The Kruger Brothers

Bluegrass

The Kruger Brothers are Jens and Uwe Kruger with bass player Joel Landsberg. They are based in Wilkesboro North Carolina where they are carving out new territory for American acoustic music.

“We grew up in Switzerland. We had a butcher store and a restaurant in a remote place far away from everything,” Jens told the audience at a 2023 Down Home Concert. “And mystically, somehow, a Doc Watson / Flat & Scruggs record showed up. Out of nowhere, it was just there…. …as kids we just totally fell in love with it.” Uwe added, “Jens and I sat in front of that record player and just couldn’t believe it.”

When brothers Jens and Uwe Kruger first emigrated to the United States they did so to study with Doc Watson. They moved onto a neighboring farm and soaked up as much of the mountains and Doc’s music as time would allow.

“Doc was our friend long before he had ever heard of us,” wrote Jens and Uwe in the liner notes to their Remembering Doc Watson album. “We felt close to him… His infectious enthusiasm yet humble approach to his art made us want to travel the world as musicians… To be able to back up Doc as the Kruger Brothers on some of his final shows and to watch in awe as he gave his all on every song are some of the most memorable moments in our musical career.”

The band has since built on Doc’s sound by infusing classical music and other European influences into their music. “We have all these memories of Doc,” Uwe said to a 2023 Down Home audience. “We were fortunate enough to know him, to play with him.”

The Kruger Brothers have performed with The North Carolina Symphony, with The Kontras String Quartet, at PineCone’s Down Home Concert Series and as a part of IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC.

Jens Kruger is widely recognized as one of North Carolina’s leading banjo players. He is the 2013 recipient of the Steve Martin Prize. Of the award, the Fresh Grass Foundation said, “His virtuosic playing style ranges from the very complex, to the simple and profound.” Jens is also a regular instructor at Bela Fleck’s Banjo Camp in Brevard North Carolina.

During the pandemic, The Kruger Brothers hosted regular livestream sessions from their home studio.