The Travers Brothership, an Asheville, North Carolina, band led by twin siblings Kyle and Eric Travers, just came off one of the biggest, and most challenging, weekends of their seven-year career. The quartet, with Kyle on guitar, Eric on drums, Ian McIsaac on keyboards, and Josh Clark on bass, played at Virginia’s FloydFest, a sprawling, three-day celebration of music and art that has seen everyone from Shovels & Rope to Gregg Allman to Steel Pulse to Buddy Guy perform. And they played five different sets on four different stages in front of about 30,000 people.
No big deal, right?
“This is one of the coolest festivals,” Kyle Travers says. “It’s one of my favorite that I’ve played in my career. It’s a huge honor to be invited to play so much music.”
It also seems like it should’ve been a little intimidating, but the Travers Brothership knocked it out of the park, to the extent that Rolling Stone named the band one of the “10 Best Things We Saw at FloydFest,” putting them alongside Margo Price, String Cheese Incident, and The War & Treaty.
And that’s probably because the Travers Brothership has been honing its potent combination of old-school soul and gritty, exploratory jam-rock long enough to know how to stretch it out.
“We’re comfortable with our repertoire,” Kyle says, “so it was just a matter of stamina. A lot of our songs have evolved and taken on new shapes, and that’s how we’ve naturally seemed to progress as time goes on. When you’re on tour a lot, promoting an album, you have to play something from it every night, so you might as well take some of the tunes in a different direction and stretch out in some places. I think it’s been really good for our musicianship to have the freedom to take risks and switch it up a little bit.”
The Brothership’s most recent album is called “Let the World Decide,” and it’s a testament to their confidence, a 12-song blast of funk, rock, and passionate, soulful vocals so assured that it’s difficult to believe these musicians are still in their 20s.
Kyle Travers says the key to making that record was a simple one: “Starting live in a big room, trying to capture our live energy and spontaneity,” he says. “We start raw. I kind of picture it Stones-style, how you’d read about them getting in a basement and playing some rock ‘n’ roll and seeing how you can build it from there.”
The fact that the album leans in a more R&B direction than the Stones typically did comes from the music the band listened to during those long weeks on the road.
“We were touring heavily,” Travers says, “and when you’re spending that much time with the same group of people, I think you get a collective-consciousness kind of thing going, and that works its way into your influences. We’d be on a 12-hour drive discovering things together. I think mainly it was just us listening to a lot more ‘70s soul music, and it bled into our writing a little bit.”
The Travers Brothership will be bringing that soul-jam music vibe to the Radio Room in Greenville on Saturday night, and the Upstate has become a sort of second home for the band over the years, partially because of their friendship with one of the area’s favorite sons.
“[Singer/guitarist] Marcus King is a good buddy of ours,” Travers says. “We’ve played together since his career first got started. He actually opened for us in Greensboro [N.C.] at the Blind Tiger. That’s where our relationship started; it’s been really fun to watch him take off. He’s let us open up for him, and his support of our band has really been a big help.”
If you go
What: Travers Brothership, w/ Vintage Pistol
When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10
Where: Radio Room, 110 Poinsett Highway, Greenville
Tickets: $10 advance, $12 door
Info: 864-609-4441, http://www.radioroomgreenville.com/