Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Preview: Alabama natives The Brook & The Bluff return to Druid City

Courtesy of Grandstand Media and Management
The Brook & The Bluff will be in Druid City Music Hall come Feb. 20.

Two years ago, The Brook & The Bluff lit up Druid City Music Hall on the Strip in Tuscaloosa.

Now, the Birmingham natives are back with a new album, “Bluebeard,” and more touring experience under their belt. The Crimson White spoke with the band about how the last two years have looked for them and what to expect from their next show at Druid City on Tuesday.

“I would say we’ve become more confident before walking on stage, especially after last fall,” lead singer Joseph Settine said when asked about what the band had learned in its last year on the road. “It was like this undertaking; it was the biggest tour that we had gone on, and we brought a bunch of production. And I think now that we have production and lights and stuff I feel like we’re all just more confident, and that helps our performance on a day-to-day basis. When you’re more confident, you just play better.”

The Brook & The Bluff — which consist of Settine, bassist Fred Lankford, drummer John Canada, keyboardist Kevin Canada and guitarist Alec Bolton — have been touring their newest record since its release in September 2023. The band had a lot to say about the process of creating and touring the album.

“The process of making ‘Bluebeard’ was the most special for us,” Settine said. “We spent 10 days in the mountains at John and Kevin’s family home in Sky Valley making it. We worked 18 hours a day; we’d sleep and wake up and just go right back into it. I think for the five of us it brought us all a lot closer as musicians. … That could be where we were starting to gain that confidence that we have now on stage, too, just making those songs together. And I feel like now that we did 40 shows in the fall, the new songs that we’re playing are almost no longer new to us. They’re not really new to us anymore. … It’s nice to be on the other side of the record.”

Over the course of those 40 shows, the Nashville-based band has been all around the American South. But despite their Southern roots and tour dates, The Brook & the Bluff don’t have a traditionally Southern sound. They’re very different, in fact, from most of the other bands in Nashville today. 

Where other acts draw influence from country legends like Alan Jackson or classic Southern rock groups like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Brook & the Bluff boast a modern indie sound, citing influences from Frank Ocean to Joni Mitchell.

When asked what their biggest influence is as a group, John Canada named the Beatles.

“The Beatles and, like, John Mayer, I would say,” Settine said. “Because I feel like a lot of our stuff is kind of guitar driven. But definitely the Beatles, and maybe a Crosby, Stills & Nash kind of thing.”

But that’s not to say that the band isn’t Southern. Not only do the members hear the Southern sound in their own music, they’re expanding on it and becoming more comfortable with their regional accents and influences.

“I would say in the beginning, our stuff felt a lot more of-the-South,” Settine said. “As we’ve gone along … maybe we’re adding to the Southern sound. I feel like that would be a cool thing.” 

Though the band’s sound has become a lot less stereotypically Southern, Settine says his voice has moved in the opposite direction.

“As I get older as a singer, I would say I’m more comfortable with my voice being and sounding Southern,” he said. “On ‘Bluebeard,’ there’s a lot of words that I sang in a vocal take that on our first record I would be like, ‘I have to do that again, it sounds too country.’”

That’s no longer the case for Settine, who has adopted more of a Southern twang in The Brook & the Bluff’s newest material. UA students are ready to bear witness to the band’s new sound in person, and are interested to see what kind of tricks it pulls out of the bag on this visit to Druid City.

“I’m really excited to hear what song they choose to cover for this leg [of the tour],” said Jessica Poling, a freshman majoring in secondary education and long-time fan of the band. “In the fall they did a cover of ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ by the Beach Boys, and it was one of the best covers I’ve ever heard.”

Only time will tell what The Brook & The Bluff’s set will look like this time around. But the buzz in Tuscaloosa surrounding the band is certainly palpable.

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