June 14, 2014 · 5:00pm

no cover

Acoustic set from Eugene, OR-based indie/Americana duo The Harmed Brothers in the pub.

The Harmed Brothers


Fate is a very frightening word with far reaching implications.  It contends there is a grand design moving you by forces you can’t comprehend. For The Harmed Brothers, fate stepped in and allowed them to embrace conviction much like a young Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar once did. Although the communion between those two may have dissolved, The Harmed Brothers’ Ray Vietti and Alex Salcido have created a similar dynamic fueled by many of Uncle Tupelo’s early offerings to the Americana movement.

Rising up from rural Missouri in 2009, Ray Vietti started the first incarnation of The Harmed Brothers with Ben and Zach Kilmer based on a mutual admiration of Ryan Adams, Wilco, and Avett Brothers. The fledgling group quickly took to the road and made their way eventually to Eugene, Oregon where Vietti met his musical soul mate Alex Salcido. At this point the two songwriters chose to forego the typical rhythm section and began to focus on the blueprint for their music to establish a menagerie of sound best described as “indiegrass”. After some line-up tinkering, The Harmed Brothers of 2013 offers up a membership of  Vietti and Salcido along with Troy Broat on upright bass and Ben Kilmer on drums after a period away.

An emotional rollercoaster is a phrase often used when discussing The Harmed Brothers live events. They are loud, sweaty, romantic affairs that are high on energy and rarely fail to leave an imprint on the memory. This is a group that believes in the old fashioned drive to succeed by getting in a van and crisscrossing the country or traveling abroad, making friends, gaining experience, growing closer and realizing that making music is a calling that they had no choice but to answer. Those in the know will breathe a sigh of relief with the knowledge that this will remain The Harmed Brothers’ plan of action.

Better Days the upcoming long player, due out October 15th, showcases the band at the height of their powers as they immerse in blissful harmonies and their trademarked sound of banjo/guitar shuffling. The songs recall wistful romantic notions of times that are to be remembered kindly, but need to be closed if only for the sense of self preservation. “When You See Me” is a track that brings great clarity to a failed relationship. “Love Song for the Assumed” goes the distance as a call to grow up and mend fences and to let go of the pain and blame you’ve put on yourself. Fans of their previous efforts such as 2010’s All the Lies You Wanna Hear or 2012’s Come Morning will embrace Better Days as a sorely missed lover. As for the uninitiated, Better Days will caress the musical palette and serve as an introduction to their earlier releases.

Ray Vietti likes to recall his early days with Alex Salcido with a sense of awe at what he perceives as his great fortune. “I know it sounds corny, but really we are from different places in life and from different places in the country and somehow these different worlds collided to make what we like to call ‘beautiful chaos’. It may of just been fate.” Thank you fate.