Watch: The Barr Brothers (Stiegl Hidden Studio Sessions)

Watch eclectic folk masters The Barr Brothers perform three songs from their 2017 album Queens of the Breakers

The Barr Brothers released one of the most beautiful and intriguing records of 2017. Queens of the Breakers expands upon the curious wonder the band conjured on their 2014 LP Sleeping Operator, which earned them a Juno nomination for Adult Alternative Album of the Year.

This time around the band decided to shake things up a bit. Instead of honing frontman Brad Barr’s songs into finished pieces, the band headed to a remote cabin in Quebec with no preconceived ideas, to focus on a more collaborative and improvisational writing process. The band’s shared love for both ambient experimental music and traditional folk and blues resulted in an album that’s both familiar yet completely new.

Harpist Sarah Page cites Brian Eno as a major influence. “He has a way of really creating a landscape where the sounds he’s working with are really familiar, and at the same time you’ve never heard them before. They’re easy to get close to while remaining mysterious.” The band also nodded to experimental artists like Aphex Twin and Squarepusher, but also to the work of Alan Lomax, who meticulously documented American folk music of the 20th century. “Tom Waits,” Andrew Barr added, “is another artist who is really able to experiment and make the songs sound like they live in a world you get taken away to when you listen to his recordings.”

“After I listen to a lot of ambient music I really want to listen to something extremely grounded,” Brad Barr explained. “And after listening to music that’s grounded and more two-dimensional I want the reverse. It’s sort of a pendulum. With our music it almost seems like we’re trying to get both of them in there at the same time, and be able to colour these otherwise very straightforward songs with that kind of support and texture and ambience.”

They just wrapped up a tour alongside The War on Drugs, and are now on their own headlining tour which includes a stop in Toronto on Monday November 27th at the Danforth Music Hall.

“Queens of the Breakers”

“Kompromat”

“Song That I Heard”