by Scott Roos
photos as marked
To many, The Brothers G, a blues/rock power trio made up of brothers Jason (guitar/vocals) and Jordan Gall (drums/vocals), with friend Elias Brevik (bass) may be best known for their work as “sidemen” to singer-songwriter Kit Langfield and the comic, country music stylings of Jolie Blue. To each of these artists, the threesome have arguably created the sonics that enhance and improve the overall vibe. They have proven their adaptability time and time again causing many within the Saskatchewan music scene to sit up and take notice.
When referring to the “sidemen” work that the band does, Jordan saw it as an opportunity for the group to branch out, challenging each member in different and unique ways.
“It’s a really fun kind of break for ourselves…. We get a good rush from playing (different styles) of music and getting that diversity going,” Jordan told NSMZ in a recent ZOOM call.
Hailing from the small town of Hafford, Saskatchewan, a town that, in their own words is, “in the middle of nowhere", the three guys learned their craft early on. The dusty streets of small town rural life likely not presenting much to wile away the hours, and the unforgiving cold forcing many indoors, the opportunity presented itself early on for them to pick up instruments and methodically figure out how to use them. They made use of the opportunities locally when they were made available, and when those were exhausted, they started to venture out to Saskatoon which was about an hour's drive away.
“When we were starting up. I guess I would have been 13, Jason was ten, eleven years old there were a couple of bars locally. The school (used to) always put on a music festival. There was definitely more music and entertainment stuff going on when we were just starting to play,” Jordan continued.
“We all come from farming backgrounds and the three of us in the Brothers G all didn’t follow the cliche or the stereotype for what a kid in Hafford is supposed to be doing, I guess. We didn’t play football. We just just strayed away from the line in a way,” Jason related.
The guys, like many who come up through the blues scene in the Saskatoon area (Shaun Verreault of the famed Widemouth Mason included), cut their teeth at the renowned Buds on Broadway at first playing the afternoon jams and then later graduating to full fledged headliners in their own right. Their talent must have been undeniable as was the palpability of their drive to continue advancing up the ladder.
“We definitely owe a lot to that whole (Buds On Broadway) scene,” added Jordan, “We were really fortunate. They gave a bunch of hillbilly kids a chance to get on stage and let loose and the people seemed to enjoy it so we kept coming back…''
*Photos by Melanie Macpherson
Fast forward a few years and The Brothers G have just released their debut, self-titled full length via Powder Room Recordings. Everything was done “in house” in the Gall’s home studio set-up in Hafford. Each track, at least instrumentally, was recorded live off the floor with the vocals being added in later with the exception of “Black Gold” and “Copycat Blues” which was entirely done live off the floor.
“We have a little studio (in Hafford) that we built in our parent’s garage. We’ve (tracked everything) in there. It's all homegrown. That’s how we like to do things: in house,” Jordan explained.
“We were just trying to present ourselves in the songs that we had been playing live for the last two years as you would hopefully hear it in a club,” Jordan added.
Sonically, then, the record has a rawness to it. The organic nature of the whole thing has blues/rock leanings to be sure but also has a kind of psychedelic edge letting everything all hang out; sort of like a keyboardless Steppenwolf or pre-Machinehead era Deep Purple, Hendrix, Big Brother and the Holding Company… Something like that with a touch of twang and some garage rock thrown in for good measure. Brevik even launches into an Entwistle (The Who) style bass solo run on the rambunctious, irreverent rocker “Bitch Got a Gun”.
“I draw influence from a lot of different genres of music and different musicians. I wouldn't say that (playing like John Entwistle) is out of the realm of possibility or that he was in my head when I did that. A lot of what I come up with though it's kinda hard... I think about the song and what it needs and my brain almost just puts my lines underneath it. I experimented around with it and that's what came out.
“That's really all the music we listen to is primarily from 1968 to 1970 really. That's our shit right there,” said Jason, “I think the thing with music like that and what draws us to it is how organic and how natural it is and how raw it is and that's exactly what we wanted to accomplish with this record is let's just be down and dirty and greasy and just show that to people.”
It’s interesting to hear the influences when they’re a band known for not necessarily looking the part. Often donning dusty Levis and cowboy hats, when The Brothers G take the stage, the expectation is probably that they are about to rip a solid country track and while there is a BIT of that in their sound it’s definitely not as prominent as you think it would be on this record.
“We like playing rock n roll in cowboy hats, that's pretty much what we do,” Jason confessed.
When it comes to The Brothers G that pretty much sums it all up.