Brothers Angus, Fergus and Hamish Richardson grew up in the Australian town of Bathurst. Their home was always filled with music, whether someone was practicing an instrument or playing a record on the stereo. The Richardsons took up instruments associated with rock & roll, as well as those related to traditional music. Hamish began playing the didgeridoo and guitar, Fergus played guitar, and Angus picked up the bass, while all three knew their way around the bagpipes. Since forming their band Brother in the early '90s, they have started their own record label and have toured the world extensively, being bestowed with the title of "Jimi Hendrix with bagpipes" by the publication Buzz Weekly. Besides a cross-pollination of musical styles, Brother have also gained recognition with their alternative stage presence, wearing leather kilts and occasionally donning nail polish. As Angus, Fergus, and Hamish Richardson fine-tuned their instrumental skills, they traveled into Sydney, Australia, where they performed at various pubs.
When 1992 arrived, Brother had started the Rhubarb Records label and self-produced their first album, Black and White. The cassette-only release was sold on the band's first tour opening for guitarist Joe Walsh in 1993. Black and White featured the group's knack to create a world pop sound. As 1994 set in, Brother returned to their roots music. They released their second full-length album, Pipe Dreams, showcasing the traditional pieces they had performed in Australia's pubs a few years earlier. Diversity was the key to the Brother's 1995 album, Exit from Screechville. The band toned down the street-busking feel of their prior effort in favor of a hybrid of the traditional music on Pipe Dreams and the pop of Black and White. The producers of the major motion picture Baraka heard the album and enjoyed Brother's reworking of the folk song "An Daorach Bheag" so much that they decided to include the track in their film.
Over the next few years, Brother continued to alter and experiment with their sound. This was evidenced by a string of albums, which included 1996's Black Stone Tramp, 1997's The Digging Bone, and 1998's Your Backyard. Around this time, Fergus decided to leave the the band to pursue his interest in filmmaking. Brother were moving in a more groove-oriented direction, while they toured with the likes of Bur and Dalbo. Noted for their energetic live shows, Brother decided to record an April 7, 2000, concert performance at the Coach House, located in San Juan Capistrano, California. The set consisted of some of the band's better-known songs, including "thetimeisnow" from The Digging Bone, "The Crow" from Pipe Dreams, and "Blackest of Blue" from Black Stone Tramp. The record titled This Way Up was released that June.
In March of 2001, Brother set out on their long-awaited tour in support of This Way Up. The first leg of their journey took them from the Midwestern United States all the way to California. As the second leg of the tour got underway at the end of May, the band was honored with the privilege of performing at Cleveland, Ohio's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with hard rock band Linkin Park and singer/songwriter Alicia Keys. Brother also performed at Milwaukee's Summerfest on the tour, where they out-drew all of the festival's headliners in attendance numbers. ~ Stephen Howell