Trying to describe the music by The Ries Brothers (pronounced “Rees”) is no simple task. It was clear from their debut album, The View From The Outside, that they played by their own rules. Together, these brothers assemble a cocktail of genres to create their distinctive sound. It ranges from rock, blues, jam, funk, and reggae, with even more added for good measure. If that is not impressive enough, all of this is brought to your ears by two people. Older brother Charlie takes charge of vocal duty while simultaneously playing drums and keyboard bass. Younger brother Kevin Jordan enriches the soundtrack further by adding his skills on guitar, ukulele, melodica, theremin and background vocals. To hear their audio magic at work, check out their songs “Streetlights”, “Neon Signs”, and “Sentimental Games”.
From there, it saw them hit the road and support legendary artists such as G Love & Special Sauce, 311, and Stephen Marley, to name a few. They also appeared at major festivals, including Sunfest, Cali Roots, Gasparilla, Rootfire and Summer Camp, finishing 2019 with a 35- date tour with Iya Terra. They received nothing but praise for their live shows. Because of this, they decided to release their live albums An Intimate Evening in New York: The Ries Brothers and Ries Brothers Live @ Sugarshack Sessions.
With momentum on their side, they released their second studio album Paint Your Emotion. It offered a more chilled vibe but still maintained its infectious funky groove. As highlighted by the outstanding tracks “My Friends” and “Hold On”. It was followed by the impressive singles “Want to Be Late” and “Sleepwalking”. These guys do not know how to slow down as they have just released The Ries Brothers EP. From the calibre of the music so far, it promises to be another treat for your ears.
The brothers open their EP with “Intro”. It is an instrumental moment that shines a spotlight on their musical and arrangements talents. It bursts in with some heavy beats and cool blues rock riffs. After that, the mood slows down to an infectious groove. It’s not all about the sound but more about how it feels. Towards the back end of the track, you hear a mesmerising guitar solo.
“Corner Store” changes the mood as Kevin Jordan delivers a killer blues-rock riff. Not long after that, Charlie joins in with, “Concert hall is a church / I’m the preacher man / But I ain’t gonna lie to ya / just cause I can / Ain’t passing no judgements in here”. The song’s energy grabs the listener’s attention, especially with that mesmerising repeated riff. The mood slows down as the lines, “Feels so close I can taste it / But you gotta let your head run free / Your mind’s too good so don’t waste it / Stand your ground and break captivity”. Then the guitar gets unleashed with a fantastic solo moment to finish off an already impressive track.
There is a softer edge to the start of “Why Don’t You Say Hello?”. Charlie’s voice mirrors the tone as he delivers, “When you see me in the hall, why don’t you say hello / See the writing on the wall, you’re gonna miss me when I go”. He then adds a bit more of a kick as the hook arrives. As for Kevin Jordan, like before, his guitar stands out when he comes into play. Then, towards the latter part of the song, he lets his six-string steal the spotlight to help bring things to a close.
The Ries Brothers bring some rock to the eclectic soundtrack with their self-titled EP. A new side to their music that continues to showcase the depth to their talents.
“On The Road” sees the brothers team up with G Love & Special Sauce and Cas Haley. It starts with an infectious groove before Charlie gets the party going with, “See me off that lonesome road / Come out to watch me explode / Gonna bring it out bring it all out tonight”. His tone gains momentum as the song progresses, adding his own flow on the mic. G Love joins the party and ups the tempo of the lyrical delivery. It’s fast flowing as he shares some memorable lines, including, “I born to rock, born to run like Springsteen east coast / Just a dream chasing cream always swimming upstream / To lay down the seed and provide for the youth”.
Then Cas Haley comes in to close out the final part of “On The Road”. Like the others, he offers a different vocal style to help enrich the feel of the song. He sounds so good as he shares, “Never gets old, this blacktop gold / Love seein the smiles, color culture with style / Where ever we land, friends gather round / We building bigger bigger, we just throwing it down”. Overall, it is a feel-good track that has a lot to offer.
What can you say about “The Hustle”? It is a blast of blues-rock goodness, with the brothers in fine form. Charlies brings in his vocals for the first half of the track. He does so with, “I’m on a roll, and we’re coming down fast / On a roll now honey, so take it while it lasts”. But, his drum skills stand out due to their verrucous delivery. Kevin Jordan delivers more magic with his guitar. Either with his riffs that weave throughout or how he takes charge later in the song. But, it is a collective effort that is essential listening from its start to its end.
Closing out the Ries Brothers EP comes “Reflections at a Turning Point”, another instrumental moment. As already mentioned, the brothers combine their talents to showcase how good they sound together. It also highlights the depth and range of the music the Ries Brothers create, as each release can testify. Their self-titled EP is yet another impressive collection of songs. One that is worth your listening time, just like all other material. Personally, you should listen to all of their music as a mix to get a true scope of what these brothers can offer.