Held in Challis, Idaho in August, the Braun Brothers Reunion is three days of music featuring esteemed artists from the Texas, Americana and Red Dirt scenes. This year, the BBR will be held from August 11-13th and will feature sixteen plus artists, including Jonathan Tyler who last year released the critically acclaimed Holy Smokes. Tyler kindly took the time to call from the road to talk about playing the BBR, what's ahead, and more.
This will be your first time playing the at BBR. What made you want to be a part of the festival?
Well over the years, I’ve seen photos and heard stories from friends about how beautiful and how nice this festival is, so when I was invited to play, I was definitely interested in being a part of it. I’ve played in Idaho a few times, but have never played in Challis. I’m really glad they invited me and have given me the opportunity to be a part of it.
Many of the artists are Texas based or tour throughout Texas. Do you know them all and is there anyone you want to see?
I’m sure it’s the usual suspects, so I probably know them all. Corb [Lund] is awesome. I'm looking forward to seeing American Aquarium, and Turnpike Troubadours and I’m really excited to see Reckless Kelly.
Besides it being a really good time, have you heard anything about what to expect?
Friends told me that it is one of the most beautiful settings for a festival out there, and personally, I am really into nature, so I’m looking forward to that. I’ve also heard that the people who come to the festival are really welcoming and big fans of what we all do, so I’m very excited about that as well.
They really are attentive and appreciative music lovers. After the festival you and William Clark Green, who is also at the BBR, will be headed out together for a short run. How did the two of you connect?
It’s a small world within this alt-country thing we do. In this business, one of the things people like to do is put you in a genre and if you don't fit, they'll say things like, “You’re not country” or “You’re too rock” - and that gets old. I don’t think either of us really fits into a particular genre, so he probably deals with this too. We fit into this alt-country scene as opposed to the mainstream and I feel like we would have a similar fan base. I'm looking forward to going out with him, it's going to be a fun tour.
Speaking of touring, you just finished up a European tour with Nikki Lane and recently played a few dates with Ray Wylie Hubbard. The two of you seem to share a deep admiration and respect.
I did three really quick shows with Ray Wylie where we took over some Texas dance halls, but we really didn’t get a lot of down time on this one. I have a lot of respect for Ray Wylie Hubbard, I think he’s a living legend. I love his style, and what he created with the music. And even behind the scenes, he is such a really good guy as is his wife Judy and son Lucas. There are a lot of people out there that I’ve met whom I respect, but I don’t become friends with all of them, and that’s ok, I don’t expect to make friends with everyone, but in this case, it’s just one of those situations where I love him like family.
I was born in Alabama and was brought up on artists like Marshall Tucker and Jethro Tull and when I was thirteen, Stevie Ray Vaughn was the first person I heard who caught my attention. Years later, when I moved to Texas the first Texas artist I had my mind blown by was Ray Wylie. My friend came over with Snake Farm and I was blown away by the groove, sound, and lyrics. I saw Ray play a concert and waited until after the show to shake his hand and tell him that I loved what he was doing. Then, two years after that my band and I were playing in Steamboat and Ray happened to be there. He heard us playing and he got up on stage with us to jam and play "Snake Farm." I think that was the beginning of a mutual respect between us…..because I’m sure he didn’t remember meeting me years before.
Switching gears a bit, Holy Smokes was released last August, but recently the streams on Spotify have almost quadrupled. Where do you think this momentum coming from?
I have no idea. I think touring with Butch [Walker] and Warren [Haynes] helped, but we have had minimal radio minimal promotion and marketing mean, so it has to be word of mouth or Spotify playlists or something; I can’t really say. It definitely seems like way more people are listening to it now than when we put it out.
Which is a good thing.
Summer is a busy festival season, after that what’s in store for you?
I produced Nikki’s new album which will be out next year, so I’m really excited about that. We are going to put out a full U.S. tour this Fall and then another new record next Spring. It’s pretty much non-stop for the next year or so.
Like Holy Smokes, will it be released independently?
I don’t foresee any labels wanting to deal with me. I'm definitely over it. For me to want to go do some major label deal it would have to be a deal that doesn’t really happen anymore. I’d have to be like Sturgill Simpson level of fame to get the terms I would want. I’m open minded about it though. I would never say I would never do another deal with a label - it would just have to be a good one because one thing labels are notorious for is taking advantage of people, and I don’t want any of that.
For more information on Jonathan Tyler visit his official website
Find him on Facebook and Twitter
Purchase Holy Smokes here
Tyler plays the BBR on Saturday, August 13th
For all of the information on the 2016 Braun Brothers Reunion, held August 11-13, including tickets, lodging, the full line-up and much more, visit the official website
Tickets are available as follows:
One Day Pass $50
Two Day Pass (Fri & Sat ONLY) $76.30
Three Day Pass $114.30
Kids age 5 and under get in FREE
Kids age 6-12 $15
Kids tickets are only available at gate, day of show.