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Music Review: Ivan & Alyosha – Fathers Be Kind

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We all know the type….the kind of guys you knew growing up…maybe they were your older brothers, or the dudes who lived down the street. They were always cool and smart and funny and friendly. They were popular, but not in an annoying kind of way. They played guitar on the front porch and smiled as you walked by. They spoke to everyone and always made you feel like you were cool enough to be “one of them.” They were good guys though: didn’t get into trouble, got decent grades, the boys next door. They were polite to your parents and sweet to your little sister. We all know these guys and we love these guys.

These are the type of guys that make up the band Ivan & Alyosha: smart, compassionate, all around good people who just want to make great music. And they do. Ivan & Alyosha are currently on their first national tour, promoting their second EP release, Fathers Be Kind. The record is a wonderful mix of folk tunes that showcase their harmonious talents. From the honest declarations “Glorify,” to the reflective title track, “Fathers Be Kind,” the only criticism is that the record is too short.

The indie folk quartet who’s name comes from Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, was started by Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbury, in Seattle in 2007. They were later joined by Tim’s brother Pete and Tim Kim. They sing songs in soulful melodies about life and family and love. Their songs evoke tales of personal growth and discovery, implying a lone writer’s journey. I asked Tim Wilson, recently, if he was the band’s sole songwriter. He said, “In the past it was just me but then Ryan and I would sometimes write together. But now, with the other guys, our new record will be much more collaborative.” He later adds: “A lot of times it’s simultaneous. Sometimes when I write a song it’s more of a thought that’s been running through my head that just becomes a song.”

Well, let the thoughts flow, because they are lovely.

Influenced by such great musicians and bands like Elvis, Roy Orbison, The Beatles, and even Wilco, The Civil Wars, and Emmylou Harris; Ivan & Alyosha are making the most of the North American tour, exploring and enjoying every facet of each new region they travel through. They recently performed at Folk Alliance in Memphis, a conference celebrating the best of American folk music and dance. Tim says: “It was good, we got to meet some great people; we played a late show. They have this crazy cool format with all these rooms in a hotel and bands just playing.”

Sounds like Heaven.

Ivan & Alyosha are currently in New York City, performing tonight at the Bowery Ballroom with Taurus, in support of headliner Bobby Long. And soon you’ll get to hear them on Daytrotter, as they visited the studio for a recording session. Download their latest music and check for tour dates at their official website.

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About Chantal Stone