Who: The Little Brother Band
When: Friday, Aug. 4
Wes Reamsbottom came to visit his big brother in Whistler four years back. Big brothers always carry a certain lore about them and with this big brother fronting Whistler’s most infamous bands, The Hairfarmers and A Whole Lotta Led, there was even more to admire.
And so at a regular jam night at Dusty’s with Grateful Greg at the helm, Wes was given his band name, dubbed by the king of après himself.
"I’d like to introduce Little Brother," Greg said at the jam night, welcoming Wes to the stage.
And The Little Brother Band was born, staging another musical talent under the Reamsbottom name.
The youngest of four boys, Wes is Little Brother through and through, but he’s got big dreams all coming together at the launch party celebrating the release of the band’s inaugural album, Reflections, Friday, Aug. 4 at Merlin’s.
"We’ve had tons of success live, anywhere we have a show they’ve had us back," Wes said. "But, we were ready to take it to the next stage with a full-length album. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I am going as far as I can with it. I’ve got all my ducks in a row and am going for it."
Wes not only has a Whistler and Vancouver fan base behind him, including his big brother, but also more than 700 youth, all rallying to his musical crusade.
The English and guitar teacher at a Lower Mainland school solicited his students’ help – they followed Wes through the recording process, providing invaluable feedback. The band’s friends list on www.myspace.com/wesreamsbottom is saturated with students logging onto the band.
"The support from my school is crazy; it’s its own little community," Wes said.
And there is plenty to be crazy about with the 15-track album running the music genre gamut, with folk, R & B, bluegrass and rock. Listen carefully, and in the middle of what at first appears to be a folk-rock song, a jazz progression sneaks underneath it, bringing depth and complexity to acoustic rock that leaves plenty of breathing room to move around in.
Wes’s mom loved R & B, his dad, Elvis and his big brother, Led Zeppelin. Why limit a sound to one when you can thread all of the influences together with accessible lyrics, harmonies tighter than denim and a knock out fronting voice that does his big brother proud?
"He’s a passionate performer and a hyper-talented songwriter," Greg said. "I wish I had half his writing talent."
Wes is joined by guitarist Dan Myers, keyboardist and saxophonist Kelly McQuillan and brothers Tyler Friesen on drums and Davis Friesen on bass. Myers also switches up from guitar to keyboard to lead vocals on songs such as California’s Calling, which can be listened to at the band’s myspace.com site.
"He’s got a totally different sound," Wes explained. "He sounds like Aaron Neville at times. A white guy that sounds like a big black dude. He has a very soulful voice. The songwriting carries the similar folk-rock sound, but just a different voice."
With band members being able to switch it up at the mic at any given moment, that may explain why the band’s harmonies are so masterfully executed, providing a sixth instrument to the band’s sound.
With both Reamsbottom boys busy performing the Vancouver/Whistler music circuit, never have the two met for a double trouble show. For now, Wes is happy enough to look out into an audience with his big brother standing by, a big man with a beard somewhere in the middle, both studying and supporting the family trade.
"We are both supportive and critical," Wes said. "We study each other. Our voices are so similar. When we sing together, our harmonies are so tight because our voices are so close. Greg has always got a show (when I come to Whistler), so never shall the two meet."
Uncle Nestor will open for the Little Brother Band, warming up the crowds with country-fried rock before the main show at 9 p.m.