After seeing The Barr Brothers for the first time in Toronto for Canadian Music Week, I have to say I was seriously impressed with their work.
It was invigorating, especially when I was feeling extreme burnout from attending a bunch of shows in such a short period of time; The Barr Brothers raised my spirits with their cerebral, harp influenced bluesy rock.
The Barr brothers have a story to tell: Whether it’s a story about having epic battle in front of the living-room television while growing up in Toronto, or the story about how the modern day version of the band formed in Montreal. For the Brothers, there is always a story to tell.
The Brothers had spent most of their early musical carrier in The Slip, a band that would eventually disbanded to form The Barr Brothers. That Spring the band played in a venue in the Plateau, which happened to catch that fire. After that incident, seeing it as a good omen, only one year later, Brad and Andrew Barr moved to Montreal.
Brad lived in the same apartment with Sarah Page, a classically trained harpist from Montreal, who had an itch for experimentation. Her music seep through Brad’s wall and eventually he would ask her to join the group.
The group now consists of Brad Barr (guitar, vocals), Sarah Page (harp, voice), Andrew Barr (drums, voice), Andres Vial (bass, keys, voice).
And boy! do they have their sound down; the way they perform together creates incredibly ominous ambience-especially with the amazing sound coming from ethereal harp. What can I say? I have a soft spot for harps and violins.
The variance fo their music is also very intriguing; as it can sway between Buddhist position on a top of a mountain with songs like Beggar in the morning, to an ally way blues cover of Lord I Just Keep From Cryin’.
Their last album recorded in their makeshift studio in an old boiler room was written over the course of adopting their new city, Montreal. Along with Sarah (Lhasa DeSela/Amon Tobin), the record also features Miles Perkin (Lhasa DeSela), Elizabeth Powell (Land of Talk), Nathan Moore, Jocie Adams (The Low Anthem), Elvis Perkins and Emma Baxter, and is beyond excellent.
What did you expect an army of elves on horseback?
With influences in experimental, folk and Japanese classical music, they bring exotic and wonder of new sounds in your ear. After listening to a few tracks how can you not want to see them live in concert?
Check out The Barr Brothers and Elfin Saddle on Thrusday, June 2 @ Cabaret Mile End
5240, Avenue du parc
doors / show: 8:30pm / 9:30pm
Tickets: $12.00 or $15.00 at the door
Photo Courtesy of Chris Zacchia