The Greenhorn Brothers, Topanga’s homegrown, country-influenced rock band is on a roll. Their new EP Flying Down the Road was released late last year, and they have a full lineup of concerts, including headlining the live entertainment at Topanga Earth Day on April 27.
Band member and founder Brian Chapman shared the history of the band with the Messenger Mountain News.
He and the band members—Richard Donovan, Chris Garcia, Eric Lynn, and Davey Chegwidden—have played together for several years, beginning with informal jam sessions around the fire on family camping trips. “We made some music together and enjoyed harmonizing,” Chapman said. “We thought it would be fun to have a harmony band,”
The Greenhorn Brothers drew their original inspiration from the country rock sound of the 1960s and ‘70s. Chapman and Donovan play guitar, Garcia is the bass player, Lynn plays piano, organ, and Wurlitzer, and Chegwidden is the drummer.
All five band members work together cooperatively, without a lead singer, contributing vocals and sharing the lead, supporting each other with close vocal harmony. The sound is mellow and rich, with beautifully blended harmony.
“It’s a sound you don’t often hear today,” Chapman said. “But it’s a kind of music that resonates.”
Chapman explained that the Greenhorn Brothers began by developing a repertoire of 20 songs, ranging from the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers to The Band and Steely Dan. From that selection they developed their own sound, working together to write seven original songs that have a retro feel.
“Our original set of cover songs informed what we wrote together,” Chapman said. “We are pretty proud of our original songs.”
It’s a classic California country rock sound, rooted in Topanga Canyon’s storied and legendary musical heritage, but also grounded in the present day.
In October 2018 the Greenhorn Brothers dropped their first EP, Flying Down This Road, and released a single: “Can’t Wait Another Day.”
“It was the first song we wrote together,” Chapman said. “The band loves the sound and we are proud of the album. We had the opportunity to record in historic studios on amazing equipment, for an authentic retro sound.”
Chapman discussed how the music industry has changed in recent years and the challenges of releasing the album. The Greenhorn Brothers ultimately chose to go with an EP release but have also made the music available on a variety of online platforms.
“People can hear the music all over the world, and the sound quality is really good,” Chapman said.” That’s important to us. We try to keep it real.”
Look for the Greenhorn Brothers live at Topanga Earth Day, April 27, 6-8 p.m. They will also be performing at Topanga Days, on May 27.
For more information on Earth Day: TopangaEarthDay.com
For more about the Greenhorn Brothers, including upcoming events, visit their Facebook page: facebook.com/TheGreenhornBrothers.