The Boundary Water Boys are a group of pedigreed musical friends who hail from the Great Northwoods of Minnesota, including its beautiful Boundary Waters Wilderness area merging the borders of the U.S. and Canada.
PAT SURFACEBorn in St. Paul, Pat Surface was adopted at age 2 into a family with a formidable musical legacy - the LaPlants. Through these award-winning musicians and luthiers, Pat's love for all forms of traditional music was encouraged. Growing to be 6'8" tall, Pat became an all-star basketball player; but music was always his first love and, in 1985, he became a professional musician, playing at festivals, colleges, and other venues. Performing for over 20 million people and with 15 recordings to his credit released on his Spiritwood Music label, Pat's troubadour/balladeer style of soulful vocals paired with sizzling fingerstyle guitar is constantly in demand, so Pat stays on the road much of the year with his wife and creative partner, Donna.
ELI BISSONETTViolin virtuoso, Eli Bissonett was born in Savonlinna, Finland - an area much resembling the Northwoods of Minnesota. His family moved to Ely in 1979 and he began violin lessons at the age of 8 under the instruction of Helen Pakola; he later attended the University of Minnesota and studied there under Young-Nam Kim. With Kim, Eli founded the Northern Lights Chamber Music Institute, which celebrates its 4th year in August 2005. Eli demonstrates his classical training on his solo debut recording Listening Point, and his second recording, Lonely Land, showcases both his ethnic sensibilities as well as his classical style. (Both CDs are on the Spiritwood Music label.) But Eli can also play a mean fiddle, as demonstrated on two Pat Surface recordings, The Long Goodbye and The House Of Amazing Grace, as well as on the Boundary Water Boys' albums, Acoustic Crossroads and Due North.
BILL BULINSKIBorn in Chicago, Bill Bulinski fell in love with the guitar at an early age and finally was given a Silvertone by his parents at age 11; he never looked back. When his family moved to Ely, Bill started a band called The Electras; starting out as a mostly instrumental outfit, the group scored some regional hits and was signed by Columbia Records. Moving back to Chicago allowed Bill to play full time, including starting a band called The Greaseballs to perform his retro-sounding tunes. But though he was busy writing hundreds of songs, the call of the Northwoods was strong, and so Bill returned to Ely and became a Boundary Water Boy. His signature surf/blues guitar style adds depth and an interesting patina to Acoustic Crossroads, and many other Spiritwood CDs.
DOC ROB MATTSONDr. Rob Mattson is a noted chiropractic sports physician who plays a hot acoustic bass and contributes sweet vocal harmonies on Acoustic Crossroads. Doc traveled with his family's band, the 42nd Generation, performing at churches and functions throughout his high school years; so popular was this group, that many musicians would stop by just to jam, including Tim and Bill Patterson, and Minnesota Guitar Picker Of The Year, John Thompson. Nowadays, when he is not traveling with world class athletes such as the USA Barefoot Water Ski Team to exotic destinations, helping patients at his clinic in Ely, volunteering as Captain of the Eagle's Nest Fire Department, or (his favorite job of all) being a devoted father and husband (to children, Erika and Trevor, and wife, Mary) Doc still loves to play live at churches, and with the Boundary Water Boy.
JOHN ELYAn award-winning steel guitarist (and dobro player) John Ely is a northern MN native, but spent his formative years and first established his reputation in the Austin area during the '80s and '90s. His early training in classical piano and music theory helped him to quickly absorb many musical styles, leading to an eclectic list of credits, including performing and recording with: Jerry Jeff Walker, Lyle Lovett, Johnny Gimble, Stoney Edwards, and more. A member of the hit band, Asleep At The Wheel, John added four albums on Epic and Arista, hit songs, two Grammies, three other Grammy nominations, and numerous TV appearances including: Austin City Limits, The Tonight Show, Nashville Now, (and more) to his illustrious credits. John is featured on many other Spritwood Music projects besides the Boundary Water Boys' Due North.
ROBIN ADNAN ANDERSAcclaimed percussionist Robin Adnan Anders has performed on over 60 CDs, and is best known for his work with folk-punk legends Boiled In Lead and the Grammy-winning 3Mustaphas3, though he has also recorded and played with Greg Brown, Ani DiFranco, Arlo Guthrie, and Pete Seeger. Robin is a Middle Eastern percussion whiz who commands his drums to "sing" with their own voices; on Acoustic Crossroads, he also show of his snare chops on "Orange Blossom Special."
BILL AND DON LAPLANTBrothers Bill LaPlant (mandolin) and Don LaPlant (guitarist & acoustic bass player), are sons of the renowned luthier, Lloyd LaPlant, as well as first cousins of Pat's; the trio grew up making music together in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Bill and Don follow in their famous father's footsteps, working as noted luthiers and musicians. The LaPlants have played on numerous projects with Pat besides Acoustic Crossroads, including Pass The Music On, which is dedicated to their father. Don LaPlant is married to 3-time Minnesota State Fiddle Champion, Mary LaPlant (a Spiritwood Music artist with several projects on the Spiritwood Label).