The Bitter Liberals is a brand new collaboration between four longtime local musicians, Allen Kitselman, Mike Jewell, Clark Hansbarger, and Gary McGraw featuring all original music inspired by high-end mixology.
The Bitter Liberals have a long and convoluted musical history.
Allen Kitselman – guitar
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Allen Kitselman was raised in Waterford, Virginia where he started playing music at the age of 9. After graduating from Virginia Tech in Architecture, and returning home to live on an Angus farm, he was a founding member of the seminal Virginia band, Genghis Angus. Genghis Angus released 4 albums and worked with Producer, Mike Wanchic (Mellencamp). The band toured nationally for several years and performed on Mountain Stage and E-Town. The band’s, “12 Days” was featured on MTV’s The Real World. Kitselman writes songs from a very personal vantage point. He is a Bug Music writer. He retired from the musical performance in 1999 to concentrate on his Architecture practice and family, but continued to write music and experiment with alternative guitar tunings. In 2011 he encountered the opportunity to play with three kindred musicians and decided to return to performance. He is a practicing Architect and Town Councilman living in Berryville, Virginia with his wife, Laura and son, Dylan. He is a Bitter Liberal.
Clark Hansbarger – guitar
Clark Hansbarger began playing in DC bars with Ambrose Rose, a patchwork jam band befitting the times. After that, because he hated playing covers, he wrote and played originals with the Leesburg rock band Hammer. Their power chords still resonate in the walls of Buchanan Hall. Clark still plays and records regularly with the roots band The Bastards of Twang, a roving compilation of some of northern Virginia’s wiliest musicians. He is a Bitter Liberal.
Mike Jewell – percussion
Mike Jewell has been playing music since he was little. The beginning was church choir because Mom said so. His vocals and percussion have sweetened many a Virginia band including Nova, The James Boys, Genghis Angus, Less Travelled, Reverend Hookems, Bryan Fox and Gary Smallwood Band and The Greenbeets. Add in many thrown together gigs with PRS stunt guitarist Mike Ault and a few other fine musicians, like Leonard Stevens, Craig Gaskins, Benji Porecki, Gary Grainger and so on, forever. He is a Bitter Liberal.
Gary McGraw – fiddle
Gary McGraw has played the violin since he was 3 years old. He started learning by ear using the Suzuki method in Tennessee, touring with Shinichi Suzuki himself and playing Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Omni, and Disney World. During high school in Texas and Tennessee, Gary played in all state orchestras all four years. He also toured Europe with a youth orchestra playing in Carnegie Hall a second time, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Royal Albert Hall (among other venues). Gary learned to improvise in college at the University of Virginia where he played for the first time with Rhine Singleton. He played with the Charlottesville Symphony for four years as well as playing out in Charlottesville with Grassroots. During grad school and after, Gary picked up the mandolin and worked hard on improvisational style. He played with Gricklegrass for a couple of years in Winchester, Va. His band Where’s Aubrey gradually coalesced into existence and began recording all original music in 2001. Where’s Aubrey has recorded 6 CDs. Since 2006, Gary has attempted to channel Stephane Grappelli with Hot Club Millwood. Gary plays a violin made in Paris between 1750 and 1800—a Gagliano clone. His mandolin is a Flatiron. While not playing music, Dr. McGraw raises two boys with his wife Amy Barley, writes books about software security, and helps run Cigital. He is a Bitter Liberal.
Contact the Bitter Liberals by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Photography: Amy Barley