Desert discs from The Lost Brothers

Days spent wandering in the Tuscon desert provided the inspiration for The Lost Brothers fifth studio album ‘Halfway Towards A Healing’.

The harmony-laden songwriters and musicians – Oisin Leech from Navan and UH Boneyard columnist, Mark McCausland from Omagh – recorded the new record in Arizona at the Dust and Stone Studios. It is a decade since The Lost Brothers began, says Mark, with “writing songs by accident and demoing them for fun”.

From their 2008 debut album, ‘Trails Of The Lonely’, produced in Portland, Oregon, by Mike Coykendall, through their acclaimed catalogue of records, The Lost Brothers say they like to continue to challenge themselves.

Being tested, and in turn inspired to do and be better, has made ‘Halfway Towards A Healing’ The Lost Brothers’ best album to date according to the folk duo.

Commenting about Howe Gelb’s unusual production methods at the aptly named Dust and Stone Studios, Mark said, “He would pick us up in the morning and take us out into the desert. We’d walk for hours, then he’d drop us back at the studio. We’d go through songs with studio engineer Gabriel Sullivan, then Howe would meet us at the end of the day, listen to what we’d done and work on the tracks. All those trips into the desert were to get the environment into our system.”

In this new 12-track record, location and emotion are softly suggested. From opening song, ‘Echoes In The Wind’, to closing spoken word track, ‘The Ballad Of A Lost Brother,’ via the instrumental cantina hymn, ‘Reigns Of Ruin’, the fragile finger-picking beauty of ‘More Than I Can Comprehend’, and the delicate strum of ‘Nothing’s Going To Change Me Now’, the songs reach out like fingers across a warm night to calm a troubled brow.

Mark continued, “Recording is the best for us, as well. It’s our passion, and the more we do it the less we take it for granted. Plus, we’re not trying to make it in the way we were when we were in our 20s. The goal is still there, but for different reasons. You shove everything aside when you’re much younger, but now we’re sorting out life, or certain aspects of it.”

While many of The Lost Brother albums have been “quite desolate,” admits Oisin, this one he says has “tiny slivers of hope”.

He said, “We’ve been challenged, and that has made the songs richer. We have definitely polished the gloom a bit! Weirdly, it’s our most forward-thinking record.”

• ‘Halfway Towards A Healing’ is being released by Bird Dog Records. Over the coming months The Lost Brothers tour are
touring Ireland and UK before travelling to the USA in March, Australia in April with summer festivals to be announced. The tour includes a hometown Omagh gig in the Strule Arts Centre on Saturday, December 16.

OVER the past few years you’d have a better chance of catching The Lost Brothers perform in New York...


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