The Harmed Brothers
Nestled between the rolling farmland of Oregon’s Willamette Valley and the impossibly tall trees further south, the gold and timber town of Cottage Grove has always drawn an eclectic mix of dreamers, drifters and prophets to its downtown Main Street.
For about a decade now, many of these frontier misfits have gathered to carouse and quench their thirst at the Axe & Fiddle Pub, and if the Harmed Brothers owe the path they’ve forged these past few years to any particular beer-soaked barroom along the way, it’s got to be the Fiddle.
It’s more than likely the place where, in early 2009, singer/songwriter Ray Vietti — already the veteran of one ambitious but ill-fated musical dream — first encountered Alex Salcido, and it’s probably where the two musicians first decided to jam. Soon enough, Vietti would come to recognize Salcido as a kindred spirit in both vision and song, and the young tunesmith would help write the Harmed Brothers saga with an insightful, often wistful lyrical and instrumental voice that offers a fitting complement to Vietti’s gritty baritone and powerful chords.
The fledgling duo paused in the Grove for a moment, gathering steam, trading tunes and talking possibilities, performing for crowds there and in nearby Eugene before striking out for the open road — their second home ever since and the undeniable inspiration for many of the songs and stories to follow.
Soon after their first meeting, Vietti and Salcido quickly recorded and released their independent debut, “All The Lies You Wanna Hear,” and began to tell the tales of love, loss, hard-drinking and redemption that have since endeared them to legions of fans and fellow musicians.
In 2011, the Harmed Brothers’ evolution as songwriters and as a touring act showed through with their sophomore effort, “Come Morning,” a release from Oklahoma-based Lackpro Records that sways with the rhythms of the road and the forlorn waltzes of a nation’s dive bars and dance halls.
These days, they call it “indiegrass,” the rustic American musical blend that celebrates and chronicles the physical and emotional gauntlet the Harmed Brothers have always ridden, zigzagging endlessly in vans across the nation. It’s an inclusive sound, the melding of two unique voices adorned each night with the contributions of the many pickers, singers and songwriters the Brothers have encountered in their travels.
It’s known as the “Harmed Family Roadshow,” and it’s as much a nightly happening as a sound in constant flux — from a jangly acoustic three-piece one night to a manic mariachi string band the next, a wall of rock-and-roll bombast at times giving way to the whispered incantations of two folk troubadours, often within the span of a single song.
Two years more on the road brought a European tour and a host of new fans, and by 2013, Salcido and Vietti stood poised to offer their most ambitious album to date. “Better Days,” recorded in a St. Louis studio and released by Portland, Oregon-based Fluff and Gravy Records, draws inspiration from themes of personal growth and redemption as well as the hurdles, heartbreaks and mishaps that have always accompanied the traveler’s search for enlightenment. Praised as “honest and inspired, devoid of posturing and pretense,” “Better Days” features some of the Harmed Brothers’ deepest grooves and their most plaintive and enduring tunes to date.
In the winter of 2015, the “Harmed Family Roadshow” gathered together in all its tattered glory in Portland, Oregon, the Brothers’ adopted home and headquarters, to begin amassing the riffs and recollections that will become their definitive recorded work. Due from Fluff and Gravy in early 2016, the album draws from the tales and talents of many of the duo’s closest collaborators and dearest friends. It promises textures never before captured on a Harmed Brothers release, brought together by the two visions and voices that propel the band toward an inspired and undeniable future.
David Dondero (born June 24, 1969 in Duluth, Minnesota, United States) is an American songwriter, guitarist, former lead singer of the band Sunbrain. In 2006, NPR's All Songs Considered named David one of the "best living songwriters" alongside Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Tom Waits. Dondero started his musical career on drums at the age of 10, due in part to the fact that he "was always drumming on stuff with my hands". Dondero released four records with the Clemson, SC-based punk/hardcore band Sunbrain (three on Grass Records and one on Ghostmeat Records), before breaking up in 1995. The following year, Dondero joined This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb for nearly two years as their drummer. He left in 1998 to focus on his solo material. He has since released seven solo albums - two with Ghostmeat Records, three with Future Farmer Records and the most recent two with Team Love Records. His eighth album, titled # Zero with a Bullet, was released on August 3, 2010. Dondero has toured with such acts as Crooked Fingers, Jolie Holland, Against Me!, The Mountain Goats, David Bazan,Preston School of Industry, Bright Eyes, Tilly and the Wall, Erik Petersen of Mischief Brew, Spoon, and Willy Mason.
Darrin Bradbury has been writing songs, sleeping on couches, and living out of cars for a large portion of the past 8 years. He splits his time touring both solo and with his critically acclaimed NJ thrash folk collective "Big Wilson RIver". Averaging nearly 125 shows a year for the past 8 years.
"It’s quite possible that no living artist better illustrates man’s affection for self-deprication better than Darrin Bradbury"
- Chris Rotolo (Speakimge.com)
"Big Wilson River plays my favorite kind of trashiness: Here you'll find songs written about badass literary figures the way other bands discuss a wild night out"
- NY Deli Magazine