Brothers collaborate to produce own sound

It’s been a whirlwind year for The Bros. Landreth, who perform Friday, Sept. 23, in Sylvan Lake.

It’s been a whirlwind year for The Bros. Landreth, who perform Friday, Sept. 23, in Sylvan Lake.

The Winnipeg musicians not only landed a 2015 Juno Award for best roots album, but had the surreal moment of having John Oates open for them on stage in Nashville.

The group’s frontman and guitarist, Joey Landreth feels this must be a case of brotherly devotion spawning success — for four years ago, their band didn’t even exist.

Joey and his older brother Dave, a bassist, had been touring as backup musicians for different bands. “I was out with Doc Walker and Emerson Drive and David was with Imaginary Cities…” recalled Joey.

“We had a long, rough tour, and I was missing home and missing my brother.”

Since the two could rarely spend time together, Joey proposed in 2013 that they take a few months off from touring with other people to try writing songs they could perform as a duo.

It turned out to be a collaborative “Lennon and McCartney thing,” recalled Joey. “Dave is more the wordsmith, whereas I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve…”

“We wrote one song, and thought, hey! That’s a pretty good tune, actually…” After jointly writing more songs, they decided they should make a record.

The brothers, whose father is noted Winnipeg musician Wally Landreth, eventually lined up a drummer for their band (Cody Iwasiuk is the current beat man, taking over from Brian Voth) and a second guitarist (Ariel Posen), and began performing live at music festivals around Manitoba.

When their heart-felt breakup song, Let It Lie, the title track of the group’s debut album, gained traction and radio play, the musicians found themselves in the unbelievable position of being nominated for a Juno Award for Best Traditional/Roots Album.

Joey recalled that neither he nor Dave thought they had a hope of winning in a field of nominees that also included Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and Elliott Brood. Since they never prepared an acceptance speech, they found themselves tongue-tied at the podium after their win.

Joey admitted it initially felt odd to beat out more seasoned groups. “Later, I ran into Colin Linden (from Blackie and the Rodeo Kings) and said, ‘You guys should have won.’ But he told me, ‘Naw, man, we didn’t need it… You guys do.’”

The brothers are gratified by the peer recognition — which has also been extended to them by American musician John Oates.

The Hall & Oates member, who has the same agent as The Bros. Landreth, liked the Canadian group’s sound so much, he volunteered to open for their Nashville concert with his three-piece band.

“(Oates) said, ‘I don’t do this as a headline spot… Would you mind if I opened for you?’ recalled Joey. “It was kind of ridiculous!” — and a huge honour.

While the Juno Award hasn’t astonishingly altered the musicians’ lives, Joel has noticed it’s easier to get show bookings now and The Bros. Landreth are drawing larger audiences.

They look forward to performing the local Autumn Leaves concert, part of Sylvan Lake’s Jazz at the Lake music series. “You know you’ll be playing for a crowd that’s there to listen to your music,” unlike at bars where people laugh and talk, said Joey.

He grew up listening to his sideman dad, as well as Boz Scaggs, John Hiatt, Lyle Lovett and Ry Cooder, while his classmates were into standard rock or pop. “People used to tell me that I was born at the wrong time, but it turns out that I was born at exactly the right time! It’s a good time to be here, performing (roots) music,” concluded Joey, referring to the folk revival with younger listeners.

“There’s a lot of bad music out there that’s being force-fed to people…” he added, while roots music has more honest themes. “People need this music,” because it taps into the human condition.

For more ticket information about the band’s 8 p.m. show at Alliance Church in Sylvan Lake, please visit www.jazzatthelake.com.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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