Led by Jussi Syren (mandolin, lead vocals), the Groundbreakers members hail from both Finland and Europe. Formed in 1995 the others in the group include Tauri Oksala (banjo, resonator guitar, vocals), J.P. Putkonen (guitar), and Tero Maenpaa (bass, vocals).
The group has toured around six European countries, and in the States, they have performed at such venues as the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, Jam ‘n’ Bluegrass, and IBMA. On this new project the group is rounded out by guest fiddlers Michael Cleveland and Laraine Kaizer-Viazovtsev, along with supporting vocals from Veera Syren, Aarne Syren-Lonnberg, and Anneli Mattila.
Syren offers four originals including “Across The Rolling Tide,” “Echoes From Another World,” “One Step Closer” and the instrumental “Strokin’ Down.” Oksala adds the instrumental “Southwest Storm.” Other selections include Cat Steven’s “Morning Has Broken,” Fred Rose’s “Foggy River,” also “Meat and Taters,” “Top Of The World,” and James Glaser’s “Sittin’ In An All Night Café.” There is also a really nice instrumental version of the Lennon/McCartney “Norwegian Wood.” The band is solid bluegrass with really nice arrangements of the songs. Syren has a pleasant vocal delivery backed by the various other harmony singers. This is a really good release from another of our international bluegrass community.