fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

The Brothers Reed release 'Monster in My Head'

America’s longstanding courtship with folk music spans well beyond living memory. However, far from fading to obsolescence, this root-inspired genre is at the apex of a full force revival. A welcome addition, contemporary folk duo The Brothers Reed is defined by harmonic play between Aaron and Philip Reed — the Missouri-raised siblings who create gripping melodies enhanced by naturally complementary vocal styles.

The guitar and vocal duo will debut its newest CD, "Monster in My Head," at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 19, at Brickroom Gathering House, 35 N. Main St., Ashland. Cover is $10; $7 in advance at Music Coop, 268 E. Main St.

“I think it comes from our shared genetics," Aaron Reed says. "I’ve sang with so many different people, people who have amazing voices, but it’s always been a lot of work. With me and Phil there’s no work. Within a couple minutes we know exactly where it’s got to be.”

While Aaron Reed concedes there are struggles associated with all forms of musical collaboration, he attributes The Brothers Reed’s success to the strength of a familial bond.

“We can be jerks to each other sometimes and it doesn’t matter," he says. "We’re very intense and passionate about music, but we will give in to each other.”

This shared passion is reflected in The Brothers Reed’s first studio album “Sick as Folk.” In true Americana fashion, these songs are birthed on the fretboard of a steel-string guitar.

“Ninety percent of everything we write comes from a guitar lick," Reed says. "It really has to do with what mood you’re in. You can hit an E chord one day and you won’t hear anything, there will be no feeling. Then another time you’ll hit it and because of where you are something will present itself.”

Once completed, these instrumental musings are given life by stories told in the form of lyrical melody. For Reed, these stories are colored by his perception of the experiences of those around him.

“It’s easier for me to implement metaphor when it’s other peoples’ experiences outside of my personal life," he says. "Despite how much I may try not to, I draw from cynicism. While I try to get some humor out of it, I don’t see butterflies and rainbows necessarily.”

It was this tradition of shared narratives that drew the Reed brothers to folk. Reed believes that a distilled and honest format has ensured the genre’s continued relevance.

“There was always a great underground movement for folk," he says. "It's not all defined by what’s going on currently. I think it’s because it’s so simple, and that it really is storytelling and mood music. It’s something universal and has existed throughout time as long as we have had speech. With folk, it has to be a really good song — a song that will cross time. A lot of stuff in pop is meant to be right now, and it’s only relevant this very second to be sold and forgotten.”

While “Sick as Folk” may have served as an homage to the genre of its namesake, The Brothers Reed are unafraid to progress and expand their sound.

Their new studio album, “Monster in My Head,” promises to be a departure from expectation, implementing the use of a full ensemble including drums, harmonica and keyboard.

“Stylistically the album is all over the place," Reed says. "I’ve had people listen to it and tell me they’re shocked this is a Brothers Reed album.”

Though fans can expect big changes in The Brothers Reed’s overall sound, Reed reassures that “Monster in My Head” is cohesive in its focus on the band’s core elements, as well as a refreshing take on folk and their patented style of on-stage banter.

“Even though it changes musically, we have our own voice, and that is reflected in the singing,” he says.


The Brothers Reed — Philip, left, and Aaron — will debut their new CD 'Monster in My Head' at Brickroom Gathering House. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch
The Brothers Reed release 'Monster in My Head'