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The Bros. Landreth Share Their Thoughts About New Album ‘Come Morning’

Acclaimed duo chat about their new album, which is out on May 6th.

The Bros Landreth
Credit: BNB Studios

The Bros. Landreth are a Canadian roots rock duo consisting of brothers Dave and Joey. Both have had longtime careers are sidemen and instrumentalists, and they come from a family of musicians. Their first album together ‘Let It Lie’ was extremely well received, winning a number of awards in their home country. They’ve also been covered been major artists like Bonnie Raitt, who recorded their song ‘Made Up Mind’ on her latest album ‘Just Like That…’ Read our review of their latest album, ‘Come Morning’ – out tomorrow (Friday May 13 2022)

Well, good afternoon. How are things in the great white north?

Fabulous, man. They are — yeah, sorry. Of course, last minute. Nothing’s working the way it’s supposed to.

This is only my second interview on Zoom. I was a little hesitant to do it because of being onscreen, but it makes recording the interview much easier.

So tell us tell us a little bit about you, Mark before we dive in here.

I do some writing about music. Mostly a lot of roots rock, Americana type stuff. Some blues, a little bit of left-field indie type stuff, a variety of things. I have a day job working in federal contracting. Pretty light thing. I write for a for a site over in the UK, but I live in the Washington, DC area.

Oh, nice. Yeah, we’ll be in your neck of the woods in mid June. Come on down to the show. We’ll make sure you get tickets.

Where are you guys playing?  

We’re at the winery.

City Winery? [Note: City Winery is a chain of concert venues with locations in New York City, the Hudson Valley, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Nashville, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.]

Yeah.

I’m headed up there a week from today to see Ray Wylie [Hubbard. Note: This show was postponed to July.]

Oh, fantastic, that was one of my favorites.

You guys have the new album, Come Morning, coming out. This is your first album working together after doing separate projects for a while. What was it like to get back in the groove of working together?

It’s always such a such a treat to work together. My brother and I have been making music together for a long, long time. So it’s such a special thing that we get to do, it’s something that, especially because we have taken some time off from the Brothers Landreth, it’s something we don’t take for granted. We’ve been working really hard, not just on the music, not just on the production, but also on our mental health. There’s lots to be grateful for right now. The last couple of years has really been like that, has really sort of illuminated that. We gotta count our blessings when we get them because shit can go sideways.

Mental health is something I’ve heard a lot of people talking about. It became very pressing for a lot of people with the big shock of things changing very quickly and very profoundly. For musicians to be off the road, to have their lives disrupted, really threw you guys for a loop.

Absolutely. Just by virtue of what we do, we were kind of like sharks in the sense of, you can’t stop moving. Otherwise, you’ll drown. You got to keep working. I think it’s really easy to sweep things under the rug. Everyone was forced to take a two year hiatus. When you sit still for that long, you realize there’s some loose ends that need tying up. I know a lot of people who have come face to face with some pretty significant struggles and challenges in their health and their mental health. The pandemic has been a really hard time for everybody. But it’s been a good opportunity to do some reflecting, because you’ve got you nothing to hide behind.

Tour is always something that moves very quickly. It’s easy to miss a lot of stuff that’s going on.

I worked on the Obama campaign in 2012. It was crazy: 90 hour work weeks, working from 9 a.m. to midnight. At that pace, everybody is pushed to the limit. Stuff can go to the wayside. When you slow down, you start to notice, there are cracks here that need to be addressed.

We’re not built or meant or evolved to work and push ourselves the way that we do. We’re incredibly adaptable and resilient creatures. We’re really robust that way. But I remember reading in that book Sapiens was such a big, like, airport bestseller for a minute, but they talk about how, in pre-agrarian societies, people worked about 20 to 25 hours a week. They spent the rest of the time just being human beings, sitting around campfires, chatting and visiting and raising their kids. But when it actually came down to the grind they were out there chasing animals in the savanna, across the Arctic? People weren’t clocking 40 to 80 hour weeks ever. With great exceptions, it was actually pretty chill and pretty balanced. It’s no surprise we kind of come apart when we start pushing ourselves really, really hard. 

I read is that the idea of the  clock and the idea of timekeeping is very much a part of the modern world. If you go back even a few centuries, clocks are not something that were very widespread. People didn’t keep track of time in any strict sense. It’s a fairly modern invention.

Even the idea of being punctual is a specifically western, North American cultural thing. It’s not a part of every culture that exists now, , the idea of having ,  more respect for time than people is an interesting thing.

I’m Jewish, and there’s a saying in our, in my community, Jewish time. You tell the time that something is going to start. That means that it’s actually going to start half an hour later. 

My wife’s family are all deaf. It’s the same thing. It’s basically deaf time. When when a deaf person says, “Okay, I’m going to leave now,” you start the timer for another two and a half hours before they’re actually gone. 

You guys have both become fathers in the past couple of years.

Yeah, we have babies. Dave’s got a little two year old, and I got a one year old, and we’re having the time of our lives.

You address on the album with the song “Stay,” and I imagine you have some real conflicted feelings going back to being to your livelihood and touring now that that aspect of your life has changed.

It’s definitely a hard concept to wrap our heads around.  There are few things I love more than playing music with my friends. I should say, there were a few things  I loved more than playing music with my friends. It’s not just my child; of course, she plays a huge part of that. But when the pandemic hit and and we were grounded, I realized how much I love spending time with my wife and how much I love spending time in my house, and with my friends, and on my own, . When Joni, my daughter was born, and [when] Davidson Finn was born a year before her, that feeling just sort of compounded on itself, like, “Oh, this is going to be really hard.” 

In October of last year, I went to Italy for a week to teach a guitar masterclass. I’m in the most beautiful part of it, in Tuscany, in the countryside, being treated way better than I deserve. And I just couldn’t help but feel like I just wanted to go home.  I’m here in the Tuscan countryside, and I’d rather be in the middle of Canada in the winter. 

We still love to do what we do. The idea of “Stay” is not necessarily I don’t want to do my job anymore, that I don’t love my job anymore. But now now there are more important things, and I’m learning how to balance those things so we can still be who we are, but also be the partners and fathers and friends that we need to be.

It’s also been a good experience to, to go through and name some really confusing emotions and feelings, l recognizing the duality of being really excited to go back to work and play, but also being really sad about leaving home and spending time away from your family, and understanding the reality is those two big feelings can coexist in the same space. 

 You don’t have to just be excited about playing music. You don’t have to just need to stay home, you know,  there’s this real deeper, what am I trying to say? There’s a complex spectrum of emotion you can you  vacillate between at all times. I don’t think that’s been difficult.

The Bros Landreth
Credit: Slate Creek / The Bros. Landreth

The geography of it for you guys probably adds into this because you guys are up there in the prairie. To come down here to DC is a long way. It’s not like for some people who are in the United States, where they can go out on a swing for a week or two, then go back home, then go out again. I imagine you guys, when you leave for tour, you’re out for a while. You can’t swing down to the east coast of the United States, hit a few dates, and, then turn around and go home. You’re talking some serious distance. 

Winnipeg not close to anything . Our nearest market  outside of Winnipeg is Saskatoon, a nine hour drive northwest.  To the east is Toronto, [a] 26 hour drive. It’s absolutely a commitment. It’s something that we love to do. But it’s not like driving from Brooklyn to DC or Baltimore, where you’re a couple couple hours down the road with bad traffic.

Being good at music is not all you need to to do this as a career. You need to be able to handle the rigors of the lifestyle. This is true of anything that requires being on the road, there are some people for whom it is not a healthy life choice, I respect people who realize it is not and say, “This is not good for me.” and back away from it.

We’ve we’ve had lots of dear friends who’ve experienced that. Dave and I are both sober. I’m eight years sober, seven years, I can’t I can’t remember . Dave’s over 10 years sober.  It was,  one of these things has to change, either  the touring needs to stop or the party needs to stop and  neither of us wanted  to stop. So the partying had to stop, for more reasons than just being able to work. There’s all kinds of problems you’re that you’re presented with when you’re an addict. But a lot of people a lot of people fall into that.  A lot of serious addictions are born from born out of just opportunity and and habits. It’s a really tough thing to manage. 

 We do our best to keep our heads healthy and keep our bodies as healthy as we can. It’s kind of tough when you’re living off a gas station food.

Touring is not an easy lifestyle on you physically. It’s hard to get exercise, it’s hard to stay healthy. Throwing alcohol in the mix on that is just asking for trouble. Even if you’re not doing it at an addictive, abusive level. It’s gonna take a toll. 

100%/ Yeah, yeah, it does.

 So let me ask you a couple of few other questions. I don’t want to keep you guys too long. What have you guys been listening to lately that’s really spoken to you.

 Pretty much anything, anything? Ry Cooder, his last release. Well, I don’t  even know if it’s the last release. The Prodigal Son was  was on repeat for a really long time. 

There’s an artist out of Brooklyn I love, Emily King, who’s not really roots Americana. She’s more of a pop artist. I just love her sound in her voice. She and her guitar player produce all of her records and they’re just phenomenal. She’s such a talent. I’m really inspired by her.

I got to see Ry on that tour behind The Prodigal Son. I thought my brain was melting. see only what it was.

We caught him two or three times when he was playing the same festivals and it was just like, man, it doesn’t get any better.

One of the one of them was in Edmonton. Edmonton Folk Fest is one of the premier folk festivals up in Canada and in the world, really one of the nicest festivals.  Our aunt lives there, my dad’s sister. Her father was a big inspiration on us and he’s wanted to turn us on to a lot of this roots music in the first place. We got a chance to sit outside and watch Ry Cooder together, the three of u,  and it was pissin rain, it was really cool. It was one of these really beautiful memories, two generations of Landreths watching, taking in their hero.

That was a cool swing. Great record. Great tour. Killer band.

The only way I can describe seeing Ry: we’re looking at each other like this is definitely really happening, just to make sure. When do you guys leave to go on the road? A little under two months?

Our first dates start at the beginning of June. We’re in Toronto on June 3. Then we  play a handful of shows around the around the GTA, then work our way down across the border and play some shows show stateside. This summer is halfway full of festival dates, then we’re going to Europe in the fall. It’s gonna be really nice here but  work first. The hard work starts for us in June.

Which is probably the ideal time to tour, especially up there where the weather can be a little crazy. The reality is most of Canada is not that that crazy but we happen to live in the downswing of this polar vortex, and we get sub-arctic temperatures. We’ve had snow in every calendar month. But then we also get 100 degree summers. It’s crazy. It’s a crazy place.

Last summer — this wasn’t quite where you are, it was on the west coast– they had those insane, recordsetting temperatures over in Vancouver down to Portland.

I forgot about that.

Yeah, people died. Bonkers.

When we get these unseasonable temperatures, 70 degrees in February here. I enjoy it. But I know it’s not good. 

It’s something morbid and insidious behind it. But at least it’s that cold.

Well, hey, guys. It’s been great talking. I really appreciate you spending the time with me. I look forward to seeing you when you swing through DC this summer.

Yeah, it’s our pleasure. Thanks for making time, Mark. We appreciate it. And and if you want to come down to the show, just reach out the team and we’ll make sure there’s tickets for it.

thank you so much. You guys. Have a great day.

Thanks for chatting with us, Mark.

Buy ‘Come Morning’ by The Bros. Landredth Here

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