Hammer and Pick


“Hammer and Pick has been performing in the Bishop Hill/Galesburg area for more than two decades.  The original members of the band were Bob Black of Galesburg, the Rev. Wayne Nordstrom of Bishop Hill, and Jon Wagner of rural Rio.  Jan Sams of Galva joined the group in 1995.  Following the deaths of Nordstrom and Black in the late 1990s, John Heasly of Galesburg joined the ensemble, making it a trio once again.

“Wagner is an anthropology professor at Knox College.  He plays the hammered dulcimer, clawhammer banjo, harmonica and bodhran.  Sams, a registered nurse and Kewanee native, plays the string bass, autoharp, and six- and twelve-string guitars.  Heasly, a singer/songwriter, plays acoustic guitar and harmonica.  In addition to playing with Hammer and Pick, he also does solo work. All musicians do vocals, blending their musical styles and harmonies.

“The group is featured at area festivals and concerts, including an annual appearance at Jordbruksdagarna in Bishop Hill, Songbag at the Carl Sandburg Birthplace Museum in Galesburg, and various festivals and events in the west central Illinois area.  They also play instrumental music for dances around the region, including the annual Grant’s Birthday Ball in Galena.

“‘Hammer and Pick was one of our most successful shows lasts season,’’ said Tim Black of the Arts Council.  ‘‘We’re looking forward to having them back this year.’’’

–Kewanee (IL) Star Courier, 3/5/10

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