NIBA News & Articles


2017 NIBA Officers & Board of Directors

· President:           Kim Kraemer    (815-383-9329)


· Vice President:  Tom Gerber      (815-312-3964)


· Treasurer:           Cindy Kline      (224-569-6210)                     

· Secretary:           Mary Krasko    (815-879-2414)                


Board Members

Jim Berkland            630-479-6610

Bill Fulton                815-673-8694

Joyce Kraemer

Rich Krasko             815-879-2414 

Dave Erickson          630-746-1445





Please make all submissions for this newsletter by the 15th of each month to Send all printed copy and photos to:  NIBA, PO Box 310, West Dundee, IL 60118. This newsletter is copyrighted by the NIBA. 


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Hello Bluegrass Enththusiasts!

Key Dates to Remember:


Text Box: Aug 9      : Sycamore Steam Show
Aug 19    : Plano Smallville Superfest
Sep 23    : NIBA Picnic
Sep 29    : NIBA Scholarship Jam Fundraiser

    Put the NIBA Festival on your calendar!



Brashler’s Barn

Darin and Brooke Aldridge



The weather was perfect  in the old barn on Jul 21 for another amazing performance by Darin and Brooke’s band. The incredible pickin’ skills were demonstrated over and over, but especially when they played ‘Tennessee Flat Top Box.  Brooke’s beautiful and powerful voice was complimented by the Darin and Carey Arrowood exquisite harmonies. Matt Menefee on banjo and Billy Gee on bass were outstanding as well.


Lois Brashler and her crew served up some delicious Pie Bars. Lois also has been working diligently on her gorgeous garden.



Text Box: A Note from your Pres
Greetings to our Bluegrass Community!

I hope you all were able to attend the truly amazing, Frankfort Bluegrass Festival! There were over 40 performances by 21 local, regional and national bands; jammers filling the picking tents; kids playing games with hula hoops, bubbles, and clogging boards; listeners tapping their toes to traditional, progressive, gospel, and every genre of bluegrass music; the 2018 Festival was a raving success. You can go to the Festival website to see the schedule of all the performers!

If you see Steve Haberichter, thank him for all he has done to make this festival so great (or email him at It is truly amazing what Steve and his army of volunteers have accomplished with this event! Better yet, stop by his great music shop, Down Home Guitars, to shop and/or sign up for a lesson.   
Enough gushing, let’s not forget there are other bluegrass events and festivals yet this year. For example, The Chet Kingery Memorial Festival, The Heritage Festival, Two Rivers Festival, and other festivals, band performances and concerts (see the events page for a full listing)!

Check out one of the Brashler’s Barn (see Flyer) concerts. This year they have had Joe Mullins and Darrin and Brooke Aldridge and have several more concerts this year. The venue is an old 100 year old refurbished barn that puts you up close and personal with the bands.

Please be sure to attend one or more of the great Bluegrass events. By attending these events we all help to keep Bluegrass alive and well.
Kim Kraemer
President, Northern Illinois Bluegrass Association 
Text Box: Meet The NIBA Board!

Dave ‘Barney’ Erickson

I have been an NIBA member since 1996.  Needless to say, I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years and made some life-long friends.  2018 marks my third term as an NIBA board member.  Due to a rigorous work schedule in the past, these stints have not been consecutive.   I am the currently the mandolin player and business manager for the newly formed Foggy Mem’ry Boys.   We invite everyone to visit our Facebook Page and give us a “Like”.   Although my only formal training is in guitar, violin and singing, I teach mandolin using my own method.  I also teach guitar, voice and beginning fiddle on a limited basis.   Recently, I have started a portable on-site audio recording service geared toward musicians that wish to create demos to showcase their talents. (630-746-1445).

Although I love jamming and performing Bluegrass music, it didn’t come natural to me.My parents did not play instruments, but were huge fans of the TV show Hee-Haw.  I liked the humor, but wasn’t very interested in anything “country” at the time.  After much begging, I got my first electric guitar for my fourteenth birthday.  I took a few lessons from a jazz player and then concentrated on tunes by the Ventures, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Monkees, etc..   My first rock combo was called White Lies and played regularly for the teen dance at a Catholic convent in Roselle, IL.  I can still picture nuns doing “The Twist” in my mind, yikes!  When Jimi Hendrix came along I tried imitating him with distortion, feedback, wah-wah and other ear-piercing sounds.   After graduating high school in 1969, I became a “bluesman” and sunk into all the baggage that comes with that label.
During the late 1970’s my wife (Terri) and I made several trips to her grandparents’ farm in rural western Tennessee.  There we met wonderful, God loving people that got up early and worked all day.  I learned how to plant a good garden, cut trees into firewood and hunt chicken-thieving foxes.  Some evenings we'd head to town for square dances.  They had live country bands that featured local callers and good fiddlers.  In 1978, I traded one of my electric guitars for my first Harmony mandolin.  It was painted red, 4 inches thick with a big oval sound hole

Meet The NIBA Board!


Dave ‘Barney’ Erickson



I found that two books “Mandolin Player” by Jethro Burns and “Merlin’s Magical Mandolin Method” by Joe Carr were great help getting started.  (Unfortunately, both of these are now out of print).  About 1979 I sharpened up my country lead guitar technique and auditioned for a local country band.   The mandolin was accepted on tunes like “Rocky Top” and “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” and “The Auctioneer”.  Playing both lead guitar and mandolin carried me through twenty years with several good bands.   I’ve lost track of how many country bars, dance halls, pig roasts, and shotgun weddings I’ve performed at.  During my time with country music, I met my good friend and awesome fiddler Ray Henaughan.   Ray and I played in a country band called the Strange Rangers in the 1990’s.  We have crossed paths many times over the years and know each other’s styles quite well.  We both bring that experience and drive for the Foggy Mem’ry Boys.  


Back in the summer of 1995 I joined my first “real” bluegrass band called Running Fox fronted by Larry Robinson (former WDCB Strictly Bluegrass host).  We met up at the Fox Valley Folk Festival in Geneva and asked if I could audition for him.  He just "show me what you can do" and I was hired on the spot.  I performed exclusively with Running Fox at dozens of gigs and festivals for the next three years.  I learned a lot about bluegrass music from Larry and banjoist Phil Loranger.  In 1996, Larry mentioned the Harding jam on his show and I decided to check it out.  Those early Harding jams had a lot of banjo and guitar players, but not too many mandolin players.  I spent a lot of time on stage backing other performers, learning as much as possible.  A quote from Bill Monroe became my motto, “listen real close, and learn the music right”.


It was in those early days at Harding where I learned about NIBA.  I’ve met some incredible musicians and made close friendships that have lasted for many years.  The staff, board and volunteers spend a great deal of time and effort to produce a good newsletter, promote their members, host a real good festival and other events.  Most members genuinely love the music and really know their stuff.  We travel many miles to perform for very little or no compensation. (In spite of the fact that some have taken out a second mortgage to buy their very expensive instrument!!)  We are willing to share our knowledge with beginners, something not found too often with other styles of music.  In spite of the sharing, there is also friendly competition.  Nothing beats getting together with experienced pickers that know some challenging tunes.   I still play country and jazz guitar once in a while; even participate regularly with an Irish band.  But I'll continue play bluegrass every chance I get as long as I can.   I'm still challenged by the music and have much more to learn.  I’m hoping my time as a board member will be helpful and productive.  The  strength of the NIBA is in it’s members!











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