Spotlight on Adam and David Moss, the twin brother duo known as The Brother Brothers. It’s been three years since this entrancing act released its debut album, Some People I Know. And now, the acclaimed Brooklyn-based band returns this Friday (4/16) with Calla Lily, a smartly crafted collection of songs that were cut at Bear Creek Studio in Washington state. If you love naturally perceptive songwriting and harmony-fueled folk music, Calla Lily has what you’re looking for and more.
5 Questions with The Brother Brothers
1) First, a shout-out to your hometown of Peoria, Illinois. I lived less than an hour from there—about equidistant between Peoria and Springfield—for a few years as a kid. So what are your earliest musical memories there, and who were your early musical influences?
Awesome! I’m not sure the state of affairs nowadays, but when we were younger we benefited from a still alive but dwindling arts program in the schools. We transferred to Roosevelt Magnet School of the Arts (now sadly decommissioned) at 7 years old, and that was the catalyst for all of our beginnings as string players and singers. It had an incredibly huge impact on our futures and it’s sad that it’s not around to inspire kids in Peoria these days.
2) When did each of you start playing music, and what instruments did you first pick up?
We started on strings and piano at the same time at 7 years old. We’ve been singing for as long as we could talk, and harmonizing along with The Beatles and The Everly Brothers for as long as we can remember.
3) It’s no surprise that you have amazing vocal harmony, which is certainly part of your signature sound and very prominent on your new record, Calla Lily. Did you guys study various harmony combinations and have particular influences, or does it all just come naturally for you?
We can confidently say it comes naturally, but we also take great interest and find great satisfaction in a great harmony. The Beatles, Beach Boys, Everly Brothers were a huge influence for us, since that’s what was playing in the car whenever we were driving from place to place.
4) Speaking of the album, it’s a fantastic 10-song collection, including the fascinating, short instrumental “A Poquito Doina.” In fact, every time I listen to the full album, I seem to come away with a different favorite song. What can you tell us about recording this project up in Woodinville, Washington?
It was a beautiful experience. It was definitely the most fully equipped recording session that The Brother Brothers had taken part in, at that moment. We stayed there for 2 solid weeks with our Producer Ryan Hadlock, Engineer Taylor Carroll and our rhythm section Dave Speranza (bass) and Brian Kantor (drums) and just raged! By the time we left, we had the mixed album. It was incredible. Ideas were flying left and right and we were there just trying to get them all down. Super fun.
5) The line in “The Calla Lily Song” that says “Myrtle takes you down to Knickerbocker” is the giveaway that at least part of that song is reminiscing about your days in Brooklyn. But what can you tell us about that song overall, and how Calla Lily then became the title of the album?
When I moved to NYC, I moved to Fort Greene, and then to Bedstuy and then to Bushwick – where I lived in five different places all along Myrtle Avenue. Getting to know myself in the capacity of New Yorkers – and as a New Yorker – was a real struggle for me in those neighborhoods at that time. It wasn’t until I moved out of that area to new neighborhoods, that I realized that the person I wanted to be – didn’t exist there. Most of the songs on the record exist through a lens that reflects upon this era, and therefore it seemed apt to name the album after it.
David Moss – Guitar, Lead Vocal, Cello, Piano, Body Percussion
Adam Moss – Fiddle, Lead Vocal, Wurlitzer, B3 Organ, Tambourine, Guitar
Dave Speranza – Bass, Vocal
Brian Kantor – Drums, Vibraphone, Vocal, Tambourine
Wayne Horvitz – Wurlitzer, B3 Organ, Piano
Mike Robinson – Electric Guitar
Ryan Hadlock – Juno
Taylor Carroll – Tambourine
All songs written by The Brother Brothers (Adam Moss, David Moss) Songs from the Moss Brothers (ASCAP), administered by Domino Publishing Company USA (ASCAP), except
“Waiting For A Star To Fall”, written by The Brother Brothers and Taylor Ashton (SOCAN).
Produced and mixed by Ryan Hadlock
Recorded by Taylor Carroll and Ryan Hadlock at Bear Creek Studios in Woodinville, Washington with assistant engineers Hunter Rath and Mike Rodo
Mastered by Philip Shaw Bova in Ottawa, Ontario
Cover design by Meghan Bass
Cover photo of Calla Lily by Liz Deleo