voices were echoing off the woods. The sound that came back just kept pushing us deeper into our music and harmonies. It felt like being in a stadium. The second moment was at the historic Elmendorph Inn, when we put on an all acoustic show for a soup night. It seemed to bring everyone back in time, and we had people singing along. My daughter Allison Budd sang a song she wrote that was adorable. That performance alone led us to play four other gigs.

We recently received an email from someone who dropped by and heard our music:

'I must email you and tell you how much I enjoyed my experience at Taste Budd's this Sunday. My wife and I rode my motorcycle up for the afternoon specifically to listen to your band Grass Fed and enjoy dessert before we headed out to dinner. This was a special trip as it was the first time my wife rode with me. The dessert was fantastic and we really enjoyed your band. And we both couldn't believe you played my favorite motorcycle song…Black Vincent. 

The comfortable atmosphere and your openness with exposing yourself as a musician playing your own songs like the one for your sister made the experience one I will not soon forget. And despite living down in Poughkeepsie…I will be back up again and will be looking for you to perform again.'
– Chris Dayger

Each band member brings a slightly different influence to the group based on their life experiences, musical background and talents. It’s actually pretty amazing how Grass Fed members are very casual and happy about how they play together. Nobody is out to be the star, we share our feelings openly and respect each other. This results in a great pool of musical knowledge and diversity to our performances. Fans often respond to us with the comment, 'you guys always look like you are having so much fun together'. In fact, that’s our goal!"

Band Bios:

Dan Budd: Guitar, Vocals
Originally from Vermont, Dan is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and spent 10 years as a cook and pastry chef in NYC as well as training in France.  He was named twice as "Top Ten Pastry Chef in America" by Chocolatier magazine, and was nominated for pastry chef of the year by The James Beard Foundation. Chef Budd taught Baking and Pastry Arts at The CIA for 6 years while opening his own business, Taste Budd's in Red Hook, NY.  He hopes to keep writing songs, learn more about music, sing stronger at every show and eventually be able to flat pick more solos on his guitar.

Jeremy Robbins: Banjo, Vocals
Jeremy purchased his first five string banjo at the Stormville Flea Market when he was fourteen. Jeremy also acquired a copy of Pete Seeger's How To Play The 5 String Banjo, which proved to be an indispensable resource, but he did not begin taking lessons in Scruggs-style picking until college. As a senior at Wesleyan University, Jeremy co-founded a bluegrass band called Middletown, playing at various frat houses and receiving in compensation pitchers of beer and bottles of whiskey. Jeremy joined the Riverbank Banjo Band in 2001, and became a student of Roger Sprung. He has also taken lessons with Joan Harrison and Tony Trischka.  

Peter Conklin: Mandolin, Vocals
He has a joyful spirit in rehearsal and on stage that is like the smiling musical glue that holds the band together. Pete considers every musician one to hear and respect, and is always out to help the sound. Keeping a perfect mandolin chop and flying into solos Pete also finds the harmony notes with his voice. At age fifteen Pete showed up at his first band practice expecting someone to bring an electric lead guitar for him to play. It ended up being an electric bass guitar. Ever since that day he has been playing electric bass with his friend’s rock band. Pete had an acoustic guitar and started joint lessons with Jeff Belding.  He has been a member of a number of Hudson Valley bands including Synergy and The Rude Boys.  Pete also currently sings and plays mandolin for Out of The Blue Grass and Rich Hines & The Hillbilly Drifters.  He is an active member of the board of the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association.

Terry Ghee: Fiddle
Terry Ghee has been playing music all his life. Terry's experience with music and playing with other bands keeps a strong ear to Grass Fed rehearsals and has helped the band grow musically. Terry's fiddling as well as his quick wit on stage are known to keep listeners smiling. At age 13 Terry began playing electric bass and first picked up the fiddle around 15. He was first inspired by watching The Dillar’s (who played The Darlings on the Andy Griffith Show) and listening to saxophone and violin player Andy Stein and swing and jazz violinist Stuff Smith. For over 10 years Terry played fiddle for multiple bar bands in swing, r&b, and honky tonk.  Terry has played with Hudson Valley bands The Moonshiners, Men in Debt, and most recently, for nearly 13 years with Fiddlers Bridge before the band broke up.  Terry loved the name Grass Fed so much he knew he had to join the band just for that (but he still eats meat!).  He also plays piano, upright bass and saxophone and loves to collect and drive Edsel cars.

Lynn Lipton: Bass
After teaching nursery school for many years, Lynn retired and picked up her dusty fiddle that had been sitting in a corner for over 40 years. Several years ago, her grandson encouraged her to try playing his bass and it was instant love. Lynn Lipton drives the bass with a passion and obvious respect for bluegrass music. She is an active member of the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association, managing the website and she is also known to love a song so much that Grass Fed has to play it twice!

Band Name:  Grass Fed
Contact:  Dan Budd


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