What It Takes

Young and adventurous musicians play bluegrass, country, blues and honky tonk

Marie Krolikowski
The Amarugia Ridge Runners: Michael Turnbo, fiddle; Jesse Bauerle, bass; Clay Dahman, guitar; Alan Voss, drums; (back row) John Allin (banjo).

Remember the name The Amarugia Ridge Runners. This five-person band, which frequently plays at venues throughout the Lake area, just may have what it takes to make it big one day.

In 2013, all members of the band were high school students. Three of them started a band called “Soundwave,” and played as a pep band throughout the school district. The band members went their separate ways, but three years ago reunited and added more members. The band, whose members reside throughout the state of Missouri, are captivating audiences everywhere they go.

The Amarugia Ridge Runners

Their name comes from the Amarugia Highlands, a conservation area about 50 miles south of Kansas City. The area has historically been home to moonshiners and music. The band describes themselves as “a group of young and adventurous musicians raised in the deep history and folklore surrounding the highlands.” Their connection to this land and love of history, they say, is what has drawn them together.

The band members include John Allin on banjo and harmonica, Alan Boss on drums, Clay Dahman on guitar and lead singer, Jesse Bauerle on bass and vocals, and Michael Turnbo on violin. They started by playing hard blue grass music, but have been experimenting with different sounds.

“We’ve changed our sound quite a bit,” John explained. “We now do a little bit of everything. All of our music is based on bluegrass, country, blues and honky tonk.”

The band first played at the Lake two years ago when they were hired by Barstool Mountain Saloon. “They called us and that’s how we got our foot in the door,” John said. “Since then we’ve become popular at the Lake. We still play there often, along with other venues around the area.” The five-member band sometimes plays as an acoustic trio. Members adapt and play different roles in this case.

The Amarugia Ridge Runners.

The Amarugia Ridge Runners play both original and cover music. They all collaborate on writing the music for their original songs, and member Clay writes most of the lyrics. They currently have an album called Soles of My Shoes that is available on Spotify, I Tunes, YouTube and Google Play Music. They have also been spending time in the studio finishing Midwest Millionaires, a second album featuring 12 original songs.

The Amarugia Ridge Runners.

The band has opened for several known artists, including Kevin Galloway, Dallas Moore, Eric Bowlander and the Steamboat Bandits. They travel extensively and have played in venues throughout the state of Missouri, Montana, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, Arkansas and more. Their focus is to play more festivals and opening slots for bigger bands so that they can perform more of their original music. This year they will also be playing the Pickin on Picnic festival in St. Claire, along with a group of well- known artists.

The band has accomplished much over the past few years, including releasing their record, putting their songs on music apps, and meeting new friends. Every step of the way, they said, they’ve had the love and support of their fans. “We spend so many hours together on the road, practicing and writing,” John said. “We really are more like a family.”  

The Amarugia Ridge Runners has a Facebook page which lists all their upcoming events.

The Amarugia Ridge Runners.