Brother Virginia is a stew of sound cultures.
Their Grateful Dead singing style is set to country lyrics in a simple rock genre, surrounded by the fluttering storm of bluegrass.
Steve Virginia plays a Taylor straight acoustic guitar and his brother, Eric Virginia, plays a small drum kit with the notion that “the groove is bigger than the truck.”
“Eric and I follow each other,” Steve Virginia said. “We think the same, and it’s best to have that groove.”
On Aug. 31, Brother Virginia will play a fundraiser benefit concert at the Harvest House, located at 247 Boone Heights Drive in Boone. Tickets are sold only at the door at $5 for the general public and $4 for students. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the show begins at 7 p.m., opened by Lell McMahan, Luke Combs and Adam Church.
“Our grandfather tells the story of our great-grandfather from Sicily,” Steve Virginia said. “When he decided to settle in America, he figured ‘Virginia’ was the closest he could get to his last name.”
Unsure of the original last name’s spelling, the brothers snatched the new for its idiosyncrasy.
The two grew up in Boone, where the “sound of bullfrogs meant it was almost time to come in for supper.”
After Steve Virginia graduated with a major in graphic design from Appalachian State University, “a hot-bed for music,” he followed his singer’s dream to Nashville.
“Eric was a junior in high school and had to be in 10 different bands,” he said. “But they had these open mic nights, and he asked me to sing for one. Well, we got up there together, and on the last song on the last drumbeat, the power went out. I think we both figured that was a sign.”
Though Steve Virginia was playing guitar with “some top-notch, world class drummers” in Nashville, he said the sibling collaboration is staunch.
Covers of songs like “Only You Can Love Me this Way” by Keith Urban and “Drops of Jupiter” by Train are on YouTube, featuring the brothers swaying in their living room with a box drum and guitar.
“We’re moving away from songs that are less ‘Let’s party’ to more introspective, but still fun,” Steve Virginia said, referring to their musical shift. “They’re more about me than somebody’s who’s fictional.”
“Come on baby, let’s let love fly. Let the taillights paint the town red tonight” is a line from “You and Me Against the World.”
“She ain’t Carolina, sunshine on my shoulders. Summertime, it seemed to last the whole year through. And she’s so California, always there to love ya, but she ain’t Carolina; she ain’t you” is the chorus of “She Ain’t Carolina.”
“My wife is from Boone, as well,” he said. “We did the long-distance dating for forever, and this song is about both my girl and my town. She was wrapped up in my hometown, and there’s where the heart is.”
His wife’s brother, Lucas Crysel, will be the recipient of profits made at their Aug. 31 show. Crysel was diagnosed in 2011 with Ewing’s Sarcoma. The x-rays following his complaints of shoulder pains showed a tumor that, when removed, measured the size of a football. It had collapsed his left lung and was pushing against his heart, spleen and diaphragm. The bone and soft tissue cancer is second-most common among children; Crysel’s case was one in approximately 200 worldwide adult cases last year. He has 12 more chemotherapy sessions remaining.
“We want to help in whatever way we can,” Steve Virginia said. “We’re trying to break the 330 attendance record for this venue. All of it goes to him and his family.”
Jeffrey Branch recorded a short promotional “Brothers Teaser” video in
Nashville and will be shooting another at the Aug. 31 show.