With bands like Mumford & Sons, the Avett Brothers and the Decemberists selling millions of records and touring worldwide, it seems like roots music is more popular now than ever. Here in Falmouth our very own Brother’s Rye has a new take on timeless music. This outlaw jug band isn’t your typical acoustic affair. Fresh off a successful concert at world famous Johnny D’s in Somerville, the Brothers are bringing the raucous party back home to Grumpy’s Pub tonight 1/17/2014.
Benjamin Lee Patterson (vocals, banjo and guitar), Josh Dayton (upright bass), Topher Maffei (washboard, percussion) and Ben Riva (fiddle) formed in 2012. During a late night studio session they came up with the name Brother’s Rye and it stuck. Those late nights resulted in The Down Low, an album full of beautiful, raw songs about the high life of Cape Cod summers and the long nights of winter that follow.
They shot a video for the single, “Start It Up Again,” and gained not only a local following but radio play as far south as Virginia and a slot in this year’s upcoming Joe Val Bluegrass Festival.
After a busy summer playing all over the Cape and islands, they are back in the studio working on their sophomore album.
I caught up with Benjamin Lee Patterson and Josh Dayton the other night and talked about writing music, what makes a great live show, and suspenders.
LV: There seems to be a big resurgence of roots music right now. Where do you guys think you fit into that?
BLP: Well, there are a lot of singer-songwriters using the bluegrass instruments; I think what sets us apart is we are more of a good time party band. Being on Cape Cod, if people aren’t dancing and smiling, you aren’t doing your job.
LV: Is there anything about Cape Cod that inspires the music you write?
BLP: It’s definitely one of my main influences. Lots of my songs are about the seasonal changes, the attitude of the people living here and the sense of community.
LV: Do the seasons affect what you do as a band?
BLP: Yeah we’re getting into a rhythm. I try to write in the summer and the fall then get into the meat of recording in the winter. The goal last year was to have an album out by May and this year the goal is to have an album out by May as well.
LV: Do you guys have any influences that might surprise people?
JD: Al Green, baby! Also guys like the great jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, anything with a good deep groove.
LV: What band would you love to go on tour with?
BLP: Devil Makes Three.
JD: Alison Krauss & Union Station so I could sit and watch Barry Bales thump on that thing every night.
LV: What makes Grumpy’s a special place to play?
BLP: Grumpy’s has always been a home because Dave [Fenstermaker] has always made it a place where I could play and bring whatever I was doing to the stage. Since this outfit started he’s been really supportive, even coming to some shows at other places. He always gives us a fair deal. It’s a great venue, the staff is awesome and they’re all friends.
LV: What can people look forward to when they come and see you at Grumpy’s?
BLP: A good old fashion hoedown. We are gonna bring a lot of energy, a lot of fun. Our goal is that everybody, no matter how stern looking they might come in, they are gong to leave smiling by the time we get to them.
JD: We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We hope that by being a little goofy, rocking some suspenders and having fun on stage, people will loosen up.
BLP: When we are enjoying it, you see that translate into the audience and we have a lot of fun playing together so it’s not hard for us to do.
Come to Grumpy’s Pub tonight, 9 PM, for an old school hoedown. The band returns to Grumpy’s on February 28. Check out brothersrye.com for videos and upcoming shows.