"What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams." - Werner Herzog
Interior; montreal 2008; cross-section of two adjoining apartments.
Brad Barr and Sarah Pagé meet when Sarah's harp playing drifts through the thin walls separating their two apartments. He is inspired and attempts to learn her music through drywall. They meet and become friends. Sarah, an experimental harpist, had been playing with various orchestras and performing with the esteemed singer Lhasa de Sela. Brad, a recent transplant from the US, had played for years with his brother Andrew in the Providence/Boston based band The Slip. He had followed Andrew to Montreal after a fire in a Montreal club they were playing sparked a romance that took them over the border. The two brothers and Sarah began playing and recording together in their makeshift studio, ultimately producing their debut record, The Barr Brothers, "…a dusty journal of hushed Americana, West African grooves, and voyeuristic lyrics, rich with artifacts…".
Exterior; the Grand Canyon, 2012; band is set up on the rim.
Rounded out by multi-instrumentalist Andrés Vial, the four band members have been touring relentlessly since their record was released on Secret City Records. The wiling quartet decides to set up on the rim of the Grand Canyon and asks the tourists to film the charade on iPods. Its been a long year with many miles and shows. Its hot, and the band is prone to such hallucinatory daydreams. Along their travels, amongst the many highs and lows, they performed on the David Letterman Show, opened for Emmylou Harris, lost as much gear as they'd purchased, been nominated for a Juno award, played festivals from Iceland to Portland, and learned how to make mojitos.
Interior; recording studio; 3am; 2013; a half-glass of whiskey sits on a Hammond organ.
The four members of the Barr Brothers sit behind their instruments in a large wooden room in Montreal--a recording studio built in the 70's(and decorated as such). They have enlisted the engineering skills of Ryan Freeland(B. Raitt, R. Lamontagne) to help them record and mix their second album, Sleeping Operator. They record everything live, including vocals. By the end of the year, after working in several different studios(including a session in Iceland with Valgier Siguròson(Bjork, Sigur Ros)), and many friends coming in to lend their voices, they will have recorded nearly 40 songs. They will have whittled the album down to 13. Sleeping Operator is a bold, dense release, an expansion on a continuum that they set out upon when they tip-toed into the unknown.
At 4am, the drummer types a letter to the head of the record company. It reads:
I imagine this record may seem a little confounding at this point, but we're starting to have some clear and united visions of the thing - it's getting pretty exciting.
here's my current two cents on the work as a whole:
in the time since we started making this record with Ryan, there have been two weddings, two babies, many miles clocked on the international road. needless to say it's been a liberating, joyous, but also intense time for us with a lot of major life changes.
this record, to me, reflects a complexity that is perhaps beyond what we've done before. not complicated musically, just complex. it has a wooly and warm weight to it - a big soft ruby blanket - a weight that is welcome and liberating--maybe a lot like these changes that we go through as we grow up a bit, build communities and families, etc.
we'd like the artwork to be Brigitte's diamond. this image to me has a primal, yet "from-another-planet" feel to it, and has all of the rust and beauty that we seek in our music.
ok, those are my musings from the studio couch. rough mixes on their way!
call me if you want to talk.
Limited Edition Vinyl of 2015 EP Alta Falls is out April 29th on Secret City Records!
The Barr Brothers are thrilled to announce a string of headline tour dates, taking the band throughout the northeastern U.S. during the month of May. The Barr Brothers were also announced to play two festivals, Osheaga in Montreal and Meadowgrass in Colorado. All of these dates are in addition to the four U.S. tour dates this spring supporting My Morning Jacket, including a stop in Colorado at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre. All dates are listed below. The Barr Brothers will also be releasing a limited edition 10" colored vinyl of their 2015 EP Alta Falls, which will be available for purchase on tour beginning April 27 and in stores on April 29.
To support today’s announcement, The Barr Brothers released a live video for their single “Love Ain’t Enough” from the previously released album Sleeping Operator (2014) . The video was recorded at a sold-out Le Métropolis in Montreal on November 4, 2014 and demonstrates the power of the band’s live show. Of the band’s live show, The Independent in the U.K. says that “playing with feverish, frenzied joy, each band member remains sharp and precise”.
The Barr Brothers' second album, Sleeping Operator, was released in late 2014 on Secret City Records and the band hasn't stopped working since, sharing stages with The War on Drugs, Shakey Graves, and Calexico among many others. From a feature interview with NPR's Weekend Edition, a Morning Becomes Eclectic performance on KCRW, and performances on CBS Saturday Morning and the Late Show with David Letterman, raves for the album and band were heard all over the world.
04.27.16 Oklahoma City OK @ The Criterion #
04.28.16 Houston TX @ Revention Music Center #
05.04.16 Portsmouth NH @ 3S Artspace
05.05.16 Providence RI @ Columbus Theatre
05.06.16 Woodstock NY @ Midnight Ramble at Levon Helm Studios
05.07.16 Burlington VT @ ArtsRiot
05.19.16 Portland ME @ Port City Music Hall
05.20.16 Bethlehem NH @ The Colonial Theatre
05.26.16 Indianapolis IN @ Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn #
05.28.16 Black Forest CO @ Meadowgrass Festival
05.29.16 Morrison CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre #
07.29-31.16 Montreal QC @ Osheaga
# with My Morning Jacket
Grand Événement TD
The Barr Brothers
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
Tuesday June 30th
9h30 PM / FREE
Scène TD - Place des Festivals
In continued support of the album Sleeping Operator, The Barr Brothers surprised fans with the immediate release of a new EP entitled Alta Falls. The band recorded 40 tracks in the process of making Sleeping Operator - 13 of these songs made it on the album and Alta Falls unveils 5 more.
Buy Alta Falls on iTunes || Listen to the EP on Spotify
Of the EP, the band said the following:
We're writing to you from our temporary refuge in Berlin, where the Sleeping Operator tour has led us thus far.
We're very excited to be releasing a new EP this week called Alta Falls. The 5 songs on this record are some of our favorite misfits from the Sleeping Operator sessions. The cover art is by our elusive friend Madame Gilles, whose posters have been anonymously gracing the telephone poles of Montreal for years. At this time, the EP will be available in digital format only.
The Barr Brothers
2. Burn Card
3. Alta Falls
4. Never Been a Captain
5. May 4th
The Barr Brothers had the good fortune to stop by for a chat and a session with the great "Whispering" Bob Harris at BBC Radio 2 last time they were in the UK.
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We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada. Nous reconnaissons l'appui financier du gouvernement du Canada.