Davidson Brothers
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Davidson Brothers

Band Folk Acoustic

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Oct
01
Davidson Brothers @ IBMA World of Bluegrass

Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Sep
17
Davidson Brothers @ Starvey Creek Bluegrass Festival

Conway, Missouri, USA

Conway, Missouri, USA

Sep
04
Davidson Brothers @ Tri-State Bluegrass Festival

Kendelville, Indiana, USA

Kendelville, Indiana, USA

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Speaking with Lachlan Davidson you get the distinct impression that he and his brother Hamish were destined for musical careers almost from the cradle. Their grandfather and both their parents play the bagpipes, their mother’s family are country music aficionados and play a multitude of instruments. Their grandmother taught Lachlan to play the harmonica when he was only four.
The brothers’ classical and folk violin lessons at school were supplemented by playing with the Melbourne Fiddle Club and regular visits to the Gippsland Folk Music Club, where the boys saw their first bluegrass band, Coolgrass. From that day Hamish wanted to play banjo and it wasn’t long before Lachlan, on a family trip to Tennessee, obtained his first mandolin. Lachlan now plays mandolin, fiddle and guitar – “If it’s got strings, I can figure it out,” he says - with occasional forays into bodhran (“…which I can’t really play, but I give it a good fake!”), perhaps a remnant of his years playing snare drum in a Scottish pipe band. Hamish acquits himself admirably on fiddle, banjo and guitar and a soupçon of mandolin; he also plays piano and while still at school wrote and recorded a whole album of original ragtime tunes. Younger sister Ailsa used to play fiddle with her brothers but was lured away by women’s baseball and is now a pitcher for the national Australian side. That, and her university studies, has kept her away from the mainstream of folk music but she’ll occasionally have a tune with the boys at their gigs.
Both brothers graduated from the Country Music College at Tamworth, where many other members of their band studied. While bluegrass is a major part of their repertoire, Lachlan shies away from labeling their music –though bluegrass, like much folk music, seems to be fairly elastic in its definition.
“It depends where you are at the time, at folk festivals you do it however you like” says Lachlan. ‘We like to promote ourselves as playing Davidson Brothers style music – we don’t push the word ‘bluegrass’ because that could pigeonhole us into the country genre, which in Australia is still stereotyped as bush ballads
“There are a lot of bluegrass festivals in America. In Kentucky we played at Bill Monroe’s home site and there you’re not allowed to play an electric bass on stage - it has to be an upright - and with the exception of harmonica the line-up has to be just stringed instruments – banjo, guitar, fiddle, mandolin and double bass and sometimes a dobro. There’s a style that’s developed called Americana – played by Alison Kraus, Nickel Creek, Ricky Skaggs and the Greencards – and that includes bouzouki in the line-up.
“It was a thrill to be put on the bill in Bill Monros’ hometown and interesting to go there and see where bluegrass came from; I never got to meet Bill, though I met a lot of his band. I sort of studied Bill when I was about thirteen – that’s when I made my first mandolin, because I couldn’t afford a really good handmade one. It was a f-style bluegrass mandolin and it took me a year to make and gave me a lot of blisters on my fingers because I didn’t have all the right tools but it did come together and it played great. I built a guitar too and still play that at gigs.”
The Davidson Brothers recorded their eponymous second album in Nashville late last year, featuring a stellar line-up of American musicians eager to support them. They came home glowing from that experience and from the warm reviews that their 2006 album , Raised on the Road, has received there.
The boys are rapidly building a solid reputation and becoming darlings of the media. Their mother has threatened that if they bring home any more awards (including the 2007 Album of the Year Award for Raised on the Road) they’ll be boxed and stored under the house (the awards, not the brothers). - Trad & Now: by Jan Nary


Taking an Australian bluegrass group to play in the U.S. may sound a bit like selling ice cream to Eskimos, but the DAVIDSON BROTHERS (Hamish and Lachlan) found that it’s a small world when bluegrass is involved.
Much to the boys’ amazement, when being introduced to major acts like RHONDA VINCENT and this year’s award-winning INFAMOUS STRINGDUSTERS, they discovered their name and music had preceded them.
The reason for being in Nashville recently was two-fold – for the second year the young duo had been invited to appear during the annual IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Awards, and also record their second album with producer Mark Thornton.
“When we were accepted to play at IBMA and be part of it, we were thrilled as we felt that we must be doing something right in our version of bluegrass,” said Lachie.
The fact that they didn’t arrive unknown is simple – in bluegrass there is a real sense of community – and other artists simply love the music for the music’s sake. It means they are interested far beyond their own envelope, and most artists have a inherent respect for the traditions of the music, and other players.
Whilst there is plenty of new music appearing, and a host of new artists gracing the scene, the backbone of the music is the tradition, and that doesn’t change.
What it means to artists like Hamish and Lachie is that they can travel to the other side of the world, and still be on the same musical page.
And that page now includes access via the internet – so through the magic of websites like MySpace, the word (and the music) gets around the world very comprehensively as the Davidsons discovered.
And then there’s the “jams”. Bluegrass is a unique participatory music – the artists like to play off stage as much as on, and the legendary “car park jams” are an integral part of the genre.
“In bluegrass, especially at IBMA, all the stars of bluegrass hang around and will jam all week, because they all love the same thing,” explains Lachie. “Fans and artists all hang out together, and you quickly realise that many fans play an instrument themselves.
“The jams are great – not only for meeting people, but just the sheer enjoyment of playing.
“The greatest thing we enjoy is getting together with young guys our age who have grown up on the same influences as us. There are so many great young musicians around.”
Hamish and Lachie are “jam junkies” – they just can’t get enough of playing, and that goes right back to the early days (although not that far when you consider that these two highly talented musicians are only on their early 20s).
“I remember our early days in Tamworth - there was a bluegrass jam session everyday on the verandah of the Longyard Hotel,” said Lachie. “That is where we learned a lot of tunes, and where I got my first lesson on the mandolin.”
On the performance side during their trip this year, The Davidsons were on the bill in Rosine, Kentucky along side the legendary RALPH STANLEY.
“There were 16,500 at this festival and we received a standing ovation,” remembers Lachie. “I think the crowds are pleased to see something new, and they are surprised to hear bluegrass played at that level from a band who lives on the other side of the world.”
The new Davidson Brothers self-titled album is an exciting follow-up to their 2006 effort Raised On The Road, and again combines the brilliant playing of Hamish on banjo and fiddle, and Lachie on mandolin and fiddle. The brothers share the vocals, and wrote eight of the 12 tracks on the album. Amidst a stellar cast of musicians contributing to the project including Bryan Sutton on guitar and Rob Ickes on Dobro, it was interesting to see Australian bluegrass veteran and long time mentor to the Davidsons, TREV WARNER, guesting on a song that he wrote, Blue Mountain Home.
The new album will be released into stores through Shock on 19 January. At the 2008 Tamworth Festival, the Davidsons will again be playing the Bluegrass Breakfast shows at West Tamworth League Club from18 to 28 January (11 shows) 8am-10:30am.
“We’ve got a lot of special guests and friends who are dropping in each day to play a few tunes with us” reveals Lachie.
And being that it’s such a small world, you never know who might turn up. - Capital News country music


5-stars
Brothers Lachlan and Hamish Davidson are two of the most respected and well-liked musicians working today. Lending their skills to a variety of projects with a range of artists, they are also dab hands at straight-up bluegrass that kicks arse. Their last album, Raised on the Road, cleaned up at the 2007 Australian Independent Country Music Awards. This year’s effort features luminaries Rob Ickes on dobro, Cia Cherryholmes and Trev Warner, along with Grammy winner Bryan Sutton on guitar. The vocals are sweet and piercing and the musicianship is impeccable. - JB HI-FI Magazine: Jason Walker


Discography

Davidson Brothers: self-titled(Album 2008), Davidson Brothers: Raised On The Road(Album 2006), Davidson Brothers: Where I Want To Be(Single 2004), Davidson Brothers: Stay All Night(Album 2003), Davidson Brothers: Blue Spruce(Album 1999)

Photos

Bio

The brothers grew up in the rural Victorian town of Yinnar. Raised in a musical family, they started playing music from a young age.
These young men have built a reputation as being two of Australia’s hottest bluegrass exponents - multi instrumentalists on banjo, fiddle, mandolin and great entertainers with an enormous respect for the traditions of the genre.
Both Hamish and Lachlan are graduates of the Australian Country Music College. In 2003 they won Country Entertainer of the Year at the Tamworth. Also that year, they were Runner Up in the Grand Final of the National University Band Competition, at which Hamish won Best Overall Musician. Hamish won the 2000 Australian Bluegrass Fiddle Championship and recently Lachlan won the 2008 Australian Bluegrass Mandolin Championship.
The boys have toured extensively throughout every state of Australia and the southern states of America. Their band represented Australia at the 2004 IBMA International Bluegrass Fanfest in Louisville, Kentucky.
In the last few years the Davidson Brothers have gained a lot of momentum in the country music industry. Hamish and Lachlan do many recording sessions and regularly perform live on national television. Highlights include Hey, Hey Its Saturday, The Panel, Good Morning Australia and playing on The Man From Snowy River soundtrack. The pair have toured with Troy Cassar-Daley, Lee Kernaghan and shared the stage with superstars such as Tommy Emmanuel, Kasey Chambers and Jimmy Barnes.
The Davidson Brothers have been finalists in the Australian Country Music Awards for Instrumental of the Year in 2004, 2005 & 2007. They won Best Instrumental in the Independent Australian Country Music Awards in 2004, 2005 & 2007.
Hamish and Lachlan were selected out of 4400 entrants in Australasia as one of the winners of the 2005 Nescafe Big Break and a $5000 youth cash grant. The boys won their first Golden Fiddle Award in Tamworth for 2006 Best Band Featuring a Fiddler.
This year they won two more Golden Fiddle Awards for Best Band & Best Composition for the original track, “Tipsy Gypsy”.
Davidson Brothers, Self-titled album is the most recent which was released 19th January 2008. The project was completely self-funded and was their second album recorded with Mark Thornton in Nashville Tennessee. Featured guests include Rob Ickes, Bryan Sutton (Grammy Winner), Trev Warner, Dennis Crouch, Cia Cherryholmes, Mark Thornton &
Larry Marrs. The new album debuted at #12 on the ARIA charts in its first week out and at #16 on the AIR charts. It has also just been nominated for “Country Album of the Year” in the AIR Awards. The last album, “Raised On the Road” was a finalist in 9 Australian music awards and saw them take out 2007 Independent Album of the Year.
Today they are regarded as the driving force of Australian bluegrass. Receiving regular airplay in over 10 different countries, the boys are planning a 2009 tour of the USA with their band to many major festivals across the country.