Over the phone, Angus Richardson — guitarist, singer and bagpiper for Brother — sounds energetic. You wouldn't know that, merely the day before, Richardson returned to his home in Ashland after a two-week tour of Scotland.
Over the phone, Angus Richardson — guitarist, singer and bagpiper for BROTHER — sounds energetic. You wouldn't know that, merely the day before, Richardson returned to his home in Ashland after a two-week tour of Scotland.
"It was fantastic," Richardson says. "We did two separate tours — one to the borders and one to the Highlands — and took over two coach-loads of fans from America for each trip."
The group and their fans were joined on the tour by Scottish pipes and drum band Albannach. Rather than a traditional tour, Richardson says that the trip, now in its third year, is the opportunity to share Scotland with fans.
"We visit all sorts of wonderful places like ruins and castles," Richardson says. "It's pretty jam-packed. We do four shows each week as well.
"A lot of our fans are very Celtic and have that as their heritage, so it seemed like visiting Scotland would be a good idea. I have Scottish heritage myself, and going back has really helped me reconnect with that heritage. I think it's the same for a lot of the people that come over with us."
Now that the band is stateside, BROTHER will play at 9 p.m. Saturday, May 10, at Howiee's on Front, 16 N. Front St., Medford. There is no cover.
BROTHER began when Richardson and his two brothers, Hamish and Fergus, moved from their native Australia to Los Angeles in the early '90s.
"We had three bagpipes and a big tribal drum kit, and found ourselves doing a lot of street performing to pay the rent," Richardson says. "It worked out pretty well."
Later, Hamish began experimenting with incorporating a didgeridoo — an Australian wind instrument — into their music.
"We found that the bagpipes and the didgeridoo worked really well together, and that became a signature part of our sound," Richardson says.
Hamish and Fergus have since left the band in order to focus on their families. The current lineup features Richardson, didgeridoo and keyboard player Drew "Didgeridrew" Reid and drummer Dave "Dalbo" Allen.
While Reid and Richardson live in Ashland, Allen still lives in Los Angeles, so he doesn't always perform with the band, which is the case this weekend.
"We have about three different drummers, depending on where we are," Richardson says.
For the Howiee's show, BROTHER will feature Michael Saint James on drums.
BROTHER plans to head into the studio in the fall to record a new album. While the band still retains its Celtic and tribal sounds, Richardson says that the sound has definitely evolved. The band's most recent song, "Give Me Some Love (Not 1984)," — whose video was filmed in New York and Ashland — is what Richardson points to as representative of its new sound.
Richardson says BROTHER plans to play some of its new music at Howiee's and that the show will be a real celebration.
"There are people who come away from a BROTHER show putting their hands on their chest, over their heart, and say 'Ah, I really felt it here,' " Richardson says. "That's something that certainly keeps me going."