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Pickin' Up Speed: Bio

Pickin’ Up Speed, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin based Bluegrass band, has been around since 1982, giving its first public appearance at Milwaukee’s Guest House (a homeless shelter) at Christmas that year. Most of the audience came, looking for a warm place to be. Since that fateful day, Pickin’ Up Speed has grown and morphed into a band that is requested at venues in Wisconsin and the surrounding states.

Pickin’ Up Speed plays traditional Bluegrass, in the style made popular by Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys.  Bluegrass music appeals to audiences of all ages, and is the perfect music for your festival or event.

 

WHO WE ARE

LINDA SANDERSEN- Lead Singer and founder of Pickin’ Up Speed.  Besides playing rhythm guitar for the band, she is also known as one of the premiere Autoharp and Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer players in the state of Wisconsin. Her original song ‘Poverty Gulch’ is the title cut of the band’s first CD.

Linda is the past President of the Badgerland Bluegrass Music Association.  Dedicated to preserving Bluegrass Music in the Milwaukee area, Linda has organized an annual Spring Bluegrass Festival in Wisconsin for the past 16 years and has put on a week-end-long Bluegrass festival, the Badgerland Bluegrass Classic, held at the Jefferson County Fair Park in Jefferson, WI, for the past 5 years.

Linda is also known as an entertainer for children and travels around southern Wisconsin presenting her children’s show ‘Silly Songs and Stories’.

POUL SANDERSEN- Poul is a man of many talents.  He is Pickin’ Up Speed’s bass player, laying down the foundation of the music.  His accomplished song writing and talented harmonica playing can be heard on Pickin’ Up Speed’s popular recordings.  He also serves as the band’s sound technician. Much like Linda, Poul is dedicated to preserving traditional and acoustic music in the state of Wisconsin. 

RON WEDEKIND (aka Weeds; aka Galloping Ron) learned to play 5-string banjo in the mid-60s from a fine banjo picker in central Illinois named Bill Duncan. From the early 70s through the mid-80s, Ron played with numerous Bluegrass bands throughout the Midwest in establishments ranging from saloons on Chicago’s north side to Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY. The bands were: Fox River Valley Boys, Weeds and Red- Grass, The Rische Brothers, and Bill Wells & the Blue Ridge Mountain Grass. In the 90s, Ron played with his wife and three children in a family band called “Weeds and Sprouts”. Today, he plays with Pickin’ Up Speed.  Ron has composed several tunes and penned a short instruction booklet entitled “Double Drone Techniques on the 5-String Banjo”.

JERRY SMITH is Pickin’ Up Speed’s mandolinist. He has been playing mandolin for a few years, and is a multi-instrumentalist, also playing guitar and bass. Jerry has been a Bluegrass enthusiast for many years. He adds some new vocals and writes songs for the group. Jerry also plays guitar in a rock band, Wasted Talent.

PICKIN’ UP SPEED has had the pleasure of being the opening act for JOHN HARTFORD twice, (and getting to play on stage with him) and has opened for THE LYNN MORRIS BAND, the JAMES KING BAND and CHRIS JONES and the Night Drivers.

Pickin’ Up Speed’s recordings have received air play in Wisconsin on 90.7 FM’s program SIMPLY FOLK , WGLB-FM 100.1 in Port Washington, WI and on WBWI-FM in West Bend.  They have also performed live on WBWI and on WUWM’s (89.7 FM) ‘At 10’ program.

Recordings:           Pickin’ Up Speed at the Miramar released 2008

                             Almost Live (CD)                       released 2002

                             Poverty Gulch (CD)                    released 1998

                             Don’t Say Goodbye (cassette)    released 1992

 

Major performances by Pickin’ Up’ Speed include:

Adler Cultural Center, Libertyville, IL

Appleworks Bluegrass Festival, WI

Badgerland Bluegrass Classic, Jefferson, WI

Barnes & Noble Bookstores, WI

Bluegrass at the Village, Ozaukee County, WI

Bluegrass Bash, Shawano, WI

Borders Bookstores, WI

Brooklyn Bluegrass Festival, Brooklyn, WI

Charlotte, MI Bluegrass Festival

Cushon’s Peak Bluegrass Festival, MN

David Drake Wisconsing Program, WI

East Troy Fun Fest, WI

Heritage Farm Bluegrass Festival, Kewaunee, WI

Jammin’ in the Gardens, Delavan, WI

Lakefront Festival of the Arts, Milwaukee, WI

Mayfest, Lowell, MI

Midsummer in the Northwoods Bluegrass Festival, Manitowish Waters, WI

Minnesota Homegrown Festival, Zimmerman, MN

Miramar Theatre, Milwaukee, WI

Nashua, IA, Bluegrass Festival

Octagonal Concert Series, Mequon, WI

Rainbow Summer Concert Series, Milwaukee, WI

Strawberry Festival, Cedarburg, WI

Summerfest, Milwaukee, WI

Tri-State Bluegrass Festival, Kendallville, IN

Viroqua Bluegrass & Gospel Festival, WI

4th of July at Whitefish Bay, WI

19th Street Coffeehouse, Milwaukee, WI

Wild Grove Roastery & Coffeehouse, Milwaukee, WI