Track By Track: The Ahern Brothers – The Ahern Brothers

The Ahern Brothers
Image Courtesy of The Ahern Brothers

The Ahern Brothers is the new duo project from Josh Rennie-Hynes and Steve Grady which has been garnering all sorts of praise since they emerged on the scene earlier this year.

Last week The Ahern Brothers released their self-titled debut album and we sat down with the boys to get a run down on each of the tracks, with Rennie-Hynes and Grady taking a side each:

Side A by Josh Rennie-Hynes

1. “Comb That River” – This is the first song Steve and I ever wrote together. We’d played a lot together in the past few years on our own solo stuff but for some reason never sat down to write something. We flew into San Francisco from Melbourne at around midday, jet lagged as hell. Our friend Moose’s apartment is in the Castro district and out of his windows you can see San Francisco; it’s a beautiful view. That afternoon we pulled out our guitars and started jamming. This song idea came and within a few hours we pretty much had the whole thing down. It’s loosely based around the show ‘Stranger Things’ and the story of a child who’s friend has disappeared. This song sets the tone for the rest of the record and once we’d written it we both realised we’d stumbled onto something cool.

2. “When the Rains” When The Rains was written directly after “Comb That River” that same afternoon, somewhere in the midst of the jetlag and the euphoria of waking up and being in another country. I don’t know where this song came from. Again, we just started jamming on ideas and an hour or two later we had a gospel song. When you listen to the recording you can hear my voice get croakier as it goes on. It was late at night when we recorded it and I was a little tired but it ended up being our favourite performance. That’s what I love about this album; it wasn’t about perfection or polish first and foremost. It was about capturing a true performance of the songs.

3. “Today’s The First Time” – After a few days in San Francisco we headed north to the stay at our friend’s lodge in a place called the Russian River. It is nestled in the hills among the giant redwoods and is just beautiful. We’d sit on the deck most days and write. Steve had a rough verse melody for this song buzzing around in his head for the previous few weeks but no lyrics. So it was just a matter of nutting it out. It’s one of those songs that almost feels like it’s already been written; you just need to sit down with it, pay attention and let it tell you what it wants to say. For me it’s about being in the present; experiencing things and travelling while also missing a loved one. Steve had earlier said to me that day something along the lines of “This is the first time I’ve truly missed someone” and the chorus came from that.

4. “Bury Me Here” – There was a meadow just below the lodge that we’d often go to. One morning we woke up and wanted a change of scenery and perspective for the day so we grabbed our guitars and headed down. I was messing around with this chord progression and we jammed on ideas until the song started to come. There was a dog buried in the meadow clearing and a grave marked with stones. Some turkey vultures circled high overhead. We were sitting there playing with ideas when this old cat suddenly slinked across right in front of us, stopped to take a look then continue on about it’s day. Steve immediately turned to me and said ‘We should write this song from the cat’s perspective’ and so it was. It’s got a darkness and eeriness to it that gets under your skin and the melody doesn’t stop moving. It’s written about an old cat and it’s close friend, death.

Side B by Steve Grady

5. “8 Years On The Run” – This is definitely the oddball song of the album. It’s the most Australian and country of the lot. We had just written four songs that were heavily influenced by our surroundings and time in California, therefore we were probably searching for a new perspective. I’d heard this story of Australian father and son fugitives – sort of modern day bushrangers – Gino and Mark Stocco. For eight years they went on the run, changed their names, stole and burnt down farms, even killed an innocent man, all the while hiding from the law. It’s a pretty amazing story especially in this age of technology and surveillance. In saying that, we certainly don’t want to glorify their actions. They were eventually caught and thrown in jail, but we thought it’s a crazy enough story and worth writing about.

6. “Call, My Lover” – We wanted to bring it back a notch with this song and get back to something a little more honest and closer to home. The structure and mood of the song began sitting around a campfire with our guitars in a forest somewhere near Portland, Oregon. It’s definitely the most straightforward and conversational type of song on the album. We purposely didn’t add any tricks or metaphors, nor did we try to pretty it up with harmonies. It has a great jam out section and a mood of loneliness and longing to hear the voice of the person you love and miss back home. In my eyes it’s like ‘Today’s The First Time’ part two.

7. “Your Name” – We had just arrived back in San Francisco, a little weary, and again found ourselves on the roof trying to come up with ideas for a song. We had a melody but no substance. We really wanted to say something important. This was when our dear friend who we were staying with shared a story about his younger brother and the tragedy that unfolded when they were kids. Without going into any more detail, we knew this was a song that needed to be written. The words came fast, and what I love about it is Josh and I share the lead vocals from each brothers perspective, only joining together for the second half of the song. The recording is perfect and it’s definitely my favourite song on the album. Songs like Your Name is why I do this.

8. “Our Last Day” – The title says it all. We had packed in so much within our three weeks of America – the heights of San Francisco, lodging in the redwoods, Yosemite, road trips, hanging in Portland, writing a bunch of songs. So we thought it would be fitting to sum it all up in one song. It’s light and fun. We wanted it campfire style, with the two of us singing in unison together for the whole thing. I hardly even knew the words when we recorded it, so you’ll notice I’m always just a millisecond behind Josh. It’s a great documentation of the trip and the perfect way to end the album.

The Ahern Brothers is available now – check it out in iTunes here

The full list of upcoming tour dates for The Ahern Brothers are below:

Thursday 29th June – Treehouse, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 30th June – 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW
Saturday 1st July – Royal Mail Hotel, Ipswich, QLD
Friday 7th July – Woodford Open Space, Woodford, QLD
Friday 14th July – Flow Bar, Old Bar, NSW
Thursday 20th July – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 22nd July – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 28th July – Green Door Wines, Ferguson Valley, WA
Saturday 29th July – The Church, Donnybrook, WA
Sunday 30th July – The Pottery-Restaurant, Bridgetown, WA
Thursday 3rd August – Secret Show, Mandurah, WA
Friday 4th August – Wild Vinegar, Bunbury, WA
Saturday 5th August – Secret Show, Fremantle, WA
Sunday 6th August – Secret Show, Perth, WA

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1 Comment

  1. June 30, 2017 at 15:14

    […] “Last week The Ahern Brothers released their self-titled debut album and we sat down with the boys to get a run down on each of the tracks, with Josh Rennie-Hynes and Steve Grady taking a side each” – The Ahern Brothers take use through their self titled debut album. Track by Track here […]


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