Described by Folk Radio UK as ‘weaving an especially compelling magic’, and ‘showing British acoustic music in its best possible light’, Northumbrian duo The Brothers Gillespie make music that is animated by lyrical song writing, fine fingerstyle guitar playing, multi-instrumental musicianship and ‘the glorious tones of their blood harmony’ (Sam Lee).
Brothers James and Sam Gillespie found their sound growing up in the fells and valleys of Northumberland, their songs often describing relationships with wild places and the experience of finding oneself in a world alive with soul. The music comes to them most strongly when walking in the borderlands with their packs and instruments which remains a regular practice for them. This spirit is channelled into their live performances which have a rare and intimate energy, both ethereal and earthy, romantic and radical.
The brothers have travelled far and wide with their music and have played at Cambridge and Sidmouth Folk Festivals and opened for Lankum and Sam Lee. In 2021 they featured in the English Heritage ‘Songs of England’ recording series that appeared on BBC Radio 4. The release of their new album ‘The Merciful Road’ (‘pure magic’, Living Tradition) in Spring 2022 saw them embark on their most extensive national tour to date.
‘The Merciful Road’ was recorded in a cottage by the banks of the river Tweed and like their previous album ‘The Fell’, it blends rootsy, acoustic elements to create a rich warm sound with a touch of vintage magic. In some ways it is an album about finding the thread of love and belonging in a world that seems to be nonetheless unravelling.
The brothers emerge from the time of lockdowns with a yet greater reverence for the joy and privilege of being with an audience in real time and space.
‘Our music is inspired by the still wild soul of the land in which we live, a land alive with presences, not owned by anyone. It is about seeing with the eye of the heart and recovering our imaginations. It is about finding home, belonging and each other in a world which is singing to us as we sing to it’