A Q + A with The Brook and The Bluff

A Q + A with The Brook and The Bluff

The Brook and The Bluff, comprised of Joseph Settine, Alec Bolton, John Canada and Fred Lankford, is awakening music makers and listeners alike to the raw talent that Birmingham has to offer. Through their unique sound, the band reaches audiences of all ages with emotion-evoking lyrics. 

The Local: Introduce yourselves! Tell us a little bit about each of you.

Joseph: “I’m Joseph and I’m the lead singer. I started writing in like 3rd grade, not songs, but I started writing little poems, and then started writing songs when I turned 15. I went to Auburn and studied music education.. Realized I was a shitty teacher so, uh, I had some songs that I had written in college and Alec and I had already started The Brook and The Bluff, so I decided to move back to Birmingham and just go for it.”

John: “I’m John, I play drums. I went to Auburn and met Alec and Joseph there, but there’s so many ways that we all know each other. But yeah, I’ve been playing drums since I was in the eighth grade.. Didn’t take up singing until highschool or college, but that became a pretty big priority of mine. Yeah, I went to school for accounting and I was kind of on the brink of accepting a full-time accounting job after college when I saw Alec and Joseph at a gig and thought it would be really fun to play with them, and that quickly turned into more than just a couple fun gigs on the weekends, we were like ‘…wait, maybe we can actually make a living doing this.”

Alec: “I’m Alec, and I grew up next door to Fred and we used to walk to school together, and then I was in highschool choir at Mountain Brook High School with the other three. Then I went to Auburn as well and met Joseph freshman year and we started a cover band that dissolved after a little while until Senior year when we picked it back up as an acoustic duo that became The Brook and The Bluff.”

Fred: “My name is Fred, I’m from Birmingham as well, and like Alec said I grew up next door neighbors with him. I am a year above these guys so I started college at Rhodes College in 2010 while they were at Auburn basically getting the band together. Just like Joseph, I was a teacher for a little bit after college, I was a first grade teacher, but I quickly figured out that it wasn’t for me. So I did that and then moved down to Birmingham coincidentally when The Brook and The Bluff was picking up and the previous base player was leaving, so I ended up regularly filling in for him until the band asked me to move to Nashville and was like “absolutely.”

The Local: How did you decide on the name The Brook and the Bluff?

TBATB: “We’re from Mountain Brook and Bluff Park.”

The Local: So how long ago did y’all move to Nashville?

TBATB: “We moved in February of 2018, so just 2 years ago.”

The Local: How has the transition been since moving the band to Nashville?

TBATB: “It’s been awesome. First month or two was tough with finances. We weren’t playing gigs so we just had to do Uber or Shipt, but yeah, Nashville has been where we have put together our awesome team. From like a business side and a music side, Nashville has been really good because we found our producer, Micah Tawlks. Just being in the recording community in Nashville versus Birmingham–there’s just way more of it in Nashville so there’s a higher standard.”

The Local:  If y’all could tour with anyone, who would it be?

TBATB: ‘The Beatles, or Coldplay… it would also be sweet to tour with John Mayer or Kacey Musgraves. Oh, Harry Styles!”

The Local: What do y’all most look forward to when you’re performing?

TBATB: “The acoustic set, and little moments on stage when you get a look from one of the guys. I also always get excited for the shows when I’m nervous…like right before the show when every second feels like a minute and your adrenaline is just pumping.”

The Local: What tour spots are you most looking forward to?

TBATB: “New York City, Charlotte, probably Boston!”

The Local: How has the band evolved since the beginning of your career?

TBATB: “I definitely think that our live shows have evolved because now we don’t go anywhere without a keyboard player, but overall we’ve just learned each other as musicians so much more as we’ve been playing together.”

The Local: Where is your favorite place that you’ve performed at so far?

TBATB: “I feel like Iron City was almost like a pinnacle because it was a sold out hometown show.”

The Local: Is there a particular venue in the U.S. that y’all would like to play?

TBATB: “The Ryman in Nashville, Red Rocks in Colorado, or headlining The Troubadour.”

The Local: Are there any common misconceptions The Brook and The Bluff?

TBATB: “Hearing that question is weird because I just don’t think we think of ourselves as that big of a deal… like what do people think about us? I think we’re pretty transparent in our social media, we’re just like four dads. I guess a misconception could be if anybody thinks we’re more serious than we actually are because we’re just like, so weird.”

The Local: What has inspired your sound?

Joseph: “Ya know I’d say your sound is just naturally a combination of all the things that you love to listen to.. Especially for me I’d say for this album it would be Frank Ocean’s “Blonde”, Kacey Musgraves’ “Golden Hour” and John Mayer’s “Continuum”. Those are probably the three biggest albums that are landmark points in my life, so I think that those three are what guided this album.”

The Local: If someone had never heard your music before, which song would you want them to listen to first?

TBATB: “That’s a good question, well ya know we put Halfway Up as a single for a reason so I think that would probably be the one. It’s a combination of a lot of things that are kind of characteristic of our sound.”

The Local: Where do you see the band in a year? 5 years?

TBATB: “There aren’t limits to our aspirations, but I think for us being on the inside of it, everything for us is day to day. For us to actually make it we kind of have to put blinders on and just put our heads down and be day to day. Only focusing on making the best songs that we can make. And no matter how big we get, we’re still gonna be doing the same stuff. We’ll still be touring and recording, but we’ll have more people listening…it’ll always be us.”

…no matter how big we get, we’re still gonna be doing the same stuff. We’ll still be touring and recording, but we’ll have more people listening…it’ll always be us.

The Local: What do you want readers to know?

TBATB: “The tour schedule, and not to take us too seriously. Take the music seriously, but not us as people. And we’re super thankful for where we are, and thank you for listening!”