Relic has become a popular attraction around Louisville, sharing soulful, harmonious bluegrass at bars, festivals and anywhere else available. Now, the band’s two most similar members, Aaron and Adam Bibelhauser, have stepped to the side with a new album, Always Home, a collection that honors the brotherly tradition of the Stanleys, Louvins and Everlys. LEO asked how the Bibelhauser Brothers project came together.
LEO: Why not record this with Relic?
Aaron Bibelhauser: This new record initially began as a solo project of mine, with the intent of recording and releasing my original songs, some closer to fitting in the bluegrass box than others. After getting started on the project, my twin brother, Adam, brought some of his own tunes to the table. It quickly became apparent that this was to be a duo project of new, original music. It was really about focusing in on our abilities as writers and as vocalists.
LEO: Bluegrass hardly requires you to write your own new material. What inspired you?
AB: Writing new material is critical to keeping traditional music alive and relevant. I do think that skirting in and out of the confines of a traditional genre is a really helpful tool in gathering thoughts and presenting them in a coherent manner, without sounding too far out. With bluegrass music — much like the blues, jazz or even classical music — it’s easy to paint yourself into a corner as a musician who plays only existing compositions. In consciously steering ourselves away from this idea, it almost opened up a door, and it became a logical next step to write our own stuff.
LEO: Do you resent musicians in more trendy genres who get more mainstream attention?
AB: A lot of pop music has become mainstream because it’s catchy and people really like it. I think, however, there is a real drive in deciding what songs get airplay that has a huge effect on what listeners tend to like. It used to be that disc jockeys got to decide what new music they wanted to play, and now it’s all pre-determined by label affiliation and commercial interests behind the scenes. At the end of the day, I just hope that the music I involve myself in has substance. I want to do something that’s meaningful, as an artist, not just a guy trying to figure out what hook the song is going to need to grab people’s attention.
Bibelhauser Brothers perform Friday, Nov. 11, at Uncle Slayton’s at 8 p.m. Go to www.cdbaby.com/cd/bibelhauserbrothers.