The last time encore spoke with Brothers Egg was back in 2015, prior to their “Bleeding Slow” album-release party at Bourgie Nights. While it was a major milestone for brothers Jamie (guitar, banjo, drums, piano, vocals) and Hunter Eggleston (mandolin, guitar, drums, vocals) and Suzanna Magaldino (fiddle, vocals), a lot has happened since.
Magaldino got married and moved to Garner to be closer to her bandmates, as the brothers relocated to Raleigh just before the EP release in 2015. Both Hunter and Magaldino have gone back to school. Hunter is at App State studying sustainable development, organic farming and local-food movements, while Magaldino is starting a radiography program at Wake Tech. “I am also pre-med,” she adds, “and taking the MCAT this summer, with hopes to get into medical school within the next couple years.”
Despite a heavy schedule on- and off-stage, Brothers Egg is hitting another milestone in 2018 with the release of their upcoming LP “All for You.” They’ll return to Wilmington—where the band first got together—to celebrate their music once again at Bourgie Nights on March 3.
“We’ve played a lot of shows since [our last release] and we’ve matured a lot as a band—musically and personally,” James notes. “I think we’ve come into our own with our sound and who we are as a band with this record. . . . Our first release at Bourgie was one of my favorite shows we’ve ever played.”
“I also must add Bourgie Nights is a fabulous venue,” Magaldino includes. “They treat the bands super well, the sound is clean and the venue is beautiful. A band like ours with acoustic instruments (violin, mandolin, a banjo over 100 years old) can be tricky to work with, and they do a fantastic job every time.”
While the official release of “All for You” is March 2, the Eggleston brothers and Magaldino put out limited-edition CDs, handcrafted one at a time with stencils they made themselves. Using the stencils, they spray-painted about 100 CDs, and the cases were block-printed with a block Jamie carved himself.
“The moth on the block-printed cover is probably my favorite part of the CD,” Magaldino describes.
“With each CD, we slipped in a few handmade stickers, and everyone got a different set of stickers. The CD insert was drawn by Jenny Eggleston, who is working on our album cover for the official release. She also generously let us use her art studio to work on the CDs.”
While the specialty CDs sold out within a couple weeks, Magaldino says they’re considering selling more sets in the future. In the meantime, at least for the official release party, they’ll have standard CDs and vinyl copies, as well as streaming availability through Spotify and Pandora—platforms offering a surprising amount of exposure for the North Carolina trio. The band also is looking to play bigger tours as their sound progresses.
They’ve developed their sound from the first EP, which was heavy on acoustic instrumental. “All for You” utilizes new instruments, sound avenues and even distortion. “We experimented with a lot more instruments and textures with this record,” Jamie iterates. “I played some B3 organ on a few of the songs, as well as electric guitar and percussion.”
“If you listen to our EP next to our full-length album, you can certainly hear our growth,” Magaldino adds. “Hunter sings his own songs, Jamie plays more piano, and I even played a song using a heavy overdrive effect on my violin. We all try to sing more and it has reflected in our newer songs.”
Most, if not all songs off “All for You,” were played live long before they were recorded at The Rubber Room Studio in Chapel Hill. They draw on myriad experiences, and time left plenty of room for them to evolve. Jamie, for example, wrote “Brother” while doing a month-long hike on the Appalachian Trail with Hunter. “‘Lost in Space’ came from a late-night jam session where we were feeling a bit, errrr … out of our minds, perhaps,” Jamie quips.
The title track started as a little “Irish-sounding jam” before it was restructured. It’s one of Magaldino’s favorites, which she co-wrote with Hunter, with simple and tasteful violin/mandolin harmonies. Others, like “Apron Strings” (originally going on their EP), simply needed more work with dynamics, harmonies, etc.
“Recording really makes you think about every small detail of a tune you may not have paid any mind to before,” Jamie muses. “It’s cool because now, when we play the songs live, we approach them differently than we did before.”
“Many of our close fans will recognize the songs on the album; it will be a treat for them to hear different layers and directions we took the music in,” Magaldino says.
Both artists agree Rubber Room owner and engineer Jerry Brown offered invaluable expertise from working with other North Carolina bands, such as Mandolin Orange and Mipso. His ear led to spontaneous additions, which took some songs to new and unexpected heights.
“[Jerry would] be like, ‘Oooh, I’m feeling some organ on this one—Jamie, why don’t you get in there and play some.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m not an organ player!’ But I’d do it anyway, and it led to some unique sounds and textures,” Jamie details. “We added a water jug to sound like a low bass drum to some songs. We also sampled and looped a vocal phrase from Suzi on a tune, which was completely new to us!”
“Being a creative artist or musician is one thing, but the tools used to create art can make a big difference in your product,” Magaldino continues. “Rubber Room gave us the tools (recording equipment, expertise, and in some cases, instruments!) we needed to bring our vision to life!”
Their album release party will feature Wilmington singer-songwriters John Erb and Mason McKaughan. Though neither play out much, Jamie praises their prowess and is excited to get them in front of a crowd.
“John, Hunter and I used to jam every Monday night at a session-turned-party called ‘Bourbon and Breakfast,’” he tells. “Mason and I waited tables together at the Pilot House and I knew Mason played, but when he showed me some demos he recorded, I was really blown away … lots of talent in this town!”