Earlier this year, New York-based artist Brother Galen released his debut album On The Way. Immediately, listeners are made aware that Brother Galen is an old soul; his music combines elements of folk, bluegrass, singer-songwriter, and rock. On The Way prominently features Americana songs with a refreshing twist of modernity–without losing the comforting authenticity of the genre.
The track “Thinking’ of You,” for instance, includes percussive textures and beautiful harmony with Leslie Stevens. The song leads straight into “Hard Times,” which feels classic to the folk genre, thanks to the mix of harmonica and stripped-back strings. Across the mysticism of the production on the record, Brother Galen narrates an engaging story of love and loss, of memory, and of forgetting.
Brother Galen commented that the song “Hangin’ Out” maintains an edge “because its message is autobiographical. I chose last minute to speak it instead of singing it in the studio. I didn’t want to track it with any bass because of space for lyrics and a drum circle vibe, I want it to push the boundary between musical genres, which is the birth of the sound I call ‘street country.’” Throughout this self-described troubadour street country, Brother Galen pushes boundaries between the confines of what we consider folk and Americana.
In an effort to learn a bit more about Brother Galen’s inspiration for the album, he curated a playlist for us:
“fuego” – (feat. Tyler the Creator) Channel Tres
“Killers 3 “- A.A. Bondy
“Holy Roller” Thao and the get down stay down
“Hangin’ Out” – Brother Galen
“I get along without you very well” – M. Ward
“County Line” – Cass McCombs
“Nice and quiet” – Bedouine
“Is Anything Wrong” – Lhasa de Sela