When it comes to movers and shakers in the bluegrass world, Full Cord is a super-
group on the rise.
After winning the prestigious 2022 Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition in
Colorado, the Michigan-based group followed that with another much-coveted
honor when the International Bluegrass Music Association named Full Cord its
“Momentum Award Band of the Year.”
While mandolinist Brian Oberlin notes the band’s music “is new and fresh to the
ears of seasoned bluegrass fans,” the bluegrass traditions in Full Cord have deep
The group’s members – Oberlin, guitarist Eric Langejans, bassist Todd
Kirchner and fiddler Grant Flick – boast decades of musical
artistry, with experience in popular performing bands from Michigan to Oregon.
And with the recent addition of award-winning, Colorado-based banjoist Ricky
Mier, Full Cord is poised to take the next step in its journey as a bluegrass
powerhouse: The band’s debut album on Nashville’s Dark Shadow Recordings is
set to drop in 2023.
Full Cord’s songwriting has reached a new “tipping point,” Katie Kirchner
suggests, enhanced by the group’s vast repertoire and robust experience in
numerous band projects over the years.
And Oberlin insists the band is “just hitting its stride” – ready to follow in the
footsteps of fellow Michigan bluegrass icons Billy Strings and Greensky Bluegrass
as yet another star in the making.
Billy Strings had this to say:
Sometime in 2011, I moved away from my hometown of Ionia and headed up to Traverse City to see what kind of trouble I could find. I worked at a local hotel for a while before I got the call: I was on the clock, but I picked up anyway. The fella on the line said he was a bluegrass musician, and he expressed interest in playing tunes with me at some point. I was excited to make some new friends and meet some of the local pickers in the area, but I didn’t know I was walking into the inferno. At that first get-together, I met Paul Kirchner, who is a great banjo player and a walking encyclopedia of all things bluegrass. I quickly realized his kids are musicians, and his kids’ kids will probably play too. I was invited to stay for dinner and to come back and pick any time. I ended up hanging out with the Kirchners and their extended musical family quite a bit. They introduced me to Eric Langejans, and we hit it off pretty quickly, discovering our shared love of Flatpicking-guitar and the smell of flowers. Playing bluegrass music into the wee hours of the morning with them at bluegrass festivals across the region was a common occurrence. Shortly after I met Todd, we did a gig or two together, and Eric was always around singing and playin’ the hell out of that guitar. These fellas know some great tunes. It’s such a blast to make music with them, and it’s exciting to see what they’ve been up to over the last few years. I’ve noticed Full Cord ignite with the additions of fiddle maestro Grant Flick, ripping banjo of Ricky Mier, and rock-solid vocals, repertoire, and mandolin mastery of Brian Oberlin. The first play-through of this album made me want to grab my axe, drive up North, meet up with these guys, and jam till tomorrow morning like we’ve done so many times before. I don’t need to though, because songs on this record transport me back home.
ERIC LANGEJANS - Guitar / Vocals
Eric is a multi-instrumentalist with an exceptional ear for music. He has been in many bands including local favorites Down Home and Woodpile. Affectionately called “Fast Eric” by his peers, his lighting fast riffs on the guitar leave you wondering what he’s going to do next. Eric also plays mandolin and fiddle when the need arises. He has recently performed on stage with John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
TODD KIRCHNER - Bass
Todd has played bass since his early teens and grew up picking bluegrass with his dad and brothers. He got his first upright bass from his dad as a Christmas gift and has not put it down since. He has played bass in many bands and has a deep appreciation for all types of music which you can hear in every performance.
GRANT FLICK - Fiddle
Of Bowling Green, Ohio, has been playing and performing for the past eight years on many instruments including violin, mandolin, tenor guitar, tenor banjo, and nyckelharpa. Primarily, his interests are jazz/swing, bluegrass, and new acoustic music. Currently, his main original musical projects include Westbound Situation and Warren & Flick. He has received numerous music awards including the 2013 Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin, and he was a 2015 finalist in the Walnut Valley Festival Fiddle Competition in Winfield, Kansas, as well as a 2017 finalist at the Freshgrass Fiddle Competition in North Adams, Massachusetts. He has been selected as a two-time participant (2015 and 2016) of the Acoustic Music Seminar held at the Savannah Music Festival in Savannah, Georgia. He has taught workshops at the Tenor Guitar Gathering (Astoria, Oregon), Falling Waters Music Camp (Ithaca, New York), and Augusta Bluegrass Week (Elkins, West Virginia). He has performed at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Red Wing Roots Festival, Indiana Fiddler’s Gathering, and many other festivals. Frank Vignola, Mike Marshall, Julian Lage, and Darol Anger are just some of the notable musicians with whom Grant has appeared on stage. Grant is attending the University of Michigan for jazz studies.
BRIAN OBERLIN - Mandolin / Vocals
Brian is an internationally acclaimed mandolin player and educator. During his decades-long professional career, Brian has been playing swing, bluegrass, and Italian classical as a solo mandolinist and vocalist. Brian celebrated the release of his 20th album in May 2016; Troubadour which features Brian playing solo and singing original music. Along with the myriad of award-winning bands (The Journeymen, GER Mandolin Orchestra with Mike Marshall and Twin Mandolin Slingers with Evan J. Marshall) and ensembles he has collaborated with throughout the United States and Europe, Brian is also the founder and director of the River of the West Mandolin Camp, the Great Lakes Mandolin Camp and the Oregon Mandolin Orchestra. Brian was a top ten finalist at the 2013 Telluride Troubadour Contest, an instructor/performer at the 2012, 2013, and 2017 International Mandolin Academy in Italy, a featured soloist at the 2014 EuroFest Plucked String Festival in Bruchsal, Germany, and a featured soloist at the 2015 Mandolin Upgrade festival in Berlin, Germany. When he is not performing, Brian teaches music to children and adults at art centers, cultural events, festivals, camps, music schools, and academies.
More info on Brian can be found at www.mandoberlin.com
Ricky Mier - Banjo / Vocals
There are plenty of bluegrass bands — especially nowadays — that can drop your jaw with their instrumental prowess, the sort of technically proficient jamming that guitar, mando and banjo geeks strive to emulate. And there are a fair number of groups who also possess harmony-laden, drawling, classically cute vocals. But few outfits ooze the all-out charm of Full Cord, a West Michigan super-group of sorts that not only “has a very deep understanding of the etiquette and musical skill behind a traditional jam and how to get lost in a vamp that shows off our skill,” but also how to fully engage listeners — even when it comes to a studio recording. Full Cord literally soars from one ear-pleasing gem to another. – John Sinkevics - Local Spins - WYCE
These fellas know some great tunes. It’s such a blast to make music with them, and it’s exciting to see what they’ve been up to over the last few years. - Billy Strings
First-tier players who bring life and energy to the music - Don Stiernberg
I’m so excited for the rest of the world to hear the unique brand of bluegrass that Full Cord offers. - Missy Armstrong
This first-rate veteran band (14 years and counting) more or less represents the cream of the crop of Michigan’s thriving bluegrass community. - Bob Allen, Bluegrass Unlimited
Chock full of exceptional musicianship, eclectic repertoire and inventive arrangements. - Joe Russ, Bluegrass Unlimited
Full Cord is a bluegrass band that can hold its own with any of the subgenres (bluegrass, newgrass, jamgrass) out there today - Don Stiernberg
2022 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Competition winners
2022 IBMA Momentum Band of The Year
Winner of WYCE's 2019 Jammie Award for 'Best Album by a New Artist for Choreomania
Winner of the 2021 ROMP band contest
Picked up by Dark Shadow Recording (Stephen Mougin) following our performance at ROMP
Selected for the 2021 IBMA Songwriter showcase for our song by Brian Oberlin - "Downtown"
Artist Feature in August 2021 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited
2022 IBMA Showcase artists
Hindsight released in May of 2021 in top 20 albums reported for airplay on Roots Music Report for over a year
Seen & Heard at: Hoxeyville, ROMP, IBMA Showcase band, Charlotte BG Fest, Milan BG Fest, Kendalville BG fest. Cervantes, Telluride, Podunk, Pagosa Folk N’ Bluegrass & more!