Meadows Brothers are a home-grown duo hailing from Chester, CT. They grew up surrounded by music as children, which led them to their present day folk-rock project. Their music holds the base of classic folk while pulling in different country and alternative influences. For more information on these brothers, check out their website.
Onna: You both have had quite the journey together as musicians, can you tell us a little about the role music played while you were growing up as brothers?
Ian: We grew up listening to a ton of different music… Dad was into a lot of Rock and Metal from the 70’s, Mom was into pretty much everything from soul and funk to hip-hop to singer-songwriters and classical. Music was constantly playing at our house, and for as long as I remember we just wanted to play music. When we were really little we would form pretend bands (“100 M.P.H.”) and do rock n’ roll poses in the mirror and all that good stuff. Somewhere around the age of 8 or 9 I got somewhat serious about learning to play the guitar, and Dustin, being the ever-competitive little brother, decided that he too must pick up an instrument. He chose the drums. We started making noise together right around that time, and towards the end of elementary school started a punk rock band with our cousins. Once that ran it’s course, we formed another band called sayWHAT when Dustin was 11 or so. We played classic rock and bluesy type stuff, and did that for about four years. I’d say that was sort of the jumping off point for what we’re doing now; as we played hundreds of shows while in that band, and learned a ton about performing and playing music in general.
Dustin: There was always music playing in out home while we were growing up. Like what Ian said, we were exposed to a little bit of everything. We have some great home videos of a four year old Ian and a two year old me trying to sing along with Three Dog Night or James Taylor. I’d say that was the start of it all. It’s funny, because even then you could tell there was some healthy, brotherly competition happening. I think music really gave us (and still gives us) that connection that allows a life long brotherhood to be a life long friendship as well.
Onna: It seems that you have toured mainly in the New England area, what makes New England so charming and worthy of your loyalty?
Ian: New England is just home to us. It’s tough to explain New England’s charm. It’s partly the weather, the people, the history, the amazing natural beauty of the Northeast. We both love to spend time outside, and there are few places in the country that are better suited to doing that. We definitely embrace our identity as New Englanders, and take pride in being from here. I lived in Nashville for a year after high school; mainly because all through my teenage years I wanted desperately to get away from where I grew up. Well, a year away from home, plus an increasingly busy touring schedule for us both changed that pretty quick. I get homesick not so much for my home, but the landscape and the overall feel here. All I wanted to do during Autumn in Tennessee was be at my folks house raking leaves. Crazy right? There’s no place that we love as much New England.
Dustin: It’s just beautiful here. I find seasons to be such an incredible part of nature, and here in New England you can experience that like no where else in the world. As far as touring goes, we just haven’t really had a chance to bring our music to other parts of the country. Traveling really excites me. Whether its through music or by some other means I would really like to see all this planet has to offer. Now that we have the means to travel as fast as we do, I feel it’s important because of the perspective it can allow. But no matter where I go, I can’t imagine anywhere else being home.
Onna: What does folk music mean to you?
Ian: Folk music is storytelling through music. Not in a literal way, but it’s about songs and stories that resonate with some aspect of human emotions. Sure, there’s a ton of different ways to define it, but I like describing it this way. Songs about loss, love, pain, suffering, joy, heartbreak, happiness, humor. The best folk singers are the ones that make you feel, whether its through their lyrics or singing or musical style. And to me, that’s what music, and art for that matter, are all about.
Dustin: Folk music is music for the people. It is something everybody can relate to. The simplicity of folk music is what I think sets it apart from other genres. Ian’s spot on, folk music should make you feel something.
Onna: What is the song writing process like for you boys?
Ian: We write songs all sorts of different ways. I typically will get the bones of the song written, and then Dustin comes in and helps me finish it up. He’s got a better ear for arrangement and harmony then I do, so it’s collaborative in that way. This isn’t how it always happens, but I’d say for the majority of our songs, this is how it goes down.
Onna: How has your music evolved since you first started playing together?
Ian: We just keep pushing ourselves to be better musicians and to write better songs. Time always changes a lot of things, and as we get turned on to new music or become more tuned in to the world around us, our music seems to expand to different directions while still being a part of the “Americana” sound that has come to define us as The Meadows Brothers.
Dustin: It’s always evolving. We’re always hearing new music, making new memories, and keeping our minds open to new ideas. I think as people we always change as we grow, and I think music you create will reflect that.
Onna: If each brother could be represented as a specific food, what would you be and why?
Ian: What a question… Wow. I guess a Donut. Donuts are like food equivalent of my spirit animal. Dustin, you better come up with a good answer.
Dustin: A donut? Why would you be a donut? But I think I would be an egg and cheese sandwich on an English muffin. Only because I eat them at least a couple times a day.