AND THE BUSHWACKERS
is a uniquely different band blending world, folk, comedy, and more into an uncategorizable acoustic genre.
Take four CDs, five guys, dozens of funny hats, over 50 instruments, and countless improvs. Add ancient Icelandic ballads, modern day pop-satire, droning didjs, accordion, trombone, tuba, mandolin, flutes, trumpet, sax, pennywhistle, percussion, home-made instruments, vocal harmony, and a lot of fun.
These are just some of the elements that make up Big Blow and the Bushwackers.
Niko "Trumpet Lips" Iampieri
What began as an improbable duo of mandolin player Ted Porter and PVC-pipe didjiriduist / tuba player Tim Whittemore, quickly evolved into a quintet that blended folk and world musics with both the comedic and the surreal. And always with a Celtic undercurrent. Not the typical rock-n-roll, it's hard to categorize the band's music. One fan described it as "They Might Be Giants meets Pink Floyd". The Washington Times wrote "...envision a gang of Aboriginies hijacking an Irish pub." Ted Porter simply called it "rock and roll!"
Don Plehn as a thin Drew Carey
That first duo performance on a local radio variety show left the host searching for descriptive words. When Ted and Tim came back for their second set on the show, he announces "...and here is... uh.. more of... whatever that was." No one could label it, but all enjoyed it. (and the flow of wine didn't hurt.)
Don Plehn as "The Dude"
Ted and Tim kept meeting, and Don Plehn joined soon after with his trombone. He quickly added his voice, conch shells and the Funky Diva. It wasn't long before Don picked up the accordion, and the trio was destined to add peculiar polkas to their repertoire.
Yes, Tim really does have a face. No didjs or tuba in this shot!
When the trio played at the open-mic poetry slam at Salisbury, MD's Flying Club, they found the perfect Bushwacker percussionist. Mick Haensler was hosting the weekly event, but quickly joined the dementia of Big Blow's sonic expeditions.
Mick Maensler and Tim "Boogaloo" on the Flopohone.
With Mick's percussive passion re-ignited, and his hunger for sonic possibilities growing rapidly, his collection of drums and percussion grew massive. Soon Mick had built a percussion cage that nearly engulfed him. The quartet's sound was nearly ideal.
Don Plehn as the one-man band.
Then came the many sounds of Renassaince Man Ted Watkin. Musical saw, sax, penny-filled wiffle balls juggled in rhythm, nose flute, bones, and many more, including didj. With all the timbres in Ted Watkin's one-man orchestra, the sound of Big Blow was finally complete.
Ted Watkin shows his pearly whites.
It wasn't long before the quintet began to visit the studio as well as
the stage. With Anita Weldon's grand artwork gracing the cover, Big
Blow's first CD was born.
Big Blow's 1st CD
Soon the band was traveling. From Virginia's Bluemont Concert Series to the Great Blue Heron Fest in upstate New York, Big Blow was spreading that Bushwacker sound. They recorded more CDs
, built more instruments, and regularly played from PA to Virginia.
Don Plehn without his accordion looks more like Stan Laurel.
Eventually however, the band would take their first "sabbatical" as 2 Bushwackers left the band.
That's when Tim started busking with his didjiridus on the boardwalk in his hometown of Ocean City, MD.
"didjbusking" in OC, MD
It wasn't long before the original trio re-fired up the 'ol Bushwacker machine. Ted Porter, Tim and Don were at it again. The trio didn't last long however, as 2 new Bushwackers joined the group. The trio again became a quintet.
The original trio.
Niko Iampieri (Yom-pee-air-ee) not only earned his degree from the same college as Tim, but was in the same high school band. Despite knowing Tim (didjbusker) so well, Niko joined the Bushwackers anyway. He added his trumpet, sax, recorder, clarinet, penny whistles, shakers, and rich musicianship to the Big Blow sound.
Niko Iampieri sweetens the Big Blow sound.
One night while busking, Tim met percussionist Scott Morrison. After a little begging, Scott joined the band. You have to actually SEE him play to realize that he only has 2 arms and 2 legs.
(Be thankful you can't see the kilt.)
With a full quintet once again, Big Blow and the Bushwackers hit both the road and the studio. Their fourth CD - HANDY, was released in 2003.
Don Plehn (with accordion back in hand), as the "HAPPY LEPRECHAUN".
For well over a decade, the Bushwackers have been sharing their distinct musical merrymaking to Maryland and the surrounding region. From stages big and small, to wild weddings, empty corn silos, radio dramas, proms, and house parties, it's always TONS OF FUN!
Now, after a recent 2 year sabbatical to focus on family life, Big Blow and the Bushwackers are back in 2009.
Want Big Blow to play at your event?
Contact Tim at