They’ve been one of the best kept secrets in music. Hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, brothers Joey and Dave Landreth were born into a musical family.
“I always wanted to be a musician,” says guitarist Joey Landreth. “I think it was my friends when I was in kindergarten, it’s, like, my dad’s a cop. I want to be a cop. My dad’s a firefighter. I want to be a firefighter. It’s, like, my dad plays bass in a band, I want to play in a band.”
“I followed in his and Joey’s footsteps,” said bassist Dave Landreth. “Joey was playing music from a very early age, and I didn’t necessarily gravitate towards it the same way but what drew me to being a part of it was that I watched them getting all this joy from playing music together, and I wanted to be a part of it.”
“The way we grew up was there was a lot of music around,” said Joey. “Dad was always playing and if he wasn’t playing, he was taking us to see music. Mom was taking us to see music. All of my dad’s close friends were musicians, so we just had access.”
Joey and Dave’s tight bond is what led them to form The Brothers Landreth after initially carving out careers as side musicians.
“We were touring in different scenes,” says Dave. “We stopped seeing each other as much. We’ve always been really close, so we started the band kind of as an excuse to spend more time together. And then very quickly we sort of both felt like there was something there worth chasing and before you know it, here we are.”
That tight connection carries over to the stage.
“We are an extension of each other,” Joey tells Blues Rock Review. “And in the way that when you grow up under the same roof, you have the same familial sayings and finishing each other’s sentences is a cheesy thing, but I can start to play something and Dave knows where I’m going and vice versa.”
“He’s my favorite musician in the world. He’s my favorite guitar player in the world, my favorite singer in the world,” says Dave Landreth about Joey. “It is truly one of the great joys of my life getting to follow him around on stage every night and do my best to make him sound as good as he possibly can.”
“He can start to do something and I’ll hear him start something and I’ll go, okay, I’m going to get out of the way, because this is going to be epic,” says Joey. “Dave is the most adventurous bass player that I play with. He is completely fearless and plays some of the most unique and exciting things.”
The Brothers found quick success in Canada when their debut album Let It Lie took home “Roots/Traditional” album of the year at the 2015 Juno Awards, essentially Canada’s version of the Grammys. Years later, the brothers got a huge surprise when their song “Made Up Mind” was recorded by one of their childhood heroes, Bonnie Raitt.
“When we first found out that there was an inkling we didn’t know what song, we had no idea what the project was,” says Joey. “And a friend of mine had called and said, you know, I heard that Bonnie Raitt and band are throwing around a Bro’s tune. Do you know anything about this? I was like, No!”
“The single came out in February, but December that year we got an email from management right before Christmas, which was an early Christmas gift saying, Congratulations, Bonnie’s cutting your tune. It’s gonna be the first single off the new record,” said Dave.
Joey added, “We found out, yes, they cut the song and it’s actually going to be a single. You can’t top that and especially because that was never something that was on our radar.”
Then Bonnie won the Grammy for Best Americana performance.
“When it got nominated, I was like, there’s no way it wins a Grammy. The universe can’t let this this much good stuff happen to two Canadians,” said Joey in a joking manner.
“Dumbfounded” was Dave’s response. “This has kind of been the theme of the last maybe 18 months, two years is just the universe keeps raining amazing things down on us and we’re just kind of awestruck. It’s been really, really sweet. We feel incredibly grateful and fortunate.”
“A beautiful moment for Bonnie, and we’re so grateful that she shared it with us,” said Joey.
Not only did “Made Up Mind” win a Grammy, but the brothers received another huge opportunity through a mysterious email.
“I got an email in my inbox that said Crossroads 2023,” said Dave. “The message said, Would you be would you be available to play Crossroads 2023 MSG – E.C.. And I called Joey right away. I was, like, I got the funniest email.”
While skeptical at first, Dave decided to respond.
“I can’t tell you the email address, but the email address was hilarious and everything about it seemed illegitimate. And I just could not imagine that this is how the Crossroads invites got sent, but there was like, oh, you know, like a 5% chance that this is legit. So I don’t want to tell this person where to get off,” Dave said with a laugh. “I think I just replied sure and sent it and then got a message back that said, great, management will be in touch. XOXO Eric. I was, like, uh-oh,” Dave laughs.
“The cognitive dissonance of both knowing that I would never ever play crossroads and then getting invited to play Crossroads just broke my mind,” was Joey Landreth’s surprised response.
“Our manager went and did some sleuthing around and sure enough said, yeah, you’re going to crossroads,” said Dave.
“I immediately thought, I don’t want to do it,” Joey joked. “Because it’s just such a big thing and because I grew up with the Crossroads franchise being such an important window into the music that my heroes were making. It’s such a great opportunity.”
Dave added, “Listening to Clapton records in the house and we also pored over every single Crossroads DVD as young musicians and we were introduced to so many of our favorite guitar players.”
Crossroads 2023 ended up in Los Angeles and the brothers played sets both nights, including in front of 20,000 fans on the main stage night one at Crypto.com Arena.
“I usually get a little bit of nerves before we play, and last night was the most nervous I’ve been,” said Joey on the experience. “But as soon as we started to make music together, that feeling passed. It’s not even like, oh, we belong here. It was just like, this is what I do with my favorite people in the world.”
“Obviously, that’s a pretty big crowd, but I didn’t feel nervous. I was just excited,” adds Dave.
“Once the terror kind of passed then the feeling of validation and we’ve worked really hard as a band and we put everything that we can into what we do. And to have someone like Eric Clapton say, I see what you guys are doing and I think it has value. It doesn’t get any better,” said Joey.
“It is funny how wherever you go to do your thing, there you are. So whether it’s a club or the arena at the heart of it, we’re still just up there doing our thing, just playing our songs, telling our stories,” says Dave.
“It just felt amazing and the energy you get from that many people is pretty crazy,” said Joey about the Crossroads experience.
The band is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its debut album Let It Lie by releasing a deluxe box set on October 27th featuring acoustic versions of the songs.