Cary Brothers

Cary Brothers

Interview: Eight Years Down: Cary Brothers on His Long-Awaited Return

Cary Bothers

As listeners, we typically assume that a debut album is an artist’s mission statement. Simply put, an artist’s first album is supposed to establish what that person or band sounds like. It’s supposed to lay the foundations for the rest of their career and give listeners some idea of what to expect later on down the road. But what happens when a debut album proves to be an anomaly? When the first record establishes a sonic identity that the artist doesn’t want to chase on future releases?

For more than a decade now, Cary Brothers has been asking precisely that question.

Brothers burst onto the scene in 2004, with a December release called All the Rage. It wasn’t until the next year, though, that he got his big break, thanks in large part to the Garden State soundtrack. Brothers’ beloved contribution, the song “Blue Eyes,” had already been a Hotel Café favorite when Zach Braff scooped it up for his quirky coming-of-age dramedy. Garden State took the song and immortalized it for listeners and movie fans who were of a certain age at the time. While the song gave Brothers the kind of boost that just about any songwriter would kill for, though, it also meant that he got the musical version of typecast. “Blue Eyes” was a singer-songwriter song, and Brothers’ full-length debut, 2007’s Who You Are, was a singer-songwriter album. You could hardly blame early Cary Brothers fans for making the assumption that he was an acoustic singer-songwriter, period.

Review: Cary Brothers – Who Are You

Cary Brothers - Who You Are

This review was written in 2007 and originally published on AbsolutePunk.net. It has been very minimally edited before being republished.

“Zach Braff-core.”

That has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? I think I may just coin that phrase.

The term is not only applicable because Cary Brothers (first name Cary, last name Brothers) has had tracks appear on famed Zach Braff projects such as the Garden State Soundtrack (“Blue Eyes”) and the Last Kiss Soundtrack (“Ride”), nor is it only applicable because my first introduction to the artist was via a karaoke scene in Scrubs (Season 4: Episode 4 – “My First Kill”). No, the term can be used to accurately describe the sound of the artists deemed worthy of its association. I think you know what I’m talking about — moody, emotional music — maybe a little too mainstream to be indie yet a little too indie to be mainstream. The kind of music that fits the soundtrack to a movie so perfectly because you can also picture it as the soundtrack to your life. It’s the music that plays in your head before that first kiss with a new crush, and the music that radiates in your ears as you walk home after they break your heart. It’s the kind of music you can tie to memories so vividly that repeated listens conjure the smells, the tastes, and the other sensory images of the best (and worst) days of your life.