By Tim Newman
TFW Contributing Writer
Benjamin Del Shreve and Randall Shreve are at it again with a collaborative project temporarily titled The Brothers Shreve. Although the brothers were both contributing members of GS Megaphone, the band that got the brothers’ musical career in the national limelight, this is the first time that both Benjamin and Randall have shared the front-man position.
In the band that would eventually become GSM, Randall was a participating song writer, but was in the back on the drums. Benjamin was very supportive of his brother’s music, but he only joined the band when — with no previous musical experience and half-jokingly — he offered to replace the band’s flaky bass player. The first time he held a bass, a friend explained to him which direction on the neck was up, which was down, and told him, “If you find the wrong note, the right one is in one of those two directions.” After some lineup changes, Benjamin took over the lead vocalist position and, before GSM’s final round of shows, he took over on guitar too.
After the dissolution of GSM in 2003, both brothers pursued music separately. Benjamin toured in the U.S. and Europe before landing in Florida and eventually bringing his band to Fayetteville, where he established himself in the local music scene. Since 2003, Benjamin has recorded a total of nine unreleased albums. He is considering releasing the albums in 2012, but he still refrains from performing solo shows. He says providing atmosphere music in a coffee shop or bar was making him “mad” at his guitar.
Currently, the Benjamin Del Shreve band is currently working on their third release, “You Need Want”, which he describes as being his “lyrical epitaph” and having more of an “old school” sound.
Randall found himself in a few places before settling in New York where he met Timothy Grace, who has played with Randall as the SideShow’s piano player. After Randall released a solo album, the two were pulled to Fayetteville because of the local music.
Randall admits that he wasn’t ashamed to ride his brother’s coattails; although that hasn’t been the case for some time. Benjamin, who had lived in Fayetteville for four years, helped his brother by setting up shows, promoting to his own fan base, and relaying venue and radio contacts.
After Randall released “The Entertainer” in 2008, he began fronting Randall Shreve and the SideShow, which released “The Jester” only a couple months back. Randall also has a new solo EP recorded with a target release date in the spring. He describes the feel of the record as “mainstream, stripped down, sweet music” with mostly “love and heartache songs.”
Although the brothers weren’t planning on their joint effort manifesting this soon, at the insistence of their friends Ty Edwards and Ry Reeves, they conceited to prematurely kicking off this project with a show that took place last Saturday at Rouge on Dickson. The Shreve brothers were joined by bassist and drummer from the SideShow, Geoff Baker and Zach Reese, respectively.
Also featured were many guest appearances, namely, Robert Geiger and Jonathan Holder from Benjamin Del Shreve and Timothy Grace from the SideShow. With only a handful of 12-hour-long rehearsals under their belts, the show consisted of a wide variety of covers, from Roy Orbison to Nazareth to Dwight Yoakam, and only a few originals. Randall says they started with mostly covers “thinking it might spur direction” for the brothers’ collaboration.
“There has never been a feeling of competition,” says Randall about the brothers’ music. Instead, each pushes the other into stretching his musical boundaries. In The Brothers Shreve, Randall is taking on more lead guitar than usual and finding comfort outside his traditional vaudevillian style — which reached new heights Randall’s last project, the SideShow.
Benjamin is nailing harmonies and learning to voice again, setting aside his “rougher the better” approach in his normal vocal style. All the while, his expanding ability at guitar leads to a much more athletic and colorful contribution to the project.
There appears to be no ego thrown in the middle as they both work to make the other a better musician. This was evidenced during one rehearsal as The Brothers Shreve were working on a bluesy jam song. They swapped orders without reproach; and it was their combined effort that ultimately produced a better song.
Benjamin says, “[I’m] pretty stoked to play with my brother,” and that couldn’t be more obvious in the supportive dynamic of their relationship on and off the stage. This is one musical endeavor for which fans of both artists have quietly waited for a long time. Now, they just have to be patient enough to see how the sound of The Brothers Shreve will develop in the coming months. For more info, check out bdsband.com or randallshreve.com.