Brother-sister duo The Belle Brigade to perform at Crescent Ballroom - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Brother-sister duo The Belle Brigade to perform at Crescent Ballroom

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Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 10:00 am

The Belle Brigade, who will be performing at the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix on Thursday, recently joined the ranks of popular artists that have lent their music to “The Twilight Saga” film franchise. Their song, “I Didn’t Mean It,” appears on “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part One” soundtrack, and the brother-sister duo of Barbara and Ethan Gruska have since been gaining popularity.

“We were pretty stoked just to get the opportunity just because ‘Twilight’ gets so much attention, and that was our first song in a major movie,” Ethan said. “We definitely got a lot of hits on YouTube for it, which is great.”

The Los Angeles natives will be opening for Good Old War on tour, which is the first one they have played since the song appeared in the film.

Grandchildren of the legendary film score composer John Williams, the two have been playing music ever since they were young but did not start playing together until about three-and-a-half years ago.

They say they find inspiration for their songs through a variety of life experiences, and are musically influenced by the likes of Tom Petty, Ray Charles and Paul Simon.

The duo was especially honored to cover Bob Dylan’s “No Time To Think” for his recent tribute album, “Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International,” which they describe as fun, yet challenging.

“It was intense because there’s so many layers to that song,” Barbara said. “We did the whole thing in two-part harmony and the rhythm of the lyrics is pretty wild. It was challenging, and we were just kind of like, ‘How are we going to make this sound like our own thing?’ but we do it all in harmony, play our own instruments and try to make it cool.”

The Belle Brigade released its self-titled first album last year, and describe their music as a mix of “rootsy” and rock. They will begin recording their sophomore record once their current tour ends, and already have a lot of new material to work with.

“I think that this next batch is a little bit more mature writing, and that’s because we’re both learning to write songs better,” Ethan said. “I think more stylistically it’s going to be a little more rock ’n’ roll, but we’ll see.”

The two say they would love to collaborate with any artists that would like to work with them, and believe one of the best ways to improve is by playing with other musicians.

“I would say the most important thing is to play with other people,” Barbara said. “Learn how to play with others, react, be a team player, and make music sound great with other people.”

After touring with artists like G. Love & Special Sauce and Blitzen Trapper, both Barbara and Ethan are excited to be back on the road — although, it is not without its challenges.

“You got to bring a surprising amount of socks and underwear,” Ethan said. “You (also) have to be calm, rested, eat healthy, and drink water.

“You just got to learn how to live a healthy life in a kind of crazy situation.”

The Belle Brigade will be playing at the Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. 2nd Ave. in Phoenix, on March 22.

To learn more about The Bell Brigade or to buy tickets, visit www.thebellebrigade.com.

• Patrick Ryan is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. He is a sophomore at Arizona State University.

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