THE HENRY BROTHERS
The Henry Brothers, are an affectionate and faithful recreation of the old-time country Brother duets of the 30’s & 40’s. Songs of murder and mortality, delivered with a wry wit that never strays into parody.
Conceived and executed in early summer 2007 The Henry Brothers have appeared at regularly at music venues across the UK and many festivals, including Glastonbury, Bestival and Camp Bestival & Maverick Festival. They have also received international acclaim at the European World Of Bluegrass (Netherlands) and The Low Country Bluegrass Festival (Belgium). As well as somehow finding time to release their debut Album ‘DEATH IS ONLY A DREAM’, an EP ‘THE HENRY BROTHERS SING POPULAR FAVOURITES’ and vinyl single, ‘THE BALLAD OF THE LAWON FAMILY’ and curate nights at the infamous Brixton Windmill-London, plus singing live several times on the BBC.
The Henry Brothers were born in rural Norfolk, these identical twins began making music together while still in the womb. They’ve been in various bands together over the years. Mark plays a resonator (‘National’ style) guitar, Graham plays Double Bass and they sing close harmony together as if they’ve been doing it their whole lives, because they have. The brothers have been in bands together since their early teens, mostly playing around their native Norfolk.
Ballad Of The Lawson Family (2012) (Limited Edition 7” Vinyl Single & MP3 Download) The Henry Brothers’ bid for the Christmas No.1 spot. A family murder/suicide song, set at Christmas. The 7” Vinyl version features an exclusive vinyl only infant death-song on the B side, Put My Little Shoes Away.
The Henry Brothers Sing Popular Favourites E.P. (2012) This E.P. of songs from outside country music is made up of material originally arranged by the boys as for festival shows just for fun. Recorded now by popular demand, here is the No.1 song from1978 a murder ballad, (I Don’t Like Mondays) a crazed rant, (Psycho Killer); a country soul song, (Do Right Woman); and an indie smash hit, (I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor) all done in The Henry Brothers close harmony style.
Death Is Only A Dream (2010) For their first full length Album, The Henry Brothers chose traditional murder ballads and death songs such as Little Glass Of Wine, Banks Of The Ohio and Two Little Rosebuds. They augmented their sound on eight of the thirteen songs, with some of the friends they’ve made in the Country, Bluegrass, Americana and Folk bands they have enjoyed sharing a bill with over the years. Subtle backing from all concerned, gives ‘Death is Only a Dream’ variations in tone, while maintaining The Henry Brothers’ straightforward, uncluttered sound. Featuring Special Guests: Sid Griffin (The Long Ryders/The Coal Porters) Patrick Arbuthnot (Hank Wangford/The Rockingbirds) Chantal Hill (The Cedars) Jeremy Mendonca (Norton Money) Howard Burton (Deep River/The Dude Coopers) Jess Hannar (The Three Beards)
“We are NOT obsessed with death. Folk music is. People have sung about death forever. Death was a very real part of everyday life up till the middle of the last century. Everyone lost at least one child. Life expectancy was pretty low all around. Songs where people died were just as normal and acceptable as those with a romantic theme. Since the development of modern medicine our culture has grown uncomfortable with death as a subject of song. A hundred years ago if you got ill there really was a good chance you might die. ” Graham
“Everybody lost at least one child, or a brother, and parents, of course. Not that it wasn’t a shattering event for the families but it was commonplace & nobody felt it was a strange thing to sing about. These days people seem perfectly comfortable with it in film and books and TV shows. Illness, serial killers, disasters and destruction are all over the media.” Mark
“Murder is high drama and high drama is what people have always wanted. These days it’s gone less mainstream, Gangstar Rap, Metal & Goth still use mortality as a central theme alot.” Graham
“We don’t advocate murder. It’s a bad thing for sure. We just sing about it.” Mark
THE HENRY BROTHERS DEATH IS ONLY A DREAM ****1/2 Maverick Magazine Oct 2010
These brothers hail from Norfolk but their musical geography roams and rambles further afield, scaling the Appalachians and coming down the other side, descending into the dark heart of traditional American song craft. Their debut is made up entirely of old time death songs and murder ballads, read in a traditionally elegiac and stately manner, and it’s clear that the Henries – Mark and Graham – are well versed in this music.
They are able to treat it seriously and respectfully but also to enjoy it, to communicate a passion and to allow the blood to course through these songs, rendering them more immediate than their storied and murky histories may suggest. The brothers form a central resonator and upright bass duo, holding their achingly off-kilter harmonies afloat and augmented by an array of guest musicians, most notably Sid Griffin of the Long Ryders who provides mandolin. And these are all songs deeply ingrained in the traditional Americana canon: Banks Of The Ohiorolls along over frantic banjo scales. Katie Dear is rendered almost dreamlike by a distant birdsong fiddle part, and other than four brief bass notes, Gloryland is read in an astonishingly beautiful a capella mode.
To the aficionado of such music, DEATH IS ONLY A DREAM can be seen as a wholly competent and often exhilarating performance of both revivalism and extenuation, a knowing and glorious visitation of a timeless musical form, and to the layman this record can function as the kind of stepping stone, reference point or brief window that one may associate with, say, the O Brother soundtrack. And even an aficionado will cede that such a comparison is truly high praise.