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Celtic Connections: The Barr Brothers with The Oh Hellos

Sun 28th Jan 2018
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The opening song on The Barr Brothers’ new album ‘Queens of the Breakers’ (October 13/Secret City Records) starts with a drum pattern that mimics the sound of two heartbeats out of sync.  It was written by Andrew Barr while holding the hand of a loved one in the hospital, where he heard two EKG machines beating slowly in and out of time with each other, occasionally aligning, but destined to dither.

The album that follows represents a similar kind of human dynamic. It’s The Barr Brothers’ finest work yet, a collection of 11 hypnotically fluid songs that speak to the raw, elemental power of reflection, forgiveness, loss, and growing up. The record finds the band, featuring brothers Brad (guitar) and Andrew Barr (drums), and Sarah Page (Harp), further on their thrilling path of exploring the outer limits of folk, blues, rock and Americana made north of the American border.

Dear Wormwood, the latest album from beloved brother and sister act The Oh Hellos, is out now. It was recorded, piece by piece, in the house where Maggie and Tyler live in San Marcos, TX, and much like The Oh Hellos’ live performance, the album presents two alternating faces: at times delicate, intimate, affectionate; and at others, soaring and towering and joyfully explosive. Their influences range from Fleet Foxes and Sufjan Stevens to The Middle East and the Muppets, bending and blending styles and genres into a unique mixture of eclectic folk rock.

Since forming, The Oh Hellos has earned a rightful reputation as a very special live act. The siblings are joined on stage by an often-epic ensemble—a rotating roster of pickers and players numbering as many as 13 at any given time.

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