The Memory Brothers
2013 - Band
Band Members: Doug Koempel, Larry Crandall, Lefty Schrage, Kevin Conner, Mike Williams,
Mike Flack, Christopher Jon Furman, Dave Christopherson, Keith Zeller
Doug Koempel and Larry Crandall of West Union, Iowa, formed the Memory Brothers duo in the late 1960s. As original members of the IRRMA Hall of Fame group, the Rubber Band, Doug and Larry broke away from that five-piece band in 1969 to go on the road playing the night club circuit as the Memory Brothers. Their trademark was upright piano, acoustic guitar and close harmony vocals, similar in style to the Everly Brothers.
In 1977 Crandall retired from the road to spend more time with his young family, and Koempel continued touring with new partner, Kevin Conner, also from West Union, Iowa. Conner had just graduated from Luther College and had already established himself on the college coffeehouse circuit as a songwriter/performer playing solo gigs.
Koempel and Conner worked together for the next 13 years touring extensively and releasing several albums of original material including: Yellow River Serenade, Time and Distance, Memory Brothers and Good Friends, Tightrope and Waiting for your Love. During this time, Koempel was also signed to Chart Records in Nashville, and he released two singles and the album, Sayin’ Good-Bye.
By the early ‘90s Conner married and left the band as a permanent member. Nevertheless Koempel continued performing throughout the Upper Midwest with new partners, Mike Williams, Mike Flack, Christopher Jon and Dave Christopherson – rotating them in and out of the line-up depending on the location of the gigs. In the mid-90s he began working again with his original partners Crandall and Conner. Within the past five years, Koempel added Midwest Music Hall of Fame rocker, Keith Zeller and the esteemed steel guitarist, Lefty Schrage to the Memory Brothers’ roster.
The Memory Brothers made many memories of their own in recording sessions with D.J. Fontana (Elvis’ original drummer), Buddy Emmons, Jimmy Bryant, Janie Fricke, Ronnie McDowell, Pete Drake and Bud Logan. They also played in some of Iowa’s most noted venues, including the Matters Ballroom, Nob Hill Ballroom, Electric Park Ballroom and the Surf Ballroom.
Now in his 47th year of making music, Koempel has recently assembled a new iteration of the group which he calls the Memory Brothers LARGE Band. This version of the Memory Brothers features various combinations of all previous members and has become a hit with the band’s large and loyal following.
For more information, including a complete history of the Memory Brothers, log on to their official website at: memorybrothers.com.