Ten years is a long time. How long is a matter of perspective relative to what you’re reflecting on. For example, I put “Wrecking Ball” and “What Does the Fox Say?” as far in my review mirror as possible. They were pretty much forgotten. Yet I am astonished it’s been ten years since Tedeschi Trucks’ Made Up Mind and Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa’s Seesaw started caressing my ear drums. Ten years ago, brothers Joey and David Landreth released their first collaboration Let It Lie. I say collaboration because these sons of prominent Winnipeg musician and songwriter Wally Landreth were on different musical paths before deciding to make music together. Joey (guitar) and Dave (bass) had been backing up and touring with various artists as hired talent. More can be found on the origin of The Brothers Landreth here.
Murray Pulver collaborated with the brothers as producer for Let It Lie and even dad contributed writing and singing “I Am a Fool.” Let It Lie would be released in Canada by Audio & Video Labs towards the end of 2013. Extensive touring both in Canada and the US included an acclaimed stop in 2014’s South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. This would lead to the now The Bros. Landreth band signing with Slate Creek Records out of Nashville. Let It Lie would see its re-release in the United States and Europe in January 2015. Let It Lie resonated with audiences, garnering critical acclaim and a JUNO award for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year—Group. Fellow Canadians drummer Ryan Voth and guitarist Ariel Posen rounded out the quintet in which all four would provide vocals.
Touring the album would see them play over 400 dates around the world and gain some high-profile notoriety in the industry. Bonnie Raitt would cover “Made up Mind” as the first single from her Just Like That… 2022 release. The song rocketed to the top of the Americana charts and earned Bonnie a Grammy for Best Americana Performance.
To celebrate the album that changed their lives the band is releasing Let It Lie Acoustic, which is available on October 27th, 2023. For the album’s release the band wrote “For its tenth birthday, we decided to revisit Let it Lie by playing it just the way we had written and demo’d it ten years ago — the two of us, our producer Murray Pulver, the songs in their simplest iterations, a handful of different guitars. When we sat down to try and remember how the songs went, we were struck by how comforting and nostalgic it was, like catching up with an old friend. Suddenly the memories came flooding back. Suddenly ten years was just yesterday.” As I mentioned earlier, a matter of perspective relative to what you’re reflecting on.
Whenever reflecting on the past, our perspectives are influenced by what has transpired since then. To not acknowledge the work that led to this moment would be an injustice. After touring to support Let It Lie, the band took a break. Joey released and toured his solo project, Whiskey in 2017. The Bros. Landreth would release their second album ’87 in 2019. Come Morning would follow in 2022. Both albums were influenced by lengthy breaks with ’87 (named for the year they became brothers) following the long break from touring of Let It Lie and Joey’s side project. This led to the realization that they really had something working together that resonated. Come Morning followed the opportunity to isolate and collaborate brought about by COVID. Come Morning would go on to win the JUNO award for Contemporary Roots Album of the year and earn widespread critical acclaim.
To genuinely appreciate Let It Lie Acoustic, with its stripped-down versions of these songs, one needs to revisit the original and to a lesser extent, its successors. The soulful lyrics surface with each track’s acoustic version. The differences are subtle with the more Americana folk leaning songs “Firecracker,” “Nothing,” “Let It Lie,” “Where Were We,” and “Greenhouse.”
The absence of the non-acoustic elements is more prominent on the faster paced “Our Love,” “I Am the Fool,” “Goin’ to the Country” and “Runaway Train.” The upbeat vibes of “Made Up Mind” and “Tappin’ on the Glass” are noticeably more tempered. Hearing how acoustic guitars are layered and on some tracks a banjo is incorporated to fill in for slide, keys, and drums on the original tracks is really cool. To appreciate the cookie dough, one must first love the cookie.
Listen to both albums. The Bros. are releasing a 10th Anniversary box set featuring vinyl pressings of both versions. They are both very good albums.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Our Love
– I Am the Fool
– Runaway Train
– Made Up Mind
The Big Hit
– Made Up Mind