Fam­ily duo move from blues to prog with new ven­ture.

Prog - - Limelight -


If, In many peo­ple’s minds, York­shire has never been at the very fore­front of prog, it still has a mighty her­itage. Keith Emer­son was born there, Rolo To­massi emerged out of Sh­effield in the noughties, and that’s be­fore you even men­tion Mostly Au­tumn, The Tan­gent and Guy Man­ning. With a mix of north­ern grit and prog vir­tu­os­ity, Guis­bor­ough-based out­fit The Pipe Brothers are join­ing those ranks.

When Prog catches up with younger brother and gui­tarist An­drew, what im­me­di­ately be­comes ev­i­dent is how his youth – he’s a mere 22 – be­lies the depth of his prog knowl­edge. “It’s the usual story,” he says in a rich North Yorks brogue. “Our dad is a huge prog rock fan and we raided his record col­lec­tion. Jamie and I have al­ways been huge prog rock fans.”

The brothers ini­tially formed a psych blues band, The Men­tulls, in their teens, but with The Pipe Brothers they’re re­ally un­leash­ing the prog beast.

“We’ve al­ways rated a lot of in­stru­men­tal mu­sic,” An­drew ex­plains, “and The Pipe Brothers hap­pened be­cause we wanted a project that’s solely in­stru­men­tal, where we just prog out.”

So far the Project have re­leased a num­ber of sin­gles, fea­tur­ing Paul Burgess on drums and Steve Amadeo on bass. An­drew says of Burgess’ drum­ming: “It’s re­ally in­spir­ing, not least be­cause I’m a big 10cc fan.”

Af­ter their first sin­gle reached the Top 10 Ama­zon bestsellers chart, and the lat­est, Sonic Jour­ney, topped the new re­leases chart, the Pipes have worked on the fol­low-up, which is due to drop im­mi­nently.

Mu­si­cally, The Pipe Brothers aim, as An­drew puts it, “to take in­spi­ra­tion from the prog of the 70s while bring­ing in the so­phis­ti­ca­tion of Neal Morse and Toto”.

A key fac­tor to the rich­ness of their sound is An­drew’s ex­cep­tional gui­tar vir­tu­os­ity. “My big­gest in­spi­ra­tion,” An­drew says, “is Martin Barre. He in­spired me to play the gui­tar.”

There’s a de­light in his voice when he speaks of his re­spect for, and now friend­ship with, the leg­endary gui­tarist. “I met him at the side door of Tull gigs when I was a kid. I got his au­to­graph,” he laughs.

The two met again at numer­ous gigs and, af­ter see­ing An­drew per­form, Barre asked him to join him and his band on­stage the next time they were in York. “He’s so full of en­ergy. He’s like a new guy since he left Tull. He’s such a wel­com­ing guy.”

At the gig, at the Town Hall in Ri­p­ley, An­drew played Lo­co­mo­tive Breath with his hero. With a touch of awe, he says, “The amount of time I played that song in my bed­room as a kid, and then you’re play­ing it on­stage with the guy who wrote the riff.”

The Pipes plan to run both The Men­tulls and the Project side by side, but it will be in­ter­est­ing to see where the mo­men­tum builds in the long run.

“When we’re writ­ing mu­sic, we’re care­ful not to be too pi­geon­holed – prog is a mix of folk, clas­si­cal and blues,” An­drew says. “What’s re­ally im­por­tant to us as writ­ers is to keep tak­ing that mu­sic we love into the present-day. You have to re­spect the past, but put it in a mod­ern con­text.” RM


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