MUSICIAN-TO-MUSICIAN, BROTHER-TO-BROTHER >>>
It's not often that musicians can say they have been performing together since early childhood. Brothers Evan and Ryan Purcell, both in their mid 40s, can make such a claim. Over the years, the two have played in many local bands - a few together. Wednesday, April 21, Evan and Ryan will perform as a duo - singing each other's songs, favorite covers and maybe punching each other in the arm once or twice - at the Tempest Lounge.
I had the honor of listening in on the brothers' conversation as they planned their Wednesday show. I couldn't get one word in.
EVAN PURCELL: Yeah, I guess us playing music together ... it goes back a ways ... back to when we were just kids sitting around singing old folk songs our dad used to play.
RYAN PURCELL: Or just as likely singing the words to every musical ever written. It was the golden days of '70s musicals and we knew all the words to Jesus Christ Superstar and many others. But go ahead Ev.
EVAN: Dad learned to play guitar in the Army and after he got out, used some of the GI Bill to attend the Chicago School of Folk Music where he learned from the likes of Leadbelly and Pete Seager. There weren't too many days that went by where our family wasn't singing "If I Had A Hammer," "Blowing in the Wind" or one of the hundreds of other songs Dad knew all the words too.
RYAN: "The Frozen Logger" was a favorite of mine.
EVAN: Yeah, or "Dark as A Dungeon." We grew up overseas throughout the whole decade of the '70s, living for the most part, in a little town just to the north of Frankfurt, Germany. That's one thing about living in a place where you don't speak the language ... it makes you have to rely on each other more, and I've always sorta thought that's why we've gotten along so well.
RYAN: I won't speculate.
EVAN: Over the years we've played off and on together in various bands. I tend to be a bit better of a guitar player than your and you tend to be a more prolific songwriter.
RYAN: How come you get to be "better" and I just get to be "more prolific?" Could we just instead say that you're a "more prolific" guitar player than I - you certainly do like to play more notes and use more complicated chordal progressions. Let's just not put a value on it, OK?
EVAN: Sure, if it makes you feel better. One thing we don't do is any of my songs when we play in bands together. Why is this you ask?
RYAN: Not really totally true. You forget our band MOJO SKILL! We did some of your songs in that band. Faulty premise.
EVAN: Well I guess if you want to go back 15 years, then sure Mojo Skill counts. My guess is that there seems to be an intimidation factor involved - me being the award-winning songwriter and all.
RYAN: Intimidate? Ha! Ha! Whatever!
EVAN: Back in 2007 I put out a solo record.
RYAN: ATTACHMENTS - a fine CD and, for the record, one I wasn't invited to play on.
EVAN: And about a year after that Ryan put out his ...
RYAN: ... Kick the Dirt CD and yes, you make an appearance in the liner notes - lead and slide guitar. Then you complained because we had to replace one of your guitar tracks. Because it was Out Of Tune! (at least some of it was) So we changed the part. It was for the greater good! Water under the bridge anyway, right?
EVAN: I thought your CD turned out great! And I'm having a great time performing the songs in our band - Ryan Purcell and the Last Round.
RYAN: I'm hoping someone in Tacoma books us for a show. We have nothing scheduled down here until July for Christ's sakes.
EVAN: We should perform some of our new material Wednesday, April 21 at the Tempest Lounge.
RYAN: Good idea.
EVAN: I thought we would take a break from the whole band thing for a minute and just pull out of couple of acoustic guitars, pull up a chair ...
RYAN: A couple of chairs mind you. I will be sitting as well.
EVAN: I meant that! ... at the Tempest and do a little song swap. Pull out some material we don't usually play, maybe dust off a few folk songs our dad taught us years ago and just see where the evening takes us.
RYAN: It will be fun. And I think they serve bourbon there.
EVAN: Yes indeed!
[Tempest Lounge, Wednesday, April 21, 7-9 p.m., no cover, 913 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma, 253.272.4904]
LINK: Evan Purcell's Myspace
LINK: Ryan Purcell's Myspace