"Busking is a European term for performing on city streets, subways, and at outdoor markets for tips," reads the inside cover of the 7th Day Buskers CD Long Live the Caboose. "We do this on Sundays."
Shawn P. Rohlf founded the band in 1997 while playing guitar, banjo, and harmonica with a rotating roster of players on Sundays at the Hillcrest farmers' market. The former Minnesota farm boy says, "Before I moved here, I spent two years in Amsterdam and Ireland as a street musician, playing for tips. I stood out a lot in both places, since I was probably one of only two or three banjo players in the whole country."
Performing acoustic originals and traditional roots music (folk, blues, bluegrass, alternative country, and thanks to that European jaunt, Irish), the Buskers still occasionally play the market (10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday in the DMV parking lot near Park and Washington). The band won a 2004 San Diego Music Award for "Best Americana."
The band released the album Fool's Grass in 2004, with a lineup consisting of Rohlf (also a whitewater river-rafting guide), Dobro player Robin Henkel (who, years ago, gave Rohlf guitar lessons), fiddler Melissa Harley, and upright bassist Ken Dow.
Their 2010 album Tiny Xs was released on Rohlf's own indie label Shubzu. The lineup for that album includes Rohlf (acoustic 6 and 12 string guitars, vocals, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, electric guitar and percussion), singer/guitarist Alex Watts (Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash), singer/bassist Jef Kmak (Joey Harris & the Mentals), singer/drummer T Bone (Lady Dottie & the Diamonds), and pedal steel player Dave Berzansky (Hacienda Brothers).
In Autumn 2010, the band changed their name to Shawn Rohlf and the Buskers.