By Michael Lello
Photo by Jason Riedmiller
If the Brummy Brothers gained some new fans when they played the Susquehanna Breakdown festival in May, those new followers will have a chance to see the New Jersey band in Scranton again on July 4, when the bluegrass/jamgrass group plays the Backyard Ale House.
“It was great,” mandolin player Eric Brumberg said of the large-scale event at The Pavilion at Montage Mountain. “Our album release was three days after, so we decided to start selling the album there, which was a great idea. We were excited to play with a lot of great bands and did pretty well on that first day of sales.”
The Brummy Brothers have a busy summer, with tour dates stretching from June through September and winding through New England and the Mid-Atlantic region. It’s a sign of growth for a band that formed only two and a half years ago.
Brumberg, who is joined the band by his bass-playing brother Dave, Andrew Morris (guitar) and Russell Gottlieb (banjo), said that the latest popularity spike in acoustic music has helped the band reach a larger audience.
“The type of thing we’ve experienced over the past two and a half years is people who don’t even like bluegrass will be at a bluegrass or Americana show, and they’re moving and they’re going to have a good time,” he said. “The thing that’s good for us is we can fit into every type of music festival. We were even offered an electronic music festival. There are hundreds of bluegrass festivals, and every jam festival has at least one bluegrass band. Even if you look at some of the oldest running festivals in the country, they’re folk festivals.”
That said, the Brummy Brothers are not a strictly traditional bluegrass act.
“We all have roots in classic rock and stuff like that,” Brumberg said. “You can see that in our cover choices. Almost all our cover choices are Queen and bands like that, bands you wouldn’t expect from a bluegrass band.
“One of our favorite bands is New Grass Revival, basically the guys who started the whole newgrass thing. A lot of that type of stuff. We’re all big Grateful Dead fans and Phish fans and stuff like that.”
Another well-known band that figures into the Brummy Brothers’ story is Railroad Earth. The band’s violinist Tim Carbone produced the Brummy Brothers’ debut album, “On Our Way.”
The band were fans of RRE and Carbone, and someone suggested they enlist him as producer, Brumberg said.
“Things went really well, we got along really well,” Brumberg said. “We told him what we wanted from him and vice versa, and it ended up being a perfect fit. . . . Also he really showed us how to give the song what it needs to be its best. So if there’s too much going on, you want to pull back, which is something we really didn’t think of.”
Brumberg also spoke highly of Cabinet, which hosted Susquehanna Breakdown. The Brummy Brothers played with Cabinet twice before, at the now-closed Blockley in Philadelphia along with Floodwood, and at Gypsy Sally’s in Washington, D.C.
“It’s always good playing with bands that are at a higher touring level than you are,” Brumberg said. “Even if you don’t pick up all their fans, you’re going to pick up at least a few new fans who wouldn’t have known you otherwise.
“Those guys are just great guys in general, so we love playing with them.”