photo courtesy of The Belle Brigade
Siblings Barbara & Ethan Gruska have been staying very busy this year; The duo, more commonly known as The Belle Brigade, released Just Because, a follow up to their seminal, self-titled debut and have spent the better part of 2014 on the road supporting and backing Ray Lamontagne on his Supernova Tour. The tour, which begin in May, has dates currently extending through the end of November and has featured guests like Jenny Lewis and Jason Isbell.
On Thursday, October 30th, both Lamontagne and The Belle Brigade will make their debut in Macon, Georgia at the historic Macon Auditorium. Tickets are currently on-sale and various ticketing options are available.
Ethan Gruska took a few minutes to speak with us about their busy year, coming to Macon, and life off the road.
Enjoy the interview and the video for “Ashes”.
Thanks for speaking with me, hope you both are doing well.. You’ve been on the road with Ray Lamontagne for a large portion of the year, both opening for him and playing as part of his live band, correct? I assume it’s a tiring process between having to learn the songs and then perform for twice as long as usual each night…
Thank you! It’s definitely a lot of work playing for so long every night with all the different material, but what we are doing is so fun that generally, it doesn’t really feel tiring… Sometimes when we have 5 or 6 shows in a row (10-12 sets for us) that can be a bit fatiguing, but most of the time we get enough rest and can enjoy putting on the different hats!
Just Because, the follow up to your major-label debut, was released about sixth months ago (congrats) on ATO, a label known for their strong relationships with their artists and tendency to be more supportive and open to the creative approach to music…..How did the relationship with Reprise affect the final outcome of the most recent record?
It didn’t have a major impact on the record itself actually… We came to Reprise with a finished record and they were concerned about multiple things. It wasn’t really what they were expecting and maybe looking for from us and we chose to stick to our guns and keep it the way it was. Although we did end up parting ways, they were very respectful to us and kind in letting us go and follow our own path without any struggle and we are very grateful to them for that… Other than that scenario though, they weren’t really heavily involved with Just Because. Really, it was just our personal adventure in branching out from what we had done on our first record.
Speaking of ATO, your label mate Benjamin Booker just released a wonderful album – have you had the chance to hear it?
No we actually haven’t heard it yet but have heard from various people that it’s great!
You’ll be making your debut in Macon, Georgia on October 30th with Ray Lamontagne as part of his ongoing tour.. Have you been to Macon before… or know anything about the city? I believe this will be his first show here as well..
No we’ve never been to Macon before and don’t really know anything about it… We are excited to learn!! :)
You’ll be on the road with the Supernova Tour through November and then it looks like finally you’ll get some time off! What keeps either of you occupied during your time off the road – any new books or music?
During downtime we do various things to stay occupied and inspired… We’re always working on new songs, reading new books and poems, learning new magic tricks, and binge watching Mind of a Chef… Catching up with friends and family is always what we really want to do after a long tour… It will be nice to get a good chunk of time with the people we love.
The Belle Brigade – “Ashes”