Like a fine bottle of Aquavit, Fred Boekhorst has traversed the oceans and lands to make the long journey from the Netherlands to Nashville via Los Angeles and Memphis, gaining flavor and expression with every mile. Since age four, when he first began playing classical guitar and glockenspiel, Boekhorst has been on a quest to find the right place for his maturing blues-rock-country style and, after playing and touring with the likes of Due West, Lost Trailers, LoCash Cowboys, Josh Thompson, and Glen Templeton among others, has landed a spot with Tim Montana and the Shrednecks (timmontana.com).
Asked about the difference between playing blues-rock in the Netherlands versus the United States Boekhorst says, “My sense was that back home most people preferred American music played by Americans over American music played by the Dutch, which was one of the reasons I moved to the States. Secondly—and I learned this the hard way—the continental European sense of the back beat is different from how Americans feel it.
“It’s hard to describe a feel, but it has to do with the pocket. European musical tradition is pretty regimented, and their idea of a pocket is a bit more strict and confined. We generally don’t grow up relaxing into a pocket and ‘living’ there the way Americans do.
“This is by no means a criticism. I’ve worked with stellar musicians from both sides of the pond. Perhaps it has to do with European culture as a whole being a bit more regimented and organized, whereas American culture seems to be a lot more laid back and relaxed.
“With the Shrednecks, I typically play an ’86 Gibson Les Paul Standard with Gibson Dirty Finger pickups, or a 2013 Gibson Les Paul Traditional with Cream T Banger pickups (the new Billy Gibbons signature pickups). I also bring a stock 2014 Gibson SG Standard. I run these through a 3rd Power Amplification HD100 into a 2x12 Marshall Bluesbreaker cab with Celestion Vintage 30s. Then I use a Fulltone GT500 to compensate for volume differences between guitars.
“On country gigs, I usually use a Telecaster with Joe Barden T-style pickups run through a Scarecrow Custom Amplification TMB, which is essentially an 18-watt Marshall clone with some magic. The only pedals I use on this gig are a Wampler Ego Compressor and the Wampler Faux Tape Echo.”
While collaborating with producer Marshall Altman, the band connected with Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top to work on and record the song “This Beard Came Here to Party.” The song went on to become the Boston Red Sox anthem for their 2013 World Series run. They are currently working on their new album, Low Class.
Boekhorst on Gibbons: “Billy has the touch that separates the boys from the men, and working with him reintroduced me to the music and musical sensibilities that inspired me to play when I was a kid. Ever since Billy got involved with the Shrednecks I’m drawing a lot more from old blues than I am from country, and he’s a very kind and generous gentleman to boot.” —Paul Haggard