The Barmitzvah Brothers
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The Barmitzvah Brothers

Guelph, Ontario, Canada | SELF

Guelph, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Band Folk Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Barmitzvah Brothers - Growing Branches"

If a point can be identified where a musician goes too far in mixing their personal life with their career, it’s a safe bet Jenny Mitchell crossed the line a long time ago.

In 2008, Mitchell put together the admittedly ambitious Charlotte Or Otis, an album of duets recorded under her Jenny Omnichord moniker and aimed at commemorating the birth of her first child with husband/producer Andy Magoffin. It’ll be an impressive memento for little Otis to show off to his friends when he grows up, but it was too precious a project for the average listener to approach—a fans-only sorta disc.

Here we are three years later (like rabbits, these two) and we’ve got another baby dedication album, this one released on the birth day of the Mitchell/Magoffin clan’s newest progeny, Arrow. It might have been too much to take, if it didn’t also mark Mitchell’s return into the fold of Guelph, Ontario’s once mighty Barmitzvah Brothers (their first album together since 2007’s Let’s Express Our Motives).

While it’s true that old alliances die hard, it seems they’re more prone to influence in their waning years. You can tell from a quick glance at these song titles—“Family Album,” “The Fun Of Two”—that Growing Branches is a Mitchell album, through and through. It definitely benefits from having the old crew along as a foil, though; this is the kind of landscape in which The Barmitzvah Brothers have always thrived: making hokey subject matter sound like a serious collection. Growing Branches is still half the time hammy and self-indulgent (Mitchell sings at least one tune from the perspective of her unborn child), but it’s no more preposterous a scheme than a She & Him Christmas album.

Not quite the makings of a triumphant return, but a decent hint that The Barmitzvah Brothers still have what it takes to conjure a few magical moments (see: the Geordie Gordon-sung “Getting Closer”). It’d be interesting to see what these kids could come up with, these days, writing an entire album together from scratch.

-Scott Bryson - Telescope Media

"The Barmitzvah Brothers - Growing Branches"

The Barmitzvah Brothers - Growing Branches
(Label Fantastic!)
By Sarah Greene

It’s been 10 years since the Barmitzvah Brothers, still in high school in Guelph at the time, put out their debut album. Since then, Geordie Gordon has gone on to play in the Magic, and Jenny Mitchell performs solo as Jenny Omnichord.

But when Mitchell was pregnant with her second child, a daughter named Arrow, she brought the group back together to record an indie rock family album for her, with a cameo by her son, Otis.

Though they still play quirky thrift-store instruments, including a melodica, the band’s arrangements have become more sophisticated. The Fun Of Two is a slow polka that goes a little soul and a little Latin, and Lovely Lines is wide open and nearly new wave. There’s also a faithful rendition of a Harry Nilsson song – Me And My Arrow, of course.

Top track: Little Sister - NOW Magazine


2001 - The Night of the Party (Robosapian)
2002 - Happy Holiday (cassette)
2003 - Mr. Bones' Walk-in Closet (weewerk)
2003 - Season's Greeting: Christmas from the Car (cassette)
2004 - ...and a Happy New Album! (self released)
2006 - The Century of Invention (Permafrost)
2007 - Let's Express Our Motives (weewerk)
2011 - Growing Branches

Tracks can be streamed at and



The Barmitzvah Brothers formed in 2000 out of highschool friends Jenny Mitchell, Geordie Gordon, and John Merritt. Despite their tender age and experience, the band was soon able to travel to extraordinary and unexpected places with their eclectic brand of music, performing across North America and in Europe, recording five albums and receiving extensive critical acclaim before even receiving their highschool diplomas.

The rare experience of being in a successful working band at such a young age added a unique twist to the basic process of growing up, and the development of the three youths from amateur into professional musicians became a part of their development as adults. As years went by, Jenny, Geordie and John each began to turn into grownups, and each began to develop their own styles and goals as musicians.

Eventually Jenny, Geordie and John's musical paths began to lead away from each other, and the Barmitzvah Brothers went on hiatus in 2008, giving each of the three youths time to follow their own course both as people and musicians. John vied to become the subject of a Bruce Springsteen song by marrying early and becoming a factory worker moonlighting as a rock musician; Geordie worked hard towards international pop superstardom, recording and touring with Islands and his own band the Magic; and Jenny commenced her career as Jenny Omnichord, solo touring musician and hardworking mother of the little son, Otis.

In 2011 Jenny contacted Geordie, John, and longtime Barmitzvah Brothers guitarist Tristan O'Malley in order to record an album dedicated to the imminent birth of her second child. Over the course of a week, Jenny, Geordie, John, and Tristan reunited at Andy Magoffin's House of Miracles in London Ontario to record "Growing Branches", a series of songs celebrating the music of the Barmitzvah Brothers as well as babies, mothers, little sisters and older brothers.