The calla lily flower is named for the Greek word meaning beautiful. Eclectic myths and symbolisms surround the calla lily, but if you were to ask The Brother Brothers about a personal relation to their new album’s namesake, they’d likely leave it there: Beautiful. Similarly, if you were to ask the identical twins what their new album is about, they’d presumably smirk and reply with droll simplicity: What all albums are about. Life.
This magnetic humility is the band’s custom, and beyond its amusing appeal, the core of their music. It is, in fact, The Brother Brothers’ humble, intuitive, and exact capture of Life that just so happens to be Beautiful. This is evident as ever in their second full-length offering.
The Brother Brothers are David and Adam Moss, identical twins born and raised in Peoria, Illinois, formerly based in Brooklyn, New York, but ultimately and profoundly shaped by indiscriminate rambling. They are the kind of people who have a story about everything, and moreso, one you might genuinely like to hear. Plopped atop virtuosic musicianship and enlivened by true blood harmonies, these stories come of an encompassing quality, stories one listens to time and time again, and eventually, holds as their own.
The Brother Brothers’ songs are of neither grandeur nor tragedy, nor lore nor trend, but of outright humanity. They address nothing topical and everything timeless: living, loving, aging, changing, traveling, learning, yearning, discovering, dreaming, winning, losing, dying — what it is to candidly exist. Crafted with precision, poignancy, and palpable heart, these tales are as easily projected to an amphitheatre of fans as they are exchanged in aisle eight of the grocery store, as resonant to cosmopolitan professionals as to musing bohemians, as familiar and beloved to an internet of strangers as to a campfire of friends.
These are songs of personhood transcending.
The perspective that binds them is two-fold. The Brother Brothers’ songwriting incites an exquisite sense of transience — life in neverending motion, if you will — as well as a deft capacity to pause, focus in upon, and cherish the beauty in banality. This duality is the crux of Calla Lily, an artful alternation between moving and stopping, experiencing and appreciating.
By no accident is the album opener a quintessential ode to touring, the highly specific way in which The Brother Brothers lived their daily life up until the global pandemic halted it all. The Moss brothers wrote “On The Road Again” before the world shut down, and serendipitously so. True to their knack for knowing what they have, the band encapsulated all that was lost before they knew they’d lose it. They bottled the bewildering breadth of existing town to town in a tumbling melody imbued with longing — for the salve of forward motion, for a diasporic musician family scattered across continents, for blessed abandon. It’s the tingles of homesickness reversed, a wistful celebration of ambling onward.
Then comes the eponymous “The Calla Lily Song,” in which David contemplates an indescribably special moment — a time at which one can do nothing but breathe deeply, held by the sensation that something essential though utterly unnameable is taking place. He delicately entangles two affections, singing to both a lover and New York City with equivalent levels of tenderness. The Moss brothers’ vocals linger on details with buttery warmth, intimating how unambiguously they hold these small yet immensely remarkable moments.
Even the band’s most morose numbers glint with comfort. On both “Sorrow,” arguably the most somber of Calla Lily’s ten tracks, and “Waiting For A Star To Fall,” a lightly melancholic request for luck, the suffering feels collective. The Brother Brothers know that their pain is your pain — and that the human condition would be incomplete without it.
The Brother Brothers’ astute, evocative music has earned an international audience, enthused nods from tastemakers including NPR, Billboard and Rolling Stone Country among others, support runs for acclaimed artists including I’m With Her, Lake Street Dive, Big Thief and Shakey Graves, coveted performance slots at Edmonton Folk Festival, Nelsonville Music Festival, FreshGrass Music Festival and beyond. More notable to Calla Lily, is the warm sincerity The Brother Brothers have carried through these experiences — an earnesty that provides David and Adam Moss the precocity of friendship, artistry and peace.
Time stretches slow like the skin on your hand
Placing for picking the moments they stand out
Walking in circles we go through the turnstiles
Over and over again
Calla Lily was produced and mixed by Grammy-nominated Ryan Hadlock (The Lumineers, Brandi Carlile, Vance Joy) at Bear Creek Studios in Woodinville, Washington and mastered by Grammy-nominated Phillip Shaw Bova (Andy Shauf, Father John Misty). The album will be released April 16, 2021 on Compass Records.