The McGovern Stringband
The McGovern Stringband is an acoustic americana and bluegrass all string band – featuring the vocals of father & son, Kelly McGovern (guitar) and Brian McGovern (mandolin). The McGovern String Band combines a wide variety of genres with a bluegrass style that is anchored by the Nebraska Performing Arts Hall of Fame inductees: bass player and vocalist Dave Morris and Fuzzy Blazek on dobro steel, along with the great Daren Blythe on 5 string banjo.
Their three and four part harmonies, combined with a percussive acoustic instrumentation, bring back that legendary high lonesome sound of Bluegrass.
MEET THE BAND
STEVE ‘FUZZY’ BLAZEK
Resophonic guitar player Steve Blazek comes from a musical household. Starting on drums and church choir he picked up guitar in his teens and then progressed on to the Dobro and pedal steel. Steve and Bass player David Morris were inducted into to Nebraska Performing Arts hall of fame in July, 2021.
He went on to play Dobro and Pedal Steel. “I have also played with the Midwest Ramblers, and played and recorded with John Walker, another Nebraska Performing Arts Hall of Fame Inductee. I was soon asked to try to fill the shoes of not only Chuck Lettes, but also Reynold Peterson in Sour Mash. After two fun filled years playing and singing with Sour Mash, I moved to Nashville and played with several bands including 40/20 and Bristol Rhythm & Roots with The Crows. Becky Hobbs in Nashville gave him a steady job. Thanks to her Fuzzy got to play on The Opry stage 3 times. Later, he spent a few years with the great singer/songwriter James House. His family moved back to Lincoln where he was lucky to be welcomed to the Sandy Creek Band. Later, he got to record and tour with Dave Gonzales and the Stone River Boys out of Austin, then played with the great Billy Bacon until his untimely death. He occasionally sits in with The Bottle Tops and other smaller acts.
ACOUSTIC GUITAR + VOCALS
Kelly McGovern is the lead singer and guitar player for the McGovern String Band. He began playing guitar at the age of 12. Kelly started playing professionally in his late teens with sister, Erin, and has played in numerous bands including country, bluegrass, classic rock, and blues. Kelly is also the lead vocalist and guitar player for local bands, Kelly O’Brian and the Gears. One of Kelly’s greatest gifts is sharing the stage with some amazing musicians including his son, Brian, on mandolin and high harmonies.
Originally from Murray, Nebraska, David grew up surrounded by the musical influence of his parents. He began playing bass over 50 years ago. David is accomplished playing folk, rhythm and blues, blues, country and bluegrass music. He is a current member of The McGovern String Band. He also performed with The New Hokum Boys with Dr. John Walker, The Resonators, The Bottle Tops, The Bluegrass Crusade, Homecookin’ and many other groups.
David was inducted into the Nebraska Performing Arts Hall of Fame in 2021, alongside band mates Dr. John Walker and Peter Blakeslee. He was one of the first musicians to perform on the stage at the World Famous Zoo Bar.
MANDOLIN + VOCALS
Mandolin player Brian McGovern started playing stringed instruments at the age of 15. He grew up listening to his father’s bluegrass, country & blues bands. At age 35 he finally joined in the fun. Brian also plays the mandolin with other acts including The Bottle Tops and Southpaw Bluegrass Band. Brian also plays electric mandolin with Mike Semrad & the Riverhawks, and includes in his repertoire a bit soul & R&B.
Brian’s love for bluegrass music goes deep, as an avid attendee to bluegrass festivals all over the nation. He also occasionally is a studio musician for well known artist around the area. Brian works as a surveyor for an excavation company in Lincoln, NE.
After seeing an ad for used cars that had strong banjo theme music, Daren commented on how cool it sounded. Shortly after that, Daren got a banjo for Christmas at age 13 and has been playing ever since. I guess we have his parents to thank for that one!
He has been diverted temporarily at times by other instruments (guitar, mandolin) but has always come back to the banjo.
Although, Daren grew up listening almost exclusively to Rock N Roll music, he appreciates a wide variety of musical styles and genres. Especially, BLUEGRASS! ;)