FEATURE: Travers Brothership
By Brian Turk
If you had the pleasure of seeing Travers Brothership perform at Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance a couple of weekends ago, you probably noticed a surprising amount of chemistry between the musicians on-stage. The hour-and-a-half set gave the band room to breath, open up, and roar. And their nearly telepathic communication allowed them access to an improvisational plane that was way beyond what the common hippie calls "jamming."
Kyle and Eric Travers are the launching pad for the Travers Brothership experience. The twin brothers were inundated with music growing up, via there blues-loving father, who is not only an aficionado but musician himself. Their single father stepped off the touring circuit to raise the two boys. And he raised them on the blues. Playing music 24/7, in the car or at home, their father explained what they were hearing, told them who was playing and trained them to be astute listeners. And musicians.
GrassRoots Gazette recently chatted with 25-year-old Kyle Travers about the roots of Travers Brothership, and it became evident the chemistry seen on-stage is present in everyday life for them as well. Not just between the two bothers, but between the band of brothers that have been playing together for half their lives. "We are on our sixth year now with Travers Brothership," Kyle Travers said. "But we started jamming together in a garage when we were 12 or 13 years old". When musicians start playing together at a young age, it gives them advantages. Just as teaching a child, a foreign language does. The four members of Travers Brothership grew up within the music they were creating with each other. The music raised them. That is a huge factor in the level of communication the band has on-stage.
After spending a few years in the garage together, playing aggressive Hendrix, Zeppelin, and Rage Against the Machine covers, Kyle Travers stumbled upon a band, and an album, that changed the flight path of the Brothership. For whatever reason, most likely because he had listened to them too much in the 70s, the Travers brothers father didn't play much Allman Brothers in their home. So, when Kyle Travers was a sophomore in High School and saw an on-demand concert of the Allman Brothers (the Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks version) playing at the Beacon Theater, Kyle was sucked in. He went to his father, who pointed him to At Fillmore East, and the rockets fired. "At Fillmore East started the vision for the band," shared Travers. "We would all go into the garage and try to replicate the album. That process showed us how much fun it is to jam. That album turned us on to the blues more too. You can safely say that Live at The Fillmore East helped shape what Travers Brothership is about."
What captivated the boys the most was the tightness of the record. They already knew how to play loud and aggressive, but they wanted to play as clean as The Allman Brother did. "We would sit there and listen to the album over and over again...and we couldn't find a mistake. I mean, all these cuts were live. It made us realize that level of musicianship was attainable. You can play a live show that is that tight. Without it being scripted. That's what we set out to do".
Once Kyle Travers got introduced to the Allman Brothers, he dug deep into the band's catalog, and the band's history. And that is where he thinks he identified the catalyst for the level of synergy the Allman Brothers had on-stage. According to Travers, it was "unity within the band" that made the Allman Brothers what they were. "I have read just about anything I could find on the Allman Brothers," divulged Travers. "Leading up to live At Fillmore East, the Allman Brothers had played 250 dates a year for three years. They lived every day together. It was like they were married. They knew everything about each other. The time they spent bonding off the stage made their music better. That made their on-stage presence was more natural and cohesive".
Two twin brothers raised on the blues. Four musicians who have played together for 12 years - since childhood. The Allman Brothers as their guide. It's no secret how this band came to be. And not only do we see the chemistry from the crowd. They are feeling it on the stage as well. "We have a strong feeling of unity inside the music," proclaimed Travers. "We each inhabit every note and beat. When you get four guys that are in that frame of mind and start to read each other's minds a little bit, some magical moments can be found. I am really thankful for that. I am so glad we all decided to stick with it, and we haven't had a rotating cast of band members".
When GrassRoots Gazette asked Travers if he thinks the band is applying the Allman Brothers philosophies successfully, he replied with a resounding yes, in the most humble tone. "That is what we have strived for since the beginning," explained Travers. "And we've obtained it. In my opinion. I think that's why people like watching us play. They can see we are indeed a band of brothers. And we are working together all as one. There is no one star in the band. There are four".