Belle Brigade tolls for the harmonic sister-brother duo | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Belle Brigade tolls for the harmonic sister-brother duo

Tim Parsons
Ethan and Barbara Gruska are the songwriters for the six-member Belle Brigade, which opens Saturday for G. Love.
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The Belle Brigade and G. Love is no mishmatch. The bands connect at Paul Simon.

“This is a roots show,” G. Love said. “I’m happy to have those guys out and I just saw a writeup in Paste magazine yesterday.”

In a unique Saturday night music lineup for Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, the Belle Brigade takes the South Shore Room stage at 7 p.m. G. Love & Special Sauce play at 7:45.

G. Love’s new album includes a rootsy version of Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.” The Belle Brigade’s self-titled debut album, which will be released next week, features the harmonies of siblings Barbara and Ethan Gruska and has a Simon and Garfunkel-Fleetwood Mac bent.

“We’re huge Paul Simon fans,” Ethan Gruska said. “We do have Simon and Garfunkel, but his solo stuff is what really gets us going, and Fleetwood Mac, we were listening to them a lot during the making of this record, and they are one of our favorite bands.”

Barbara, 27, is a former drummer for Jenny Lewis (stars of 2009 Wanderlust at Squaw Valley). She plays guitar with her 21-year-old brother in the six-piece that just made a record deal with Warner Bros.

“The first day of recording was the best day of both of our lives,” Ethan said.

The Gruskas are from the San Fernando Valley. The decided to start a band during a family vacation.

“Barb was always, and still is, my musical idol,” Ethan said. “It’s amazing to be peers and work with each other, especially since she still teaches me so much about music all the time.”

Barbara reciprocated: “I always knew that he was going to be a very successful musician and singer and performer, but I didn’t know that he was going to turn into the amazing songwriter that he is.”

Don’t be surprised to see this band make a rapid ascent.

Paste magazine this week posted a story with the headline: “The 25 Best Songs of 2011 (So Far)” by Josh Jackson, who rated the Belle Brigade’s “Losers” at No. 1.

“Every so often a song comes around that I need – and thereby the entire office needs – to hear every day for a month,” Jackson wrote. “Right now, that’s this anthem from Los Angeles brother-sister, Simon & Garfunkel-loving duo the Belle Brigade.”

The band which will tour this summer with k.d. Lang, is on a three-week swing with G. Love.

“He’s doing some more rootsy things now and our live show has a more rootsy vibe to it than our record,” Ethan said. “That connection was really good, and they’re all just really nice guys.”


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