Best way to finish off a weekend is a new Spotlight – The Wolfe Brothers. The Brothers talk about their journey in music and the release of their new music. Check out what they had to say!
You had your big break into the scene when you were recognized as the runner ups of Australia’s Got Talent back in 2012. Talk us through that experience.
After a few years of weekend after weekend playing our home state of Tasmania we had built up a fiercely loyal following but we just couldn’t get any traction on the mainland. Tasmania is an island state and that little stretch of water between us and the rest of Australia means we sometimes get forgotten. Anyway, reality TV was never something we thought we’d partake in but it ended up as you say being our big break! Our loyal fans in our home state grew to loyal fans interstate and set us on the road we’re still on 8 years later.
After the show we were signed to management, and our first record label and also began our touring partnership with Aus country legend Lee Kernaghan. You hear horror stories about reality TV but to the shows credit they portrayed us very fairly and gave us the reign to play our own original music to a national audience. It was a fantastic experience.
Now the 2 of you (Tom and Nick) come from an incredibly storied and musical background. Your great-great-grandfather all the way down to yourselves have all been musically inclined. Tell us a bit more of the musical legacy you’ve inherited. What is the story you want to tell with your music?
Music is well and truly in our blood, our great grandfather played fiddle, our grandfather was a saxophone player and Dad was a drummer. It was inevitable that our lives would involve music in some way and we’re really grateful that we get to call it our job! For Dad and the previous generations it wasn’t something they ever got to call the ‘real job’ In those days it was the farm, or your trade. Professional touring musician wasn’t something that really seemed possible for guys in Tasmania.
Your family also has a long history with berry farming. Your family has owned and operated the same property since 1899! Was there a lot of internal dilemma between pursuing your musical passion and the family legacy of the farm? Farming and music has always gone hand in hand for our family.
Actually our parents only ever encouraged us to chase music, especially Dad. Deep down he would have loved to ‘go pro’ with music himself so he never even gave us a choice. He’d say ‘The farm will always be here, go chase the music while you’re young’. The sad part is Dad only got to see part of our musical journey. He passed away after a battle with cancer in 2016. He was extremely proud and drove his mates to the pub crazy with all the tales of what gigs we were doing We wish he could be around today to see what we’ve got up to, to know his boys have signed an international record deal – We’d never be able to shut him up.
After coming out of 2012’s Talent, you released your first studio album, It’s On. Was there a lot of pressure from yourselves or others to follow-up the show with a banger of an album?
Actually the album “It’s On” was something we’d been working on before and during AGT. We recorded mostly locally and after AGT wound up giving it a bit of Nashville magic by Luke Wooten who produced our next two records. Listening back to ‘It’s On’ now I can hear a fair bit of immaturity. but I guess we were still learning about songwriting and about life, its a good snapshot of that time.
Lee Kernaghan then invites you to tour with him on the Beautiful Noise Tour. How much fun was it to play such a large studio tour. Any good stories that you can share?
The Beautiful Noise tour was the start of a great friendship and touring partnership with Lee. We’ve had an absolute blast on the road since then. Our first gig with Lee was the Deni Ute Muster – (A ‘ute’ is what they call a truck in Australia, short for utility vehicle) At this point besides the TV show we’d been playing venues that hold only a couple hundred people and here we were, on stage in front of 16000 of the most rowdy country fans imaginable playing alongside and Australian legend – whose songs we’d been covering for years before this. It was a pinch yourself moment.
The tour obviously resonated with folks, You went on to win the New Oz Artist of the Year 2014 at the Country Music Channel Awards. That must have been such an emotional moment?
It felt fantastic. to win that award as voted by the fans and to have it presented by Florida Georgia line was so cool. At that point I think a fair portion of the industry didn’t quite take us that seriously, being from Tasmania and getting our start on reality TV so this felt really good!
You released “That Kinda Night” the breakout single from your album Nothin’ But Trouble. I have to say, it is such a country summer banger. How much fun was it recording and was it inspired by any night in particular?
That Kinda Night is one of only a handful of songs in our catalog we weren’t involved in writing. As you said it’s a total banger and there’s no way we could pass up recording it! It was actually written by Jason Aldean’s drummer Rich Redmond and some other great writers JT Hodges and Erik Halbig. It’s never left our setlist since and is always a sure fire way to kick things up at a gig.
Lee Kernaghan, who you have toured with before, you also were invited to record a single with him on his 25th Anniversary album. What does it feel like to know that you are now part of a legacy as storied as his own?
We recorded ‘Damn Good mates” with Lee, a spin on the Tyler Farr track Damn Good Friends and we’ve been blown away by the response to that song. I think it captures the Australian spirit of mateship and helping out and really resonates. Lee came down and shot the film clip in our hometown and local pub with our mates which made it extra special too.
2018, after a releasing a few more albums and of course, winning more awards, you released your album Country Heart. It is a huge shift in your sound and is much rawer and more emotional. It really felt like you were letting the audience in. What was the rationale behind that and was it terrifying taking that leap?
We knew the songs were a special collection, while the production changed up I think the writing took a big step forward in maturity. We were dealing with the loss of our Dad. So songs like ‘Aint Seen It Yet’ and ‘Country Heart’ meant a great deal and we wanted to give each song its own sonic personalty. It is somewhat a terrifying step turning the production process upside down but needed to happen, and wouldn’t change a thing with Country Heart.
Obviously, it paid off, because at the 2019 Country Music Awards of Australia, you won 4 awards I believe. To have such a wonderful and positive experience after nearly a decade of grinding must have felt tremendous.
This was honestly one of the most amazing nights of our lives, prior to this we’d lost 13 nominations. The Golden Guitars you might say are a little more traditionally biased. Coming through as a group and to win song of the year and group of the year as well as contemporary album and over all album and be recognized by our peers and fans is unbelievable.
2020 though, there’s a big move. You just recently signed with a global label BMG, and released your latest single “No Breaks”. You’ve been Australian country stars for so long, is it daunting to try and break into the North American markets that are known for their country music?
No Brakes feels like the perfect song to mark the start of this chapter. We’re just ready to go all in, full speed ahead and see where this leg of the journey leads. We’re excited to take our music to new people and places and see what they think! Country has never been more global than now. To have a team behind us like BMG/ BBR we’ve never been more pumped!
What’s the plan for the future?
We’re putting finishing touches on the follow up to “Country Heart” and that will be put out through BMG. From there we want to play to as many new people and new parts of the world we possibly can! We’ve had a brief time in Canada. We played the Calgary Stampede with Gord Bamford last year and loved every second. Canada is right on top of the list! It is a place we want to spend a lot of time investing in.
What do you want to tell your fans?
Thanks for listening and supporting and getting us to this point, and can’t wait to share the next part of the ride with you all!
Spotlight – The Wolfe Brothers is a wrap. I want to say thank you to the guys for taking the time to chat with us.
Make sure you check out their new single No Brakes which at the time of writing this has now gone #1 on Australian Country Radio!
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