When you hear that a band came together at a songwriting retreat, it almost sounds too much like a move script to be true. However, that is exactly what happened when Sean McConnell, Garrison Starr, and Pete Groenwald collaborated at a songwriting retreat. They came together to form the trio My Sister, My Brother. On the self-titled EP, the band shows that a bigger sound isn’t necessarily better. In fact, this trio shows that a minimal soundscape works pretty well too.
If you had to describe “Nothing Without You” with just one word, gorgeous would be a pretty good choice. The beauty of this song is that it is so stripped down. The melody is provided by a melancholy piano part, which is accompanied by some amazing harmony vocals. The arrangement is similar to what you hear on an Emmylou Harris album.
You realize in short order that you’re in for more beautiful music. “Drive You Home” is a duet featuring acoustic guitar and piano. The opening lyrics hit you right in the heart: “This old world can break you down. Everybody’s standing on shaky ground.” As the song progresses, you hear even more lyrics that you can’t help but feel. “When you’re drunk and lonely, call me on the phone. I will drive you home.” It’s the kind of assurance than anyone would be happy to have.
“Forever Now” is more uptempo than the other songs on the EP – not that you’ll mistake it for a punk song. The vocals are reminiscent of Jason Isbell while the message is a reminder that everything is fleeting and “nothing is forever now”.
With only five songs, this EP is over before you know it. Still, the band packs a lot of beautiful songwriting into the five songs. In fact these songs are so well crafted and so pretty, they make you wish more groups came together at songwriting retreats to create music like this. My Sister, My Brother will be available everywhere on March 6. Order your copy here.