While at Celtic Connections I got the chance to watch The Lost Brothers support Glen Hansard and near enough bring the house down. On top of this I then got to meet them briefly before asking them for an interview. This is that interview, given by one half of the band Oisin Leech (other half Mark McCausland) who tells us stories of ‘Midnight Rambles’, touring with Glen Hansard and playing with Happy Traum to name a few.
CB: I saw you performing at the Celtic Connections Festival this year with Glen Hansard at the Old Fruit market. The crowd loved every minute of your set. Did you enjoy it?
OL: We loved playing Glasgow. We always do, Celtic Connections is a great festival and it’s all about the music. Touring with Glen is always a great experience. He welcomes us on the tour like brothers and everyone gets to work. It’s always great fun, a hootenanny for want of a better word.
CB: Did you get to catch any of the festival yourselves?
OL: Yes we wandered from street to street and ended up at the festival club at 3am wearing someone else’s coat.
CB: He mentioned that he had asked you guys to support him in the past. Would you guys say that you have become friends over the years?
OL: Yes Glen is a good friend and has been so supportive to us. He gave us the breaks to get out and play in front of people. Every gig is a gift and touring with him is a blast. Great memories and good times all around, Woof!
CB: The tour ended in Liverpool. Was it a good place to finish up given your own history with the city?
OL: Liverpool is our old home. We are big Beatles fans too, best place to end the tour.
CB: Do you both still keep in touch with your respective bands ‘The 747’s’ and ‘The Basements’
OL: I saw Massimo from 747’s last month in London and he was in great form and yes some of The Basements have come to the gigs.
CB: Amy Helm performed at the festival as well. You guys are doing a ‘Midnight Ramble’. How did that come about and are you looking forward to it?
OL: I don’t know how anything comes about…we just turn up and play…it’s a big thrill to have played a ‘Midnight Ramble’ at Levon Helm Studios. Levon Helm’s book ‘This Wheels on Fire’ is a must read for anyone. He was a giant and his legacy lives on. The Ramble turned out to be one of our favourite nights ever. ‘The Midnight Ramble Band’ are so great. They rocked it on Saturday. Happy Traum was there too! Long may the ‘Midnight Rambles’ continue. It brings people together under a warm roof of very special music and vibes it feels like a family event. Bonfires in the car park and a lake to walk around!
CB: During and after your performance people were throwing comparisons all over the place. Some were saying that you guys were very Everly Brothers and others were comparing to Simon & Garfunkel. Is that something you come across a lot?
OL: We love the ‘Everly Brothers’ and ‘Simon and Garfunkel’. We are huge fans of their music. Won’t argue with comparisons like that. Sometimes we hear a certain sound in our heads and we try to grab it, but it always comes out different and there lies the fun of it, the magic.
CB: Your latest album ‘The Passing of Night’ has been very well received. Where you both pleased with the results?
OL: Yes I love all three of our albums. But we are always looking to what’s next. We have the next album almost written. We have demo’s of about 16 new songs. We are writing some new songs in Woodstock this week. Some of them are terrifying. 25 minutes jams and spoken word, we may have to make 2 albums.
CB: You recorded this in Nashville that must have been fun. Especially with Brendon Benson and the backing band you had acquired to help with recording. Would you say recording there had an overall effect on what the final album would sound like?
OL: The city or place you record in will always find its way onto the album in some way. We wrote half the album in Nashville so I would say yes. The other half we wrote in Navan and Omagh back in Ireland. We finished some songs on the plane over. We’re always writing songs in our heads.
CB: A favourite of mine on the album is ‘Now That the Night Has Come’. Do you have any particular favourites that you enjoyed playing or recording?
OL: I love all the songs you know…. you can’t pick your favourite child.
CB: The track ‘Hey Miss Fannie’ is an early Roy Orbison number and was apparently suggested by the Orbison Estate. Could you elaborate a little more on how they came to suggesting a song for your album?
OL: We were invited to the Roy Orbison building in Nashville and they took us in the basement and gave us every Roy song he’d ever recorded. They asked would we record a Roy song and we said we’d be honoured. Of course we would.
CB: What prompted you to start your own label ‘Bird Dog Recordings’ in 2008?
OL: Oh we just did it. Didn’t think about it.
CB: Where you guys nervous about starting out again with a new project or were you both very sure of what you had when recording ‘Trails of the Lonely’?
OL: No not nervous at all. We had no idea what we were doing we just enjoyed singing and writing songs. The albums all fall together when the season is right.
CB: At the time of this interview you are off to Canada to perform at ‘The Folk Alliance Festival’ in Toronto. Was it a good crowd?
OL: Great fun ‘The Folk Alliance’ people are in it for the love of music and we had a ball.
CB: What is your favourite part recording or touring?
OL: I love both. Depends on where your head is at or how the weather is.
CB: What does 2013 hold for you this year?
OL: We tour with Billy Bragg in the summer… summer festivals and then we start the new album.
CB: What music are you listening to at the moment?
OL: I like Doug Paisley and listening a lot to Miles Davis. Also enjoying Sweeney’s Men.
CB: If you had to pick a sort of “Desert Island Disc” if you will. What would be that one album you could take with you?
OL: ‘Blood on the Tracks’ by Bob Dylan could be the one. In fact Happy Traum played on that album. We played on stage with him in Woodstock last week. Now that was a big moment. Brownie McGhee taught him guitar! He played on ‘Buckets of Rain’ and ‘I Shall Be Released’ by Bob Dylan. It was a big honour meeting Traum and playing music together.