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Gertrude's Hearse


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Gertrude’s Hearse was formed in La Conner, Washington in early 2005 by Stephen Starr (bassist, vocalist) and Raymond John (guitarist, vocalist, harmonica). Both songwriters, they met at an open mic night where Starr first heard some of John’s original material and the two instantly became friends and music collaborators.
Although their musical backgrounds were quite different (Starr being influenced by hard rock and alt-indie genres of the 90’s while John steered more of a folk & 60’s era rock course), what brought them together was the desire to start a band that could envelope a wide range of music while keeping it simple, light and fun. They began exploring the “Cosmic American Music” coined by the late Gram Parsons (of the Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, International Submarine Band) and began to add country music to their wardrobe of influence, which brought out a new challenge to their songwriting by playing a new sound for them both, and an exploration into the old days of songwriting & storytelling.
By late 2005 they had started a string band, playing country rock songs on traditionally Bluegrass & old-timey instruments (like washtub bass, banjo, acoustic guitar, harmonica) using an old name: “Gertrude” to represent the era of their sound, with the somewhat taboo word describing the vehicle in which everyone takes their last ride, the “Hearse”. The name gave them the image and the branding to become “The Undertakers - Putting the FUN back in FUNeral” which has become their tagline.

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