Boxcar 79 makes sweet Colorado bluegrass with a mountain heart. Featuring tight three-part harmonies, Boxcar 79 draws on the traditions of the Stanley Brothers, Bill Monroe, Gillian Welch, Tim O'Brien, and Emmylou Harris to create fresh bluegrass takes on old standards and original tunes.
Paul Sommer (vocals and mandolin) is Boxcar 79's fearless leader and founding member. In 2007, someone put a mandolin in Paul's hands and he's rarely put it down since. When he's not wrangling together the widespread members of the band and singing in his sweet, high-lonesome tenor, Paul is a developer of software, builder of boats, husband to wife Lucie, and father of two great kids who all tolerate his obsession with bluegrass.
Zak Keirn (vocals and acoustic guitar) is Boxcar 79's resident song-smith. By day, Zak is an engineer at the Marvell Semiconductor in Longmont and the only member of the band who can put the letters "PhD" after his name. By night, he writes the happiest sad songs you've ever heard, following the venerable bluegrass tradition of the Stanley Brothers, Flatt and Scruggs, and Bill Monroe, for Boxcar 79 to deliver in soul-melting three-part harmony.
Francis Mougne (banjo) was born and raised in Houston, Texas and got his start as a rock guitarist. Luckily, he came to his senses in 1997 and switched to banjo. Since then, Francis has played with San Francisco's legendary Keystone Station, as well as Charlie Hurtin' and the Hecklers and the Strollers, both out of Austin, Texas. He also measures buildings for a living while he studies to become an architect and is the only member of the band who is both fluent in French and has performed onstage with Peter Rowan.
Megan Friedel (vocals and acoustic guitar) was raised in Steamboat Springs, where she started her music career at the age of 5 as a classically-trained flutist. After 18 years on the classical stage, including positions as principal flutist for orchestras in Illinois and Massachusetts, Megan started over as a guitarist and vocalist in 2000 and honed her vocal chops with the Anchorage, Alaska-based music collective The Mighty Kindness. She is currently a resident of rural Gilpin County, where she catches fish, hosts bluegrass jams, and drives to Denver ever day to work as a museum curator.
Dave "Pump" Solzberg (upright bass) has been a fixture on the Denver/Front Range bluegrass, jazz, and rock scene for over 20 years. Band credits on both upright and electric bass include Fox Street, Coral Creek String Band, the NoGo Gilbillies, the Humminbirds, Onda, Yo Flaco!, and so many more that we lose track. In his "spare" time, Pump teaches music at New Vista High School in Boulder, restores old Jeeps, runs a smoked fish and hot sauce company, and dotes on his dog and spiritual advisor, Modji the Mutt.