Brothership invites fans to step onboard

Fred McCormick

As young artists, inspiration was never a problem for Travers Brothership founding members Eric and Kyle Travers. They were inspired as teens to pursue a career in music while attending Bele Chere, a festival in downtown Asheville that ended in 2013.

The twin brothers, sons of a lifelong musician, grew up in the Swannanoa Valley surrounded by music, often played on their porch or in neighboring yards. Making music in those places influenced the band’s first full-length feature album, “A Way To Survive.”

“We tried to capture some of the Valley’s backporch music sound,” Kyle said. “And there are definitely a handful of tracks on this album that capture the Valley’s tone.”

Valley residents, fans and friends have an opportunity to become part of the project through a Kickstarter campaign that will help the brothers finish the album.

“The point of the campaign is to help wrap up and finish the entire process of creating an album,” Kyle said. “This campaign will help us distribute the album the right way and allow us to put out a professional-quality product.”

The Kickstarter page, which aims to raise $5,000, offers incentives for contributions from $10-$3,000. The minimum contribution guarantees an “exclusive digital download of the album prior to the official release date,” while the maximum donation delivers a “personal concert for you within a 500-mile radius of Asheville,” as well as a chief executive producer credit on the album.

“We have had great fans that have been a big part of what we’ve been doing since we started,” Kyle said. “And we want to be able to give them the product they deserve.”

The Brothership has developed a strong regional following since forming in 2012, doing so while maintaining total control over its music, according to Kyle.

“We’ve had offers, you know record deals and stuff like that, but none of them really allowed us to maintain complete creative freedom,” he said. “And that’s important because we’re trying to do this in what we see as the right way.”

In an effort to preserve that control, the band used the money it earned touring to pay for the studio time required to record the album, which is around 90 percent complete, according to Kyle. The band began recording at The Eagle Room in Weaverville in December and finished in late April.

“Matt Williams, the engineer and owner of The Eagle Room, is an extraordinary guy,” he said. “He was the perfect guy to engineer the record. He’s a musician himself and he definitely knew how to provide an environment that was exactly what we wanted. He was able to capture everything exactly the way we wanted it.”

“A Way To Survive” contains 10 original songs from a self-described “neo-soul, funk and rock ‘n’ roll band” that has developed a reputation for a rich sound and high-energy live performances. The album is “a themed conceptual work of art,” Kyle said. “It was a collaborative effort among the band. The title is a lyric out of the one of the songs that represents the message of the entire record.”

The theme of the album can be heard in songsfamiliar to the band’s expanding fan base and in other tracks to be heard for the first time.

“There is an a cappella cut that just features three-part harmony, and that’s something that’s a courageous thing for musicians to attempt,” Kyle said. “There are also some acoustic sounds on there with vocal accompaniment, which is something that is a little different than our live style.”

The result is an album that Kyle describes as the band’s “proudest moment” in its four-year history that has seen the Brothership open for acts such as Charles Bradley, Dr. John and Blues Traveler. The group also played on the main stage at the LEAF Festival in the fall of 2015.

But one particular show still stands out for Kyle.

“Headlining at the Orange Peel was the first time that I started to think we had kind of made it,” he said.

For more on the Travers Brothership’s fundraising campaign, visit Kickstarter.com and search “Travers Brothership.”