Cary Brothers is a man – just one man by the way, it’s not the brothers Cary – of extraordinary talent and uncompromising artistic ethics. Brothers has decided to take the indie musician path to avoid the virtual artistic indentured servitude that so many big labels demand; keeping control of his art, his craft, and his name and maintaining his artistic integrity. Something I find tremendously admirable.
Brothers music has been featured on several hit TV shows including Scrubs, Bones and Grey’s Anatomy as well as in films like Noel, Last Kiss and most notably Garden State. His music is not what some people may expect if the first song they hear is Brothers first and biggest hit, “Blue Eyes” from the Garden State Soundtrack. Where “Blue Eyes” is a stripped back almost folk-pop track, the sound on Brother’s new album, Who You Are is more Brit rock, with leanings to the modern sounds of Coldplay and Snow Patrol, coloured with the influences of Brothers' teenagehood from the late '80s like, U2, The Psychedelic Furs and Scritti Politi. Brothers has even remade the Thompson Twins hit “If You Were Here”, stripping it back, finding the hidden depth in this now timeless song.
Growing up in Nashville, Tennessee Brothers was surrounded by music, particularly that of Elvis Presley. During his childhood he idolised Presley, possibly even emulates him now in adulthood, but Brothers certainly hasn’t imitated Presley – although the idea of Brothers being a weekend, closet Elvis impersonator is rather charming. After graduating from Northwestern University with a BA in English, he began his career getting a job as a Production Assistant on MTV – the man has more hilarious anecdotes than anyone I have ever spoken to – but ultimately Brothers found the experience lacking. Feeling empty and unfulfilled he began playing guitar and singing on the weekends, in cafes and pubs around L.A.. Eventually finding his way to the Hotel Café, one of L.A.’s more avant-garde venues, where a unique community of regular players formed to the benefit of all; helping each other to further their careers, and eventually take it on the road in the Hotel Café Tour.
Brothers and I recently chatted on the phone while he rode in his tour bus across America. I found him to be a very verbose, witty, self-effacing man who enjoyed a good laugh and likes telling his fabulous stories about his time at MTV. His cell phone reception was bad and I had to call him back repeatedly so that by the end I felt like a stalker. Brothers is the kind of guy you would love to meet at the pub for a few drinks and a good laugh and that is just what this interview felt like.