- Jeff (interview with “Our Town”)
“Good Brother Earl is a band that gathers its influences from a wide array of genres – rock, blues, country, pop, jam –but not out of indecision. The musicians know what they’re doing, as displayed on the band’s newest release, Perfect Tragedy…The sophomore album from the Pittsburgh natives, Perfect Tragedy blends all of these genres, adds in maybe one or two more and slaps on yet another layer of rock, creating something praiseworthy both artistically and as an enjoyable listen” says album reviewer Michael Boyles of the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt News) newspaper.
After adhering to the musical cliché by parting with not one but two drummers, the band has finally settled into what has become an extremely cohesive unit. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PPG) calls Good Brother Earl’s music “a full-bodied Triple-A rock sound that can fall right into place between the Counting Crows, Dave Matthews and the Jayhawks.” The City Paper writes, “The most obvious comparisons for Good Brother Earl’s imagistic rendering of everyday would be late Old 97’s, pre-‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ Wilco and college-campus favorites Counting Crows.”
This time around the band set out to write more concise songs, while improving on their already stellar sonic quality and expert musicianship. The result is eleven songs that tackle love, loneliness, addiction, and at times social commentary. Rege Behe of the Tribune-Review states “[Perfect Tragedy] is an album best heard in its entirety, a work that resembles a novel in emotional highs and lows that are present,” and calls Schmutz’s vocals “one of the most expressive voices of any local rock band.”
The group’s subtle shift toward the more mainstream rock genre can be heard immediately in the opening song “Fighting Gravity” a three and half minute opus with an infectious electric guitar hook that can be heard in rotation on both WDVE-FM & WYEP-FM Pittsburgh. It then follows with “6 O’Clock News” which the PPG calls “a song about selling fear, that has a chunky Neil Young rhythm.” On another track the City Paper goes on to say “On riff-heavy numbers such as ‘Girls Make Love, Boys Make War,’ you get the sense that if [Schmutz] blew the lid off a little more he’d approach Chris Cornell territory, were it not for the touch of Adam Duritz mellowing things out.” And the PPG adds that it “rides on a hard rock riff that would make Joe Perry smile.”
In 2003, out of 1600 bands, Good Brother Earl was selected by TAXI and Billboard as one of the top 15 independent acts in the Northeast. That distinction earned the band a spot on a nationwide cable television commercial promoting AMC (American Movie Classics) which helped them gain national exposure and sell albums across the country. Their original sound has also been a staple on the daily rotation of the nationally acclaimed local independent radio station WYEP-FM, where the songs “Another Rainy Day” and “Lonely Heart” receive regular airplay. Good Brother Earl has recently been featured on Pittsburgh stations WDVE-FM, WOGI-FM, WXDX-FM, and WRKZ-FM. The band is also a staple on XM Satellite’s Radio Unsigned Channel and they were recently showcased on the NPR show “Mountain Stage” with the Derek Trucks Band. The band has enjoyed some film success with songs featured in the theatrical motion picture Come Away Home, High Tide Entertainment and the short film The Fine Line Between Cute and Creepy, Slanekid Films.
Good Brother Earl CD’s can be found in Best Buy stores in Western Pennsylvania and parts of Eastern Ohio. Both albums will be sold through iTunes beginning in Spring of 2006 and songs can be downloaded through myspace.com. Good Brother Earl has sold more than 3,000 copies of its last CD without the help of a record label.
Perfect Tragedy was mastered at the legendary Sterling Sound in New York City by Ryan Smith, assistant to the iconic Ted Jensen, who has mastered everything from Bob Marley to Green Day. From start to finish, Perfect Tragedy will leave the listener wanting more.
Good Brother Earl is: Paul Fitzsimmons (guitar), Dan Paolucci (bass), Skip Sanders (keyboards) and Jeff Schmutz (vocals and guitar).