barr-brothers-01 BB-2011-Andre_Guerette CreditJosephYarmush

Beggar in the Morning

The Barr Brothers (Sep 27 2011)

Give the Devil Back His Heart

The Barr Brothers (Sep 27 2011)

Old Mythologies

The Barr Brothers (Sep 27 2011)
Official website

The Barr Brothers

The Barr Brothers

One of the first Christmas presents that Brad and Andrew Barr received were two pairs of red boxing gloves. They set up a makeshift ring in their basement in Providence, RI and hung a bell from the water pipes. When the bell rang, it was the signifier that all rules of decent brotherly conduct were suspended for 3 minutes. It was the one time they could unleash the latent fury of being bound to each other without the threat of mom and dad coming to break it up. Anything goes. No noses were broken, no ears bitten, but by the end of each match, the impact and recoil, there was always some blood left on the floor. Within a year or so, the gloves were nothing more than nylon rags covered in ripped plastic. Brad and Andrew, in search of a new outlet, discovered rock n' roll. It was 1983.

They taught themselves how to play, at first on cardboard boxes and home-strung imitation guitars, then on actual, zebra-striped electric guitars and drums. "Wipe Out" and "Johnny B. Goode" were among the first songs absorbed into the repertoire. With the same energy they used to attack each other with boxing gloves, they attacked the popular hits of the day and old blues songs they found in their father's record collection. A healthy diet of classic and esoteric rock paved the way to the discoveries that lay ahead.

Skip ahead to 2004. The brothers had spent most of the previous decade criss-crossing North America, playing music with their spirited, improv-based rock trio, The Slip. That Spring, the band was playing a small club in Montreal, QC when a fire broke out in the venue. They grabbed a few guitars/drums and rushed out onto the rainy street with the rest of the concert goers. As the club's mezzanine was swallowed by flames, Andrew offered his coat to one of the waitresses from the bar. One year later, Brad and Andrew Barr were living in Montreal. That waitress is now one of their managers.

In his first apartment in the new city, Brad shared an adjoining wall with Sarah Pagé, a classically trained harpist from Montreal with a propensity for the experimental. As tender and visceral as she is virtuosic, her melodies would seep through the cracks of the wall and into the music Brad was writing. From this nebulous relationship, a friendship developed and the brothers, with Sarah, began recording and performing around Montreal. Soon, their friend and multi-instrumentalist Andrés Vial was brought in to lend his wide array of expertise to the outfit, playing keyboards, bass, vibes, percussion, and singing. They called themselves The Barr Brothers. With Brad's songs setting the context for the agile imaginations of the other musicians, a unique sound was born, one reliant on interwoven string arrangements, wide open spaces, and a multitude of musical traditions.

Though the boxing gloves have been long since retired, and the music, for the most part, is more refined than clobbering, there's always room for some blood on the floor.

July 03, 2013

Rave reviews for The Barr Brothers at Jazz Fest

More than 50 000 people gathered at the Place des Festivals to watch the Barr Brothers perform two sets last Saturday night as part of Montreal's International Jazz Festival. The band just announced a Quebec tour to complete their fall itinerary, which also includes a number of tour dates in the UK. Click here for the full tour dates.

If you would like to read the french reviews of the shows, click here.

June 05, 2013

Free outdoor show for The Barr Brothers on the main stage at Montreal's Jazz Fest

The Barr Brothers are pleased to announce today that they will be performing at the Festival International du Jazz de Montreal on Saturday, June 29th as part of its free outdoor programming in the Quartier des Spectacles.

The band will be playing two sets of 60 minutes in the evening (9PM and 11PM) on the main outdoor stage, Scène TD. For more details, click here.

April 16, 2013

The Barr Brothers + The National

Exciting news! The Barr Brothers are opening for the mighty National in Montreal this summer! Both bands will play under the stars on the Lachine Canal on the 13th, to buy your tickets, click here.

The new album from The National, "Trouble Will Find Me" will be out on May 21st, while The Barr Brothers are currently in studio working on their sophomore album.

The National + The Barr Brothers
Thursday June 13th
Lachine Canal, Centennial Esplanade

February 19, 2013

Congratulations to The Barr Brothers!

Big congrats to The Barr Brothers for their nomination in the "Adult Alternative Album of the Year" category at the 2013 Juno Awards! To view the entire list of nominees, please click here.

Make sure you tune in to CTV on April 21st to watch the gala!

July 03, 2012

Metro - The Barr Brothers Great Concert Review

MON spectacle du Festival de 2012. Pour résumer ça en quelques mots – comme si c’était possible –, disons que ce fut impressionnant, renversant, stupéfiant par bouts et totalement jouissif. Tout ça dans un Métropolis respectueusement silencieux.

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July 03, 2012

The Rolling Stone - The Barr Brothers Jazz Fest Review

Parfait timing. Les marches d’entrée à peine franchies, les lumières s’éteignent. Une fille – Sarah Page – tire (symboliquement) sur une corde de sa harpe, tandis que dans la pénombre, une guitare feutrée occupe l’espace sonore. Bienvenue dans la folk éthérée des Barr Brothers, dont la cote ne cesse de grandir à Montréal où ils se sont installés. Une folk parfois si atmosphérique que l’on en viendrait presque à se demander si après le post-rock, le post-folk était en train d’établir en direct live les tables de sa propre loi.

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July 03, 2012

The Barr Brothers Jazz Fest Review - Bible Urbaine

Ce spectacle, tout en douceur et en harmonie, s’est ensuite poursuivi avec «Kisses from Chelsea», titre plus bruyant qui a d’emblée donné le ton aux nouveaux morceaux des Barr Brothers, notamment «Beggar in the Morning», «Give the Devil back his Heart» et «Lord, I Just can’t Keep from Crying», pendant laquelle le groupe s’est permis un session jam tout en guitares, en percussions (batteries, cymbales déposées au sol et roues de bicyclettes) et en harpe. C’était décidément un moment d’extase pour tout fan de musique folk atmosphérique.

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July 02, 2012

The Huffington Post - The Barr Brothers Jazz Fest Concert Review

Après avoir conquis les marchés européen et nord-américain, les Barr Brothers étaient attendu de pied ferme à la maison, d'autant plus que cette soirée avait pour la formation un petit quelque chose de spécial. Le quatuor folk n'avait jamais joué pour le Festival international de jazz de Montréal et n'avait jamais offert de spectacle en tête d'affiche du Métropolis! Un doublé qui a été musicalement réussi. Une prestation de toute beauté!

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July 02, 2012

Rue Rezzonico - The Barr Brothers Concert Review

Leurs spectacles présentés plus tôt dans l’année ont tous été plus convaincants durant le récent festival de musique francophone. Ce fut la même chose pour The Barr Brothers qui a confirmé dimanche son statut de groupe majeur de la scène anglo-saxonne au Métropolis.

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July 01, 2012

Journal de Montreal - The Barr Brothers Jazz Fest Concert Review

Avec une participation remarquée au Late Show de David Letterman, une nomination au Prix Polaris, une tournée américaine et européenne, le moins que l’on puisse dire c’est que le jeune groupe montréalais a fait une percée fulgurante dans le milieu musical. L’invitation du FIJM et la prestation de dimanche soir sont venues corroborer les dires de la critique internationale.

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