Choose Your Headline

Apr 11, 2014

fbo_newsOur local newspaper publishes content throughout southern Minnesota, and sometimes repackages it slightly for different communities. In Northfield a recent feature story they did about us was titled with the sprawling “Matt Arthur and the Bratlanders rock out at Castle Rock N’ Roll Bar & Grill near Northfield,” which became a much less specific “Matt Arthur and the Bratlanders hoping for new album soon” in the Faribault paper. In either version, it was a pretty nice little article, written by Cristeta Boarini. Here’s a link to the full article, but I hope they don’t mind that we’ve reprinted it below.

Recording an album, going on a national tour, and playing for packed bars was not something Don and Doug Bratland expected to be doing in their mid-40s.

But last year, the Rice County brothers and their band Matt Arthur and the Bratlanders did it all. And this year, they hope to do it all again.

“It’s strange to be doing this as adults with families. We didn’t have a lot of people to model ourselves after. Luckily we’ve had people support us along the way,” said Doug Bratland, guitarist.

This Saturday, Matt Arthur and the Bratlanders play at Castle Rock N’ Roll Bar and Grill, just north of Northfield, for a hopping St. Patrick’s Day party. The band will be filling four hours of music with their signature old country rock feel, both with their favorite covers and their own originals.

The Bratland brothers and frontman Matt Arthur have known each other and played together for years. But it wasn’t until about seven years ago that they formed the band’s current iteration with keyboardist Pete Christensen and drummer Joel Beithon. The group spent a long time playing Johnny Cash and Hank Williams covers, but last year decided to embark on a new journey to record a full-length album of original music.

“Hooking up with Michael Morris changed everything,” Doug Bratland said.

Local producer, musician and promoter Morris of Rice County Records helped guide the band to the sound that they always wanted to have, but couldn’t quite achieve on their own.

For example, Don Bratland pointed to the first track of the band’s 2013 album “Heavy on My Mind” as a real turning point for the band’s growth. The song, titled “Old Friend,” was a “throwaway when we played it live,” Don Bratland said.

“But once we were in the studio, it always put a smile on our faces. Because that’s the kind of sound we wanted to become,” Don Bratland said.

With spoken word, pedal steel, and organ woven throughout the song, “Old Friend” is a highlight of “Heavy on My Mind.” And with such a positive experience in the studio behind them, the Bratland brothers said they want to head into the studio again this spring with new songs already percolating.

“We had such a good response on our tour and with our album,” Don Bratland said. “We hope we can do it all again.”