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6:12pm Friday 22nd February 2013 in Music
The family that plays together stays together, as two brothers are proving, Ian Lamming reports
TWO North Yorkshire teenagers take to the stage, their dickie bows looking out of place with their acoustic and electric guitars.
A previous performance sees the brothers slotted into the choir – hence the attire – in a typical school concert before a packed house of proud parents and teachers. Expectations are modest until they strike the first chord, from which point the concert becomes a gig, the audience transported through music from Northallerton College to any hip and happening venue in the world.
This is the sound of music 21st Century style and the brothers, who call themselves Rhodesbros, are very cool contemporary von Trapps from a family that loves to perform.
As a cover version of Connor Maynard’s Vegas Girls blasts from the college stage, mouths drop open in wonder. A few weeks later, as the college stages a celebration evening, the brothers are back on stage – this time with an equally impressive rendition of Bruno Mars’ Locked Out of Heaven.
The extent of the talent of siblings Matthew and Thomas doesn’t stop there. Back in their Northallerton home, a bedroom has been converted into a sound studio and they are putting the finishes touches to their latest work, Who We Are, which is about to be recorded and released on YouTube.
Their raw talent goes way beyond that of happy amateurs and their music has received nearly 100,000 hits online. In that respec,t they have a bit of catching up to do as their eldest brother Gareth, 35, has topped four million hits and has 10,000 subscribers.
No wonder they have brought him into the band.
In Sound of Music fashion, they could also include mum Andrea, a classically-trained singer and pianist who is a peripatetic music teacher, or even dad Mark, a retired police officer who is none too shabby on the sax and guitar, but limits his involvement to advice and technical support.
“We all just love music,” says Matthew, 18, who started learning the clarinet when he was seven and now also plays guitar, drums, sax, flute and piano and is planning to study music at university. “It is all about the music and it’s great being brothers because we can say anything without anyone taking offence.”
“I hope to follow a similar route to Matthew,” says Thomas, 16, who plays guitar, trumpet and piano. I think we will stay together as a band because we do like each other. We do value our parents’ opinions too because they have a lot of experience.”
Andrea says: “They get on so much better since they started playing together and they hardly ever argue.”
Mark adds: “It really is domestic harmony and the nice thing is that there are no egos involved and they have a fantastic work ethic. I hate the cult of manufactured celebrity and have always counselled the boys not to seek it, because it isn’t good for you.
“Everyone just wants the best for everyone else. Mum helps them with their singing technique and we have feedback sessions on what we feel works best. I am not offended if they don’t take it on board because music is art and art is subjective – but they did use some of my lyrics in one of their songs.”
Gareth brings a rockier edge to the sound, makes three-part harmonies possible and adds depth with his electric guitar. Set lists range from heavy rock to rock’n’roll and are growing all the time.
Their reputation is already cemented at school. Head of music at Northallerton College Adrian Bramley says: “The brothers are incredibly talented musicians and it is so refreshing to see that it is about the music not the current obsession with seeking celebrity. Their brilliance stems from the solid grounding they have in classical music and they can turn their hands to any style. The music they are writing is original, exciting and current. It is easy to see why they are building up such a strong following.”
Matthew says: “We just want to play and earn a living performing and recording. We would like to meet and work with as many musicians as possible and we have contacts in New York, where we would love to play, as well as in LA.
“We love writing music and will start with a few chords and then just watch it progress. We all chip in with the lyrics and find inspiration everywhere.
One song was about a 1980s movie we watched. I wrote another about a party I’d been to. With others I am writing about stuff that hasn’t actually happened to me yet, like falling in love. We have written a lot of rubbish but the material we put on You Tube, we are really happy with.”
As the diary fills for the year with commissions to perform at weddings, in pubs and at music festivals, and with more and more work being published on-line, the Rhodesbros’ futures are on a roll.
- See Rhodesbros on YouTube at MattyRds95
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