The Ries Brothers (Kevin and Charlie), a rock-duo from Tampa Bay, Fla., have played in support of acts such as JBoog, Dirty Heads, SOJA, Chicago, Butch Trucks and more. I recently had the chance to speak with them after being blown away by their set at 1904 Music Hall in Jacksonville.
“I don’t really care about going to prom or anything like that because I’m so into music,” said Kevin when asked about being young.
Charlie added that he “did regular school until my senior year, and then we switched to online so we could start traveling basically.”
The brothers – ages 18 and 21 – play a unique blend of reggae, classic rock and funk to create plenty of good vibes. Kevin plays classic rock-inspired guitar and keyboards, harmonizing and trading off vocals with his older brother Charlie, who serves as the drummer and keyboard bassist.
They have done three tours, each of which has only been 2 1/2 to 3 weeks long. Kevin noted that the tour with Resinated (which also featured The Ellameno for a show) was their longest, falling between two and a half to three weeks.
Recently, the brothers recorded their debut album with Ted Bowne from Passafire. They explained that it was a great fit, citing their hard-rock influences in reggae as part of the reason. It took them two weeks to make the 13-track album.
Even though Ted played some of the bass lines and studio musicians contributed some of the other sounds on the album, The Ries Brothers are still passionate about playing and writing everything they do. In September, they will be returning to Jacksonville to play at Mavericks with Passafire.
“We’re stoked because the album will be out by then… the day of, probably,” said Charlie.
hen watching The Ries Brothers play live, it is obvious that they are incredibly well trained and well practiced. When I asked about their learning process, they explained that they began piano at 4 years old, before each picking up their instruments of choice. Kevin has only been playing for five and a half or six years and is most musically influenced by Jimi Hendrix.
“I dont even think about it any more, I’ll just pick up the guitar….5-6 hours a day,” Kevin said.
They have also taken some vocal lessons, but for them the vocals are a lot about listening to artists they love and getting inspiration. Morrisey and John Mayer were named by Charlie, while Kevin hopes to emulate artists like Scott from Stick Figure.
They plan to keep the band as a duo but use others musicians for live shows and recordings to add a dynamic sound.
“We’re gonnna be…an opening act for a while,” said Charlie. “When we get more to where we’re doing more headlining shows we want to make a band a part of the show. We headlined a show a few days ago in our hometown St Pete and we had a band for the second half of the show. We start as a duo and I come up front as lead singer for the second half of the show…[but] we will always keep the duo as an aspect.”
Kevin added that they “want to take it as far as we can as long as we can still be true …we have had a lot of offers to go different ways but it would mean we would have to give up a lot of what we could right.” He had a sparkling enthusiasm as he shook his head, telling me, “I think its gonna get a lot crazier.”
With upcoming dates with Common Kings and Passafire, as well as multiple NYC filmings, it is clear that big things are coming for the brothers. Their humble attitude will take them far, and even though things are quickly progressing for them, Charlie noted that they know “the lows make the highs way better.” These guys are a major artist to watch, with an incredible live energy and an immense potential.