Brother Sun Biography
National Touring Artists Greg Greenway, Pat Wictor, and Joe Jencks have made their mark as veteran touring singer-songwriters, but Brother Sun is no songwriter's round. The trio's harmonies, as much as their lyrics, tell what they are about: warm as a campfire, stirring as a gospel church, rousing as a call to arms. Fusing folk, Americana, blues, pop, jazz, rock, and a cappella singing, Brother Sun is an explosion of musical diversity and harmony, in the finest of male singing traditions.
From three major points on the map Boston, New York, and Chicago - Greg, Pat, and Joe have blended themselves into Brother Sun: a unique celebration of the amazing power of singing together. As they will tell you, the music of Brother Sun is not resident in any one of them – but rather it exists in the space between them. Audiences feel this sincerity immediately. Their combined musical skills make for an unforgettable experience - three rich voices blending on a well-crafted foundation of guitar, slide guitar, piano, ukulele, and bouzouki. Their performances are marked by outstanding original songs, ethereal harmonies, off-the-cuff humor, and standing ovations.
Brother Sun's self-titled debut CD announced to the world that these respected singer-songwriters had banded together to produce some of the most powerful male harmonies on the acoustic music scene. Brother Sun’s self-titled first release (2011), debuted at #2 on the Folk DJ Chart, and was named the #8 album of 2011 on FOLK-DJ. In addition, Brother Sun made the "Best of 2011" and “Best of 2012” lists for over a dozen radio stations in the US.
After their first two years of nationwide touring they released Some Part of the Truth, a CD that went a large step further in revealing Brother Sun not only as singers, but as complete musicians. Some Part of the Truth received such widespread and sustained radio play that it was the #1 CD on Folk-DJ for 2013, and also contained the #1 song for 2013, "Lady of the Harbor." Some Part of the Truth is cinematic in its sweep, each song like a short film. The CD takes listeners on an evocative and vivid journey through America's cities and heartlands, where unsung heroes struggle and sometimes win the daily battles of life and love. Grammy-winning Producer Ben Wisch shaped the mood and atmosphere of each song, with Greenway, Wictor, and Jencks all providing instrumental touches ranging from subtle to bold.
In 2016 Brother Sun has released its third CD, Weights & Wings, a collection that confirms the trio’s dedication to extending its musical and artistic boundaries. The songs on Weights & Wings represent the evolution the group and its members have undergone. This is Brother Sun’s most emotionally immediate and musically diverse work yet, and it affirms the power of song to accompany each of us from grief and loss into new worlds of possibility, light and promise. Ranging from gospel and blues-inflected grooves through delicate ballads, with playful dips into zydeco and jazzy a cappella, the ensemble’s muscular and precise harmonies provide the optimism and uplift in every song. The CD’s instrumentation, creating textures from introspectively etheral to rocking and gritty, is rounded out by guest musicians Jon Carroll on piano, organ, and accordion, Chico Huff on bass, and Matt Scarano on drums and percussion.
Appearances at festivals like Falcon Ridge, Kerrville, Old Songs, Vancouver Island, and a summer 2016 appearance at Mariposa attest that Brother Sun is regarded as a must-see live act. Brother Sun’s music and message appeal to mainstream listeners and dedicated folkies alike, to people of widely divergent spiritual and political leanings, and fans of both contemporary and traditional music. They offer the hope of people uniting to create beauty in uncertain and unsettled times.
Praise for Weights & Wings:
Brother Sun's third album leaps like a solar flare of heat and light. Greg Greenway, Joe Jencks and Pat Wictor fuse voices of primary colors, creating a white light illuminating the heart and the darker corners of our world. Widely diverse songs, all originals with the exception of one well-chosen Phil Ochs cover, keep the album engrossing and entertaining from first to last track.
-Rich Warren, The Midnight Special & Folkstage, WFMT, Chicago, IL
Weights and Wings is another step forward for this very special trio in their songwriting, production, and chemistry. Wrap yourself in their rich harmonies and embrace their clear-eyed vision.
-John Platt, WFUV, New York, NY
Folk on steroids! Brother Sun melds heart-lifting anthems with the art of harmonic massage. Nimble, strong and soothing all at once!
-Mary Sue Twohy, The Village Folk Show, Sirius XM
Brother Sun incorporates a fuller band sound on Weights and Wings, with stirring originals, their trademark three-part harmonies, and a terrific version of Phil Ochs' “When I'm Gone.” When I heard the opening a cappella notes of “Mary Don't You Weep and Moan,” I knew I was in for a soaring ride. And I was.
-Bob McWilliams, KANU, Lawrence, KS
At the first invigorating note, you are hooked. Their full voices and soaring harmonies, the interweaving of styles, the intricate arrangements and the poetic lyrics create an amazing recording. Brother Sun does it all, seamlessly going from uplifting folk-gospel to rock and blues, and beautiful introspective songs. "I Won't Look Down” is destined to be an anthem for our time.
-Laurie DesJardins, KVMR, Nevada City, CA
Brother Sun's latest recording Weights and Wings is a welcome visit from three friends who come bearing comfort, hope and inspiration in the form of powerful new songs and their trademark exquisite harmony. This new recording puts the emphasis on "harmony" through both their artistic achievement and sharing themes that remind us that we need to find an accordance in these troubled times.
-Ron Olesko, WFDU, Teaneck, NJ
With twelve originals and one Phil Ochs cover, Pat, Joe, and Greg give us everything I've come to expect from Brother Sun: great songwriting, exceptional instrumentation, and spot-on harmonies. Weights and Wings is a must have for any fan of Brother Sun.
-Joe Angel, KEOS, College Station, TX
Soaring harmonies. Masterful storytelling. Dynamic musicianship. And even a little bit of honky-tonk piano. All these things and more make Weights and Wings, the new release from Brother Sun, essential listening. They are in remarkable vocal form here! The music is accessible and recognizable. The songs are beautifully crafted. I’ll be wearing this disc out on my radio show! Highly recommended!!
-Steve Brockway, KRFC, Fort Collins, CO