The Brothers Reed to debut new 'Three'

The Brothers Reed to debut new 'Three'

A road tour is more likely to turn into lots of hours behind the wheel than any free-wheeling, Kerouac-esque lifestyle.

"We've been touring," says Aaron Reed of The Brothers Reed. "On Jan. 18, we leave for two months."

Brothers and songwriters Aaron and Philip Reed will make stops on the West Coast and in the Southwest, as well as North and South Carolina, Pennsylvania and New York. They'll push homeward through Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri and Texas, making another swing through New Mexico, Arizona and California.

"It's a bit more than usual," Aaron says. "There will be a lot of driving."

The new tour is to promote the duo's' third studio album, "Three," to be debuted live at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, at the Talent Club, 114 Talent Ave., Talent. At press time, tickets were sold out.

There is evidence of those long hours of reflection — staring at the highway — on The Brothers Reed's new recording ... and it's all good.

"Hey Old Man" and "Right By My Side" are introspective songs that blend ideas about truth and existence with guitar-driven folk and pop melodies, replete with the Brothers' high vocal harmonies.

The duo's 2015 "Sick as Folk" paid homage to the genre of folk and the singer/songwriter tradition. A natural progression to playing with a full ensemble followed in 2016 with "Monster In My Head."

"Three" also is served by a full band — with ace drummer Matt Kriemelman and longtime friend and bassist T.J. Eilers backing up the Reed Brothers on steel-string guitars and harmonica.

The album is a bit more thoughtful than their earlier work, but it's not remiss of the siblings' strong two-part harmonies and songwriting.

"Hoedown in Heaven," a country-rocking ode to Bakersfield sensation Merle Haggard written by Aaron, offers a gentle lyric, "and Merle sings tonight," a strong electric guitar riff and spoken words by T. Poe Varnado.

"I was never a huge listener of Haggard's music," Aaron says. "I'm not a die-hard fan, but I like his music. When he died, it resonated with me somehow."

Other songwriter influences include the likes of Elliot Smith, Townes Van Zandt, Johnny Cash, Joe Pug and Chris Isaak.

A short, lilting piano intro by Phil leads listeners into "Caroline," a song inspired by Van Zandt's late '60s song "Tacumseh Valley," about a miner's daughter turned prostitute. Penned by Phil, cellist Nancy Martin lends to the song's pop melody.

Of the two brothers, Aaron is the sunnier.

His "Waiting Around to Die," "ain't no shame, I'm gonna drive my brother insane," is pure punk bluegrass.

Phil's "Ancient Ghosts" tells of the "morbid symphony I keep putting on repeat inside of me." And "Messed Up World" is all about mistakes made while trying to find one's self.

"That's Phil," Aaron Reed says. "He's the darker one. But he managed to knock himself straight before the age of 18. He figured it out pretty early. That song's all about learning your lesson."

Aaron's "Place Out There" takes a concerned turn and points to the conflict of today's political parties, calling for unification and to a place where love is all there is, a place where no one is scared, and his "Cameron," full of rising two-part harmonies, is about a buddy who died last year of cancer.

The album culminates with "Simply Trying to Find My Way," hopeful, spoken words by Varnado juxtaposed against an instrumental guitar melody by the brothers.

"Three" was produced by The Brothers Reed, recorded at Alida Studios in Ashland, and engineered, mixed and mastered by Aaron. It releases Jan. 6 and will be available at thebrothersreed.com, on digital media outlets Spotify, iTunes and Pandora, and at the Jan. 6 show at the Talent Club.

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