Coming together in rural Missouri circa 2009 to embrace a communal love of Americana music, Ray Vietti joined with Ben and Zach Kilmer to form the first iteration of The Harmed Brothers. Drawing inspiration and influence from artists such as Wilco, Ryan Adams, and The Avett Brothers, the trio hit the road shortly after forming the band and eventually made their way to Eugene, Oregon, where they came across songwriter Alex Salcido. Immediately falling into a sort of instinctual ease with each other, Vietti and Salcido began writing songs that sidestepped conventional rhythms and bluegrass structure in order to develop their own self-styled “indiegrass” aesthetic. Melding indie rock fervor with the intricate fretwork of bluegrass, the band (now minus Zach Kilmer and with Troy Broat on upright bass) steer their way through both genres without slowing and manage to come out on the other side with something unique and wholly their own. You can check out this unconventional approach when their latest record, Better Days, is released on October 15th.
For our first glimpse into the world of Better Days, the band has chosen the banjo/acoustic guitar shuffle of “When You See Me.” Playing around with basic bluegrass and folk tropes, the band constructs the song around the detailed description of a failed relationship, with hushed banjo plucks and mournful acoustic guitar strums giving us an overview of the universal, though emotionally stirring, portrait of a splintered love. But this isn’t some maudlin pining for lost love, there is a sense of acceptance and moving on that keeps the narrative from becoming bogged down in rote sentimentality. The same could be said for the music, which keeps things moving along at a brisk clip, never allowing the rhythm to pause or lose any of the momentum that it quietly builds with each verse and chorus. It becomes a surging locomotive, barreling toward some hazy, undefined point – which in the end, may or may not involve closure for either the narrator or the lost love.
Beats Per Minute is pleased to premiere the first single, “When You See Me,” from The Harmed Brothers’ upcoming record, Better Days.