The Brothers Burn Mountain Documentary

Paul Whyte

I first encountered The Brothers Burn Mountain years ago. Before I worked with the Reader I was a booking agent with a brew pub in Superior. I don’t recall exactly what they said, but the band sounded intriguing. The band consisted of Ryan and Jesse Dermody. Ryan was a multi-instrumentalist and Jesse was primarily a percussionist. The duo had a set that was both easy for most to listen to, but yet also had a certain amount intensity that was notable. The Brothers came back a couple of times and then they told me that they’d be moving up here to the Northland from the Green Bay area. I was thrilled because a lot of musicians usually move away from here over moving to the area. It didn’t take long for them to become established in the area and they eventually started playing every week at Fitgers Brewhouse some years ago on top of other gigs all around the Northland. Since they have lived up here, they’ve continued to evolve.
I was happy to learn that they decided to release a documentary about themselves. This Saturday on March 14, there will be a screening at Teatro Zuccone with this new documentary that details the back ground of this powerful duo. There’s not many bands up here that release a documentary. As a person who writes about music, I was eager to watch this video titled, “Where Flames Confide.” Some might think that it’s a little self absorbed to release a band documentary if the band isn’t really well known. Upon watching, I think that the Brothers are actually pretty humble and their unique outlook on music, the way they work together and even life is refreshing. No, it’s not as exciting as, let’s say a documentary on Motley Crue; it’s quite a bit more spiritual and profound than that.
Sometimes there’s moments in people’s lives where something just clicks and then they go with it. It’s not something that happens every day. On a rare occasion there’s moments where a decision is made and that changes lives forever. Jesse had been living in Brazil and moved back to Wisconsin. Ryan came to pick him up from the airport and noticed that all he really had with him was a hand drum. Ryan’s band had just broken up and it almost went without saying that they’d start creating music together. As soon as they got home they started at it, and have been at it for over 15 years.
The documentary features photos and a live interview with the Brothers. They now live in a cabin in the woods in Northern Minnesota and it’s plain to see that they are among the people up here that love nature and a little bit of solitude. The Brothers sit by a table in candle light and talk about what they’ve done and a little on why they took the direction that they did in this documentary.
Everything from their distinct accents to how they record their albums is covered. I don’t want to give too much away, but I found it somewhat amusing when they said that they power their studio gear with a minivan and 200 foot extension cord. They live off the grid but still manage to create excellent albums.
This documentary will be of interest to local music lovers, but especially those who prefer to live in the woods over the hustle and bustle of city life. The Brothers Burn Mountain are in tune with each other and nature. They play a mixture of rock, blues and folk and they self produce their albums which are recorded in a way that most wouldn’t even consider. The duo have gained notoriety in the area and it’s apparent that they have followed their life’s calling with how they live and their music.
The Brothers Burn Mountain will feature this documentary and also play a show with a full five piece band. The Brothers are almost exclusively a duo, so playing a set with other band members is to say the least, pretty rare. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and The Brothers will play an hour set and then screen the documentary. General admission is $10 and the door. The first 20 tickets sold will come with a DVD of the documentary.


Paul Whyte

A South Shore native and University of Wisconsin-Superior journalism graduate. Lifelong musician, and former open mic host. Passionate about the music scene and politics.

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