When the stresses of life get to Alex DePue, he opens his door and takes a walk.
The Pacific Ocean is minutes away, and there are few things in the world that can put life in perspective as quickly as that expansive body of water.
“You can always catch the sunset here. It’s almost like a movie set,” DePue says.
Here is Ensenada, Mexico, a coastal city located 78 miles south of San Diego on the Baja California Peninsula. This has been home for the Bowling Green native and world-class violinist for the past six years. He moved there to be close to his friend and musical collaborator Miguel de Hoyos, a flamenco guitarist revered in Tijuana.
This is the latest step in DePue’s journey. For years he was known as a fiddler — Chris Cagle’s steadying influence on stage during Cagle’s heyday a decade ago. He later collaborated with legendary rock guitarist Steve Vai on a project that earned the musicians a grammy nomination.
Throughout his adult life, his most cherished gig has been performing with his brothers, Jason, Wallace, and Zachary.:Jason is a member of the first violin section of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Wallace is a concertmaster for the Philadelphia POPS; and Zachary is a concert master for the Indianapolis Orchestra.
The DePue Brothers Band created a style of music known as grassical — a merging of bluegrass and classical.
“Imagine a symphony orchestra with a bluegrass groove, a banjo, acoustic guitar, bass, drums,” Alex DePue says.
The brothers have been around the world together and separately in their careers. But there is still one place that is common ground for them: Bowling Green. Their father, Wallace DePue, Sr., was a longtime music professor at Bowling Green State University. He began his sons on their musical journey and still calls the Wood County city home.
And they will return home next month for Christmas, and continue an annual tradition.
“My father for decades has been composing a Christmas carol. There was this one — in the early ’90s — that just sticks out in our memories,” DePue says.
It is called “When It’s Christmas Time,” and it is the name of the brothers’ Christmas album, which will be available at CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, and Rhapsody beginning next week. Alex rearranged the title track and the brothers added their own bluegrass, jazz, and classical groove to several Christmas tunes. They are joined on the recording by Mike Munford, who was recently named International Bluegrass Association’s banjo musician of the year.
The album is dedicated to their father. There is always musical magic in the air when four of the world’s best violinists sit down to play music. And maybe the latest offering from the revered retired college professor will spark a future project. But more than anything, Alex is looking forward to the bonding time with his family. Mexico is beautiful, and the food is unforgettable, but there’s no place like home.
“My dad’s 81 years old. We cherish those moments home with him. We don’t know how much longer he’s going to be around, so when we come home for Christmas, it’s a very special time.”