The Bros. Landreth, a Canadian roots rock group that features siblings Joey and David Landreth, holed up in a straw bail house last year in the dead of winter to record their new album Let It Lie. Somehow they overcame the elements to deliver an album that’s drawn comparisons to the Eagles, the Allman Brothers and Jackson Browne. So what was it like recording in the dead of winter?
“It was amazing,” says bassist David Landreth who recently phoned from a tour stop in Newport, Kentucky, as the band was in the middle of its first extensive stateside tour that brings it to the Beachland Tavern at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday “It was super exciting. We were finally making our own music. We had been in the studio with other bands. It was a fresh experience to be at the helm instead of taking orders. The actual studio is a thing to behold. It’s in the middle of the sticks. It was an incredibly cold winter. We caught a really bad cold snap. It was a hibernating experience. We holed up in this place. It was inhumanly cold outside. We just tried to make some warm music.”
Prior to forming the Bros. Landreth, the two brothers played in different bands as sidemen. They eventually realized that they had grown tired of playing other people’s songs.
“We were both at the end of pretty challenging tours,” Landreth says. “We were both feeling burned out. Joey said we should start something just for fun. He wanted us to do it in between other gigs as a creative release. We wrote some songs and we figured we might have some mojo there. It took over and now it is the main gig. Everything else happens between this. That was about two years ago and we started recording in January of 2013. It wasn’t that long ago.”
The album includes "I Am the Fool," a song originally written by their father, renowned Winnipeg musician Wally Landreth. The brothers’ dad also stopped by the studio to sing a verse on "Runaway Train."
“Our dad was a touring musician,” Landreth explains. “It’s s similar story. He was a sideman in a lot of bands. He also recorded his own album in 1991 so it’s safe to say that we followed in his footsteps in that respect. Mom was an incredibly musical person. She played some piano and sang and had a great music collection.”
Most of the tracks, however, concern a break-up (or two).
“Some of it was cheeky and some of it was really profound,” says Landreth. “There’s one song that’s not about a break up and not about a lousy boyfriend. But just one.”
Driven by a beefy organ riff, “Our Love” is a killer track that shows just how hard the band can rock when it wants to.
“Joey started writing that song almost ten years ago,” Landreth says. “It took him almost ten years to write. That’s just love slipping away and trying to come to terms with it. The record is covered in keyboards. That song is like our Black Crowes tune. We’ve taken it through every permutation. You could joke and say it’s like a bossa nova mid-tempo jazz song. We worked it over before settling on how we play it now.”
It also suggests the band might be louder in the live setting.
"We try to play the songs the way we play them on the record, but we’re players and we take great joy exploring the songs musically," says Landreth. "We wouldn’t be satisfied to just run them down night after night. Sections start to pop and you work in a moment and find a new harmony. For us, it’s a slow drift.Landreth hopes that "slow drift" translates to building a stateside audience too.
"We want to play for folks and spread some joy through music," he says. "It’s going to be a big year for us; we managed to connect with some real fantastic people in the States who are strong champions and believe in what we’re doing and we’ll hit the road early in 2015 and spend lots of time in the States. It’s hard enough for anyone to make it in the States, even if you’re from there. There are other challenges and complications that come if you’re from north of the border. We’ll take it in stride and give it our best shot."