Arts and Entertainment

The Makepeace Brothers carry a folk-pop tune and a message to Bremerton

The Makepeace Brothers play The Admiral Theatre
The Makepeace Brothers play The Admiral Theatre's The Source in downtown Bremerton Wednesday, May 12.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Three-piece folk-pop band The Makepeace Brothers delivers political awareness and feel-good encouragement to the sounds of contagious melodies. The homegrown trio pays homage to their upbringing and talks on their widely influenced musical roots from the road, where they’re proving there is no rest for the weary, taking gigs of all sizes fresh off a world tour with Jason Mraz. Their next stop? Bremerton.

The Makepeace Brothers are a relatively young band; They’ve been playing under the name for less than four years and list a two-album discography to their credit. But already they’ve attracted worldwide attention, earning critical nods that compare their progressive folk anthems to Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. Not a bad start for three guys who haven’t yet seen their mid-30s.

Brothers Ciaran and Finian Makepeace, ages 22 and 27, say they grew up amongst the musical influences of Ithaca, New York, where they met bandmember Conor Gaffney, 30, in school. They listened in on folk festivals, learned to emulate the playing styles of world musicians and replayed the albums of Springsteen and U2, Gabriel and Marley. Their parents were musically inclined, as are older Makepeace brothers Aidan and Liam, 30 and 32, who sometimes play with the band. The Makepeace family toured the United States in 1994, and it was that trip especially, say the brothers, that helped steer them into creativity.

After pursuing individual musical endeavors, the bandmates met up in San Francisco and came together as The Makepeace Brothers. They have since toured two continents with surf crooner Jason Mraz, receiving a handy introduction to his worldwide fans. They’re now taking gigs from coast to coast, from private party to college campus to Bremerton’s The Source, where they’ll play at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 12.

Their song “Hero” is a paean to harmony, a call to the interconnectedness of all people with a soulful refrain and poignant bridge that reminds the listener of the wonder of humankind. It has become their banner song, an audible insignia alongside lighter sing-alongs like breezy and rhythmic road tune “Caroline” and “The Monkey and the Lion,” a quirky, creature-themed piece of musical poetry not unlike Simon and Garfunkel.

Their songs have appropriated elements from bluegrass, country, jazz, Brazilian, African, and Celtic music. Songs “Things Gonna Wait” and “I Can Always Do It” are billed as dance melodies; “Lovely” furthers their message of one world, peace, and consciousness.

The group says their Ithaca upbringing made way for much of their progressive energy, influencing them to use their music as a rally cry for action.

“Growing up in Ithaca was a huge part of it. Ithaca is a very progressive community. There’s a lot of people in that town who are willing to bring the community together to make changes that are progressive and positive for either the community or the world at large,” said Finian Makepeace. “We were influenced by that tremendously as young kids, seeing that possibility happen all the time around us.”

Now they carry that momentum into the music world, where many are stopped short in an industry that is often sharp-edged and unkind. Still, they say it isn’t difficult to live what they sing.

“I don’t think it’s tough at all,” said Gaffney. “I think for a lot of people [The Makepeace Brothers are] a breath of fresh air.”

Finian Makepeace added it’s the more natural thing, to let music be a positive inspiration.

The Makepeace Brothers are based out of Los Angeles, and for the first time later this year Gaffney and the four Makepeace siblings will record together as a collaborative.

Working with siblings proves a boon to musical creation, Gaffney said, because each member of the band has no qualms giving an honest opinion and each knows the value the other band members bring.

“We all trust each other’s musical ear,” he said.WU

The Makepeace Brothers

Tickets can be purchased by calling (360) 373-6743 or visiting the Admiral Theatre Ticket Office at 515 Pacific Ave. in downtown Bremerton. For additional information visit the Admiral Theatre website, www.admiraltheatre.org. The Source is located on 5th Street around the corner from the Admiral Theatre.

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