Underground Sound continues Thursday with The Bros. Landreth
American roots meets harmony-heavy soul with The Bros. Landreth. With influences ranging from Bonnie Raitt’s blues and Lyle Lovett’s twang to Little Feat’s country-rock, this show is for you if you also like Gov’t Mule, The Allman Betts Band, Lukas Nelson and North Mississippi Allstars.
As VPAC executive director Owen Hutchinson pointed out when he introduced Underground Sound to audiences at one of last summer shows, these bands are the “best bands you’ve never heard of.” And The Bros. Landreth is no exception. With a nod to past greats, they ground their sound in contemporary grooves.
The brothers, Joey and Dave Landreth, attended music gigs literally since they were babies; their mother would stick them in a bassinet under bar tables while their father played on stage. After each of the brothers pursued solo careers, they joined forces in 2013 launching their current band, as well as their debut album, “Let It Lie,” which blended their childhood influences with their own musical sensibilities.
The tunes ranged from ones evoking the American South to those celebrating their homeland prairies of Manitoba, Canada. The album won the 2015 JUNO Award for Roots and Traditional Album of the Year — Group. Even Raitt gave it her blessing and later recorded her own version of The Bros. Landreth track “Made Up Mind” in 2022.
While the brothers had grown accustomed to creating an album by assembling a band and rehearsing in the studio, then letting their live shows build band chemistry and inform what to keep, cut and tweak, the pandemic halted that process. COVID-19 forced the brothers to work together basically in seclusion, building songs one instrument at a time for their latest release, “Come Morning.”
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The process of layering, stripping away and re-layering took place in the studio, resulting in new approaches and innovative songs that emphasize mood. Rather than relying on his “fiery fretwork,” Joey understated his guitar approach, pulling out his fire only during key solos. The result: Not only do the songs tell a story, but also, the sounds tell a story, as well.
As first-time fathers, one track, “Stay,” talks about seeking balance between touring and being a family man. “After the Rain” highlights silver linings in dark moments, and “You Don’t Know Me” mourns the loss of a friendship through sparse percussion, soft organ swells and pedal steel work from guest musician Joe Pisapia. Perhaps the core of the album comes through on “Come Morning” and “Corduroy,” which deal with the tense emotions the brothers had built up over the years and wanted to repair with their second album, “’87,” in 2019, but really, had just swept under the rug, according to Joey.
“The overarching theme here is hope,” Joey said. “Many of these songs lean into the tough stuff, like processing emotional trauma and finding strength on the other side. It’s a bit of a myth that you’re ever done working on that. Dave and I have just begun the journey … We’re working through the pain, processing it, unpacking our baggage and beginning to move forward.”
“Come Morning,” along with their current tour, pays homage to two brothers born to play, and collaborate, while singing about hard truths and fresh starts.
- What: The Bros. Landreth with Roman Clarke
- When: 7 p.m. Thursday
- Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center
- Tickets: $150 for the seven-show pass, $34.50 single ticket ($39.50 day of)
- More info: VilarPAC.org