It’s clear why touring Australian country musicians are a dime a dozen these days – from the regions to the cities, there’s never any shortage of demand for music that describes and embellishes our pastoral nature.
The Ahern Brothers – aka much-loved and endlessly-touring musicians Josh Rennie-Hayes and Steve Grady – have adopted a slightly different music style for their latest release.
The duo adopted the moniker to stamp on the front of their new self-titled release, which sees their usual flair on show – soft-emotive melodies, subtle composition, a deep well of passionate imagery – but through the lens of American tochbearers like the Everly Brothers and Simon and Garfunkel, rather than a direct Australian influence.
This resulted from a trip the pair took to the U.S, and all the obvious inspirations thrown in their way.
“We didn’t go over there planning on deliberately writing an album,” Grady said.
“But when we did get there, it’s a bit overwhelming. You feel the things you think about America – the freedom, the wide open spaces, all of the different facets of the place.
“I was working a full-time job, so when we arrived, it was like a switch was flipped.”
Revolving around tales of lost love, running from the law and more lost love, the album sits out of time in the way the best country albums do – its topics and emotions could be about anyone, in any point in time.
“I think it was more the feeling of the place, more than anything, that influenced the album,” Grady said.
“I’ve played with Josh for years now, so the energy and communication between us, that’s the core of the songwriting. I can’t put my finger on one thing that influenced us, except for just being in that place at that time, and the usual way it works between us.”
The album itself as as raw and honest as the songs themselves – working with engineer and producer Roger Bergodaz (The Dark Horses, Tex Perkins, Umberto Echo) the duo decided to forego studio production in order to focus on a direct sound.
“We wanted it to sound as live as possible, so there was no studio production, no layering,” Grady said.
“It ended up sounding as raw as it does when we sing it live, which is exactly how we wanted it.”
Halfway through the tour for the album, the Ahern Brothers looks to be an ongoing project, albeit not necessarily continuing along the Americana line.
“I don’t know, we’ll just have to see how it turns out," Grady said.
“Whatever it is, I know that it will be me and Josh doing what we’ve done for a while now, that will still be the core.”
The Ahern Brothers perform at Mataya Eatery, Scholl Street for Winter Wonderland on August 3.
Tickets available from alwaysgoodnights.com/shows or in person at the venue.