brothers and sisters

Austin, Texas, US
Artist / Band / Musician
Folk Rock / Indie / Country
Calla Lily
Brothers and Sisters
Watch "Breaking Away", "Being There", "The Last Waltz", "Five Easy Pieces"and "Harold and Maude" and you will understand where we are coming from.

Brothers and Sisters is a band out of time. Led by real-life siblings Will and Lily Courtney, their music entirely lacks the calculated cool of contemporary indie rock and seems totally oblivious to the cynical machinations of the music business. In an indie world currently hell-bent on exhuming the still-warm corpse of post-punk, Brothers and Sisters reach back to a sunnier age, when idioms as disparate as polished West Coast pop, rock and roll choogle, AM radio balladry and classic country could still rub up against each other at the same hazy Topanga canyon party. Live, the music called up by this stage-cluttering eight-piece alternately evokes classic-rock gods like the Band and Buffalo Springfield alongside songwriters such as Dennis Wilson, Jimmy Webb, and the Mamas and the Papas’ John Phillips on his out-of-print classic John, the Wolf King of L.A.

Brothers and Sisters’ eponymous siblings are the children of Ragan Courtney and Cynthia Clawson, respectively a Baptist preacher and a Grammy-winning independent gospel artist dubbed “The Christian Barbra Streisand” both for her voice and for her support of the Christian gay community (the latter of which got her excommunicated from Christian radio). When he was six, the Courtney parents took young Will to a Beach Boys concert and it was over; he decided to become a musician. As a kid he sang in Houston’s Post Oak Boy’s Choir and before long was recording songs for childrens’ records and commercials. When he was old enough to get out of Houston, Will headed to L.A. – home of his idols the Beach Boys, Love, and the Flying Burrito Brothers.

After stints in short-lived bands and some work with Zander Schloss (The Circle Jerks, Joe Strummer) and Ric Menck (The Pernice Brothers, The Tyde), Will grew frustrated when the excesses of the L.A. music scene stymied productivity, so he took off – driving his pickup down to Austin, Texas to start a band with his sister. Their self-recorded debut featured a motley crew of Will and Lily’s friends and acquaintances as the backing band; a handful of weeks after that debut was recorded, Brothers and Sisters had grown into a seven-piece. In late 2005, Conrad Keely – the singer of…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – invited Will and Lily to contribute harmonies (and, on one of the song, a lead vocal) on the forthcoming …Trail of Dead record. Shortly thereafter, Keely joined the band as an eighth member, playing violin and keyboards. The ragged sprawl of their live appearances (misunderstanding audience members have all-too-frequently compared Brothers and Sisters to a cult) sparked attention, and gigs with friends in Okkervil River, The Court and Spark, The Tyde and …Trail of Dead – as well as an appearance at Austin’s SXSW music festival – quickly made Brothers and Sisters a favorite with Austin crowds.

Following several months of good press, in December, their song "Without You" was featured on an episode of The OC. The band followed up their debut release and ended their first yearby U.S. touring the US and Canada with .Trail of Dead and The Blood Brothers, piling in a van for several months and lapping the country twice, an epic, roving family affair. The band just finished recording a new EP due out in September. This fall, they will begin recording the second full length record incorporating lessons learned from their ever-evolving live shows.

--Will Sheff (Okkervil River)
“Austin-based eight-peice who sound like Big Star jamming with Neil young (New Life) and The Jayhawks (Without You), The Mamas and the Papas, Byrds, even Ray Davies in a swamp. Country rock ballads and pop perfection, with imperfections in the home-made, one take sound to make it all the more engaging”

-- MOJO Magazine June 2007

"(The) communal vibe contributes to the warm gather-round-the-fire feel of Brothers and Sisters' low-key debut. Most of the songs deal with the quiet sorrows of growing older with too much time and not enough money ("Purple mountains don't mean nothin' unless you're on top"). The gorgeous gem "One Night" couches a plea for nookie into a dappled Byrdsian chime and an irresistable chorus. The tear-in-beer ballad "Old Love Letters" could be a lost track from Grievous Angel. There is nothing pretentious or even ostentatious about this music; one can almost smell the tobacco and old Lone Star beer cans spiked with salt and lime.

-- NO DEPRESSION Jan-Feb 2007

"Wash Away" from Fortunately
Live at Cactus Cafe
Austin, TX - June 10, 2006

"California" from Fortunately
Live at The Parish
Austin, TX - March 31, 2006

"One Night" from Brothers and Sisters

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