The Brothers Blue play at Fox Run Vineyard in the Finger Lakes Region.
by Dave Warner
The Brothers Blue are the third band in the lineup for September 17, 2022, at the Little Falls Bluegrass, Brews & BBQ Festival.
The group is rooted in the tradition of old-time fiddle music but has developed a sound all their own. They offer a hybrid approach that unites fresh, original songwriting with elements of Country, Bluegrass, Cajun, and Irish music.
Matthew Sperber and Benny Haravitch grew up together in Honeoye, New York, where they went on bike trips with a local youth group, biking around the Finger Lakes area.
“There was always a guitar on these bike trips, so Matt was already learning,” stated Haravitch. “He was teaching me a few chords to Pink Floyd and Beatle songs, and it wasn’t long before we were playing in bands together, and we’ve been playing together ever since.”
Haravitch said he grew up with a jug band next door called The Wilderness Family. “I grew up exposed to a lot of American roots music really early on, and as a kid, I often looked at it as sort of low brow.”
He said at that time, they were getting into sophisticated music like progressive rock and jazz fusion.
“Eventually, we came full circle after going to some Bluegrass concerts where we realized how much more this simple music offers in very complicated ways,” he said.
Haravitch said that the Finger Lakes landscape also had an influence on their thoughts about the music. “We try to create sounds that sort of fit in with the landscape, so they’re very woody and natural. Kind of mystical sounds. We try to create an acoustic version of the land around us.”
The group has been playing together for seven years now, and their music has evolved.
“Charlie is an Irish fiddle player, and he comes from traditional Irish music,” Haravitch said.
“We’ve always been based in fiddle tune music, whether that’s Bluegrass or old time Celtic or even some Cajun sounds. We incorporate those different versions of traditional fiddle tunes into our sort of song-writing sensibilities. It’s something that’s our own but steeped in tradition,” he stated.
They love going out on the road to anywhere there’s a listening audience. Matt Sperber said, “We put in our time kind of being the wallpaper band in bars, shoved into a little corner somewhere. Sometimes that can be fun, but we shine when we have a listening audience.”
The group said that sometimes, it could be the most unusual location. They talked about playing in a little cafe in Rochester, and when the mood is right, it turns into a little theater.
“We just played a brewery this weekend that had a similar vibe, kind of a party brewery crowd that condensed into a listening theater crowd,” stated Haravitch.
He also said, “We played at Buffalo’s Country Music Festival, and we were the only band that was Bluegrass and played with acoustic instruments, and it was funny. They just quite didn’t know what to make of us, but they knew they liked it.”
“They knew that whatever we were, it was some authentic version that they loved,” he said.
When they come to Little Falls on the 17th, they said, “We’re definitely going to have to bring our A game because our friends, Dirty Blanket, are there, and they have some serious pickers, so we don’t want them to show us up.”
Haravitch ended, “We’re going to bring all the notes we got in a bag and definitely play all the Bluegrass stuff we do. We’re going to try and encourage the audience to get into old-time music a little bit too.”
“We call ourselves an old-timey, blue country, string grass band,” stated Sperber.