The English Brothers ride into Fredericksburg this weekend to be guest artists at the Rockbox Theater.
Contact The English Brothers at www.TheEnglishBrothers.com.
Back to the cowboy days
by Phil Houseal
Little brother Gerald is “a little A.D.D.” Brother Ray gets the big head that keeps him from pulling on his Stetson. And big brother Wesley is accused of not having enough horse sense to saddle up and ride. Together, they are The English Brothers, and they bring their tight Texas harmonies and family-friendly humor to the Rockbox Theater in Fredericksburg this weekend.
“We want to go back in time a little bit,” said brother Wesley. “We’ll take you back to the cowboy days, sitting around watching the Roy Rogers show."
Right out of the chute you might compare them to Riders in the Sky, but Wes thinks the English Brothers are more akin to the Sons of the Pioneers.
That might just be splitting horsehairs, as the English Brothers present that smooth sound of cowboy harmonies, acoustic instrumentals, with a dash of homespun humor that makes a satisfying show for rustler and city slicker alike.
“Most folks don’t realize the difference between cowboy and country music,” Wesley said. “This is not country. It’s about singing cowboys and that era, with harmonies and yodeling.”
Yes, they are real brothers. Yes, they grew up in Texas (“on the south side of Houston, but we don’t really mention that”). And they were just buckaroos when they started acquiring their musical abilities. They credit their dad for getting them started.
“Dad learned three or four chords on guitar and we figured it out from there,” Wes said. “He had a great voice, and I think we inherited those good traits. We lost Dad this year, but he was our number one fan.”
They played together while in school, but moved on to separate careers. Wes spent 23 years working and playing in Colorado Springs. He returned to San Antonio in 2005, when the brothers started putting their band back together. They entertained at a chuck wagon dinner theater for several years, and now perform around the state.
While a full English Brothers show includes both humor and music, they plan to focus on their musicality for the Rockbox Theater appearance. The song lineup includes Ghost Riders in the Sky, Cool Water, Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds, and something to show off Wes’s signature yodeling.
“Being guest artists we don’t have much time, but we are going to do little bit of comedy,” Wes said. “We like to play off of brother Ray - he is the rude brother.”
Russ Hearn, Creative Director of the Rockbox Theater, can’t wait for audiences to hear The English Brothers.
“The reason we call it our guest artist program is that we look for people who are committed to their art,” Hearn said. “When we met these guys and heard them sing with those ‘brother’ harmonies, it didn’t take long to say, boy, do they have it. We are very excited you are going to meet someone who is very special.”
The brothers can’t wait to round up more fans from Fredericksburg, no matter what era they represent.
“The older ones grew up with that music, but it is cool to see the younger generation just fall in love with cowboy music,” Wes said. “We are looking forward to partnering with Rockbox Theater. They are wonderful people who run it. It’s good, clean family entertainment, and you can’t get that everywhere any more. It’s about letting people have a joyful time, and come away smiling and tapping their feet.”