Brothers and Sisters Shows
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About Brothers and Sisters
Brothers and Sisters is a band out of time. Led by real-life siblings Will and Lily Courtney, their music entirely lacks the calculated cool of contemporary indie rock and seems totally oblivious to the cynical machinations of the music business. In an indie world currently hell-bent on exhuming the still-warm corpse of post-punk, Brothers and Sisters reach back to a sunnier age, when idioms as disparate as polished West Coast pop, rock and roll choogle, AM radio balladry and classic country could still rub up against each other at the same hazy Topanga canyon party. Live, the music called up by this stage-cluttering eight-piece alternately evokes classic-rock gods like the Band and Buffalo Springfield alongside songwriters such as Dennis Wilson, Jimmy Webb, and the Mamas and the Papas’ John Phillips on his out-of-print classic John, the Wolf King of L.A.
Brothers and Sisters’ eponymous siblings are the children of Ragan Courtney and Cynthia Clawson, respectively a Baptist preacher and a Grammy-winning independent gospel artist dubbed “The Christian Barbra Streisand” both for her voice and for her support of the Christian gay community (the latter of which got her excommunicated from Christian radio). When he was six, the Courtney parents took young Will to a Beach Boys concert and it was over; he decided to become a musician. As a kid he sang in Houston’s Post Oak Boy’s Choir and before long was recording songs for childrens’ records and commercials. When he was old enough to get out of Houston, Will headed to L.A. – home of his idols the Beach Boys, Love, and the Flying Burrito Brothers.
After stints in short-lived bands and some work with Zander Schloss (The Circle Jerks, Joe Strummer) and Ric Menck (The Pernice Brothers, The Tyde), Will grew frustrated when the excesses of the L.A. music scene stymied productivity, so he took off – driving his pickup down to Austin, Texas to start a band with his sister. Their self-recorded debut featured a motley crew of Will and Lily’s friends and acquaintances as the backing band; a handful of weeks after that debut was recorded, Brothers and Sisters had grown into a seven-piece. In late 2005, Conrad Keely – the singer of…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – invited Will and Lily to contribute harmonies (and, on one of the song, a lead vocal) on the forthcoming …Trail of Dead record. Shortly thereafter, Keely joined the band as an eighth member, playing violin and keyboards. The ragged sprawl of their live appearances (misunderstanding audience members have all-too-frequently compared Brothers and Sisters to a cult) sparked attention, and gigs with friends in Okkervil River, The Court and Spark, The Tyde and …Trail of Dead – as well as an appearance at Austin’s SXSW music festival – quickly made Brothers and Sisters a favorite with Austin crowds.
This fall, the band has plans to follow up their debut with a record incorporating lessons learned from their ever-evolving live shows; following that, they’ll head out for their second U.S. tour opening for …Trail of Dead and The Blood Brothers, piling in a van for several months and lapping the country twice, an epic, roving family affair.
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