Grace van’t Hof and Conner Steven Vlietstra are Sinner Friends.
Disciples of vintage country and old-time gospel music, Sinner Friends tread their own path to confront the contradictions that dwell in the space between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Van’t Hof and Vlietstra share a special kinship that captures the essence of blood harmonies, good fellowship and bad influence.
The duo raise their voices in the redemptive power of song, smash stereotypes and hold accountable a world in which sinners do good, and saints, without doubt, behave badly.
If it’s considered a strength to laugh at yourself, then Sinner Friends has a pow’rful message to share. Who better to bring these ideas to light than two Sinner Friends so well-acquainted with both sides?
With a repertoire of timeless country and enduring gospel classics as well as skillfully-written original tunes, Sinner Friends slyly confront lives lived in misstep and question the inconsistencies of this earthly walk with humor and conviction in equal measure. The two connect to the true spirit of these styles with sweet strains of van’t Hof’s masterful playing on banjo and ukulele, which in turn, compliments Vlietstra’s gifts on acoustic guitar and banjo.
Hate the sin all you want. You’ll love Sinner Friends.
Grace van't Hof
banjos, ukuleles, vocals
Western Michigan’s Grace van’t Hof discovered the banjo in high school when she built a five-string prototype that won second place in a statewide science olympiad. Inspired by her classical background and artists from Charlie Poole to Puccini, her banjo and banjo ukulele playing proffer equal parts rhythm and ornamentation to projects of varied musical genres, though she has never strayed far from the blood harmonies of groups like the Louvin Brothers and the Boswell Sisters.
A founding member of both the Grammy-nominated group Della Mae, and the internationally known oldtime group Bill and the Belles, van’t Hof’s career has taken her around the world.
Now allied with fellow country-duet fanatic Conner Steven Vlietstra, Grace seeks to explore, map, and poke holes in the varied and complicated roles of men and women in early country, bluegrass gospel and old-time music.
Of her time with Bill and the Belles, Rolling Stone Magazine said, “[the band] is committed to helping early country music remain appreciated - not just replicated.”
Conner Steven Vlietstra
guitar, banjo, vocals
Conner Steven Vlietstra is an Oldtime Country musician from Chattanooga, Tennessee with a family from the Mississippi Delta. He began playing Country Blues music on the guitar at the age of 14 and began playing Country music shortly after with the inheritance of his grandfather’s (Papa’s) banjo.
Conner's progression as a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist is fueled by the influence of artists such as Furry Lewis, Uncle Dave Macon, and the Louvin Brothers.
He currently attends ETSU studying Bluegrass, Old Time, Country, and Celtic Music. Most of his time outside of class is spent scouring the internet or antique stores for country music not easily found.
In meeting fellow duet-singer fanatic Grace van’t Hof, Conner found an outlet for his obsession with country duos like the Davis Sisters and the Louvin Brothers.