Brother Jerome was founded by singer-songwriter Ryan Bria, as homage to his late brother Jerome “Drew” Bria, a peace-loving man who stood for righteousness, love and the transformative effects of music. These characteristics have been a foundation for the young band and inspiration for the new album. Progress is their first full length album, set to be released on April 6, 2018.
In response to Jerome Bria’s passing, Ryan has found his path. He comments, “I’ll be traversing it every single day of my life. Part of this path includes me progressing as a person: continually striving to be the best that I can be, as well as taking every opportunity I have to show kindness and compassion to the world around me. Another part of this path includes speaking out against injustices and exposing the systems that allows oppression to happen. Needless to say the current day civil rights movement that is happening in America was extremely influential in the naming and creation of the album.” For Ryan the new album Progress is about coming face to face with injustices, trying to find ideal solutions even if it is as simple as understanding addiction, to de-stigmatizing the discussion around mental illness, and as complex as breaking down the walls of identity to allow people to be their truest and best selves.
Progress is an 11 track album full of tunes that speak out against injustices and expose the systems that allow for oppression, sprinkled with a few love songs to help us remember to love and appreciate each other. The title track “Progress” embodies the current day injustices by pointing out the senselessness of racial profiling and police brutality. Another standout track is “Macho Man,” it is a deep dive into masculinity and macho vibrato to unveil the toxic effects it has on ourselves and our society, it is very danceable tune with a solid message. The lead single is “Soul Shine,” a soulful number that has a lot of fire and bounce, catchy melodies along with stunning imagery creates a love song unlike any other.
Progress was recorded at Grand Street Recording in Brooklyn, NY with producer Ken Rich and Engineer Jake Lummus. Special guest appearances include trumpet player George Maher and keyboardist Tom Bauer. Newly joined member Sean Ronan, guitar player, had previously worked with Ryan Bria on an array of other projects and the two re-united for this album. Andrew Sherman joined the album, unexpectedly, on the vibraphones for the track “Mind Over Matter.” Ryan was enamored by the texture of the vibraphone in Alabama Shakes’ track “Sound & Color” and, fortuitously, composer Andrew Sherman happened to be stopping by the studio the day they were recording. A few takes later “Mind Over Matter” was complete. Brother Jerome band is comprised of Sean Ronan (guitar), Ryan Bria (Vocals, Guitar), Stephan Lemos (Bass), Dan Chetnik (Sax, Vocals), and Andy Davis (Drums).
Brother Jerome’s live performances are outstanding, and they will be touring the East Coast in support of Progress. Whether the audience is swept up by the music or enthralled by the performance, audiences are sure to experience positive vibes at their shows. Brother Jerome has graced stages large and small and have supported and performed alongside Michael Franti and Spearhead, Dark Star Orchestra, Mike Love, Passafire, and Ballyhoo.
Ryan reflects, “This album, reminds me how blessed I am to be surrounded by so many talented and genuine people; and that is certainly something to celebrate.” Progress is due out April 6 and will be available everywhere. Keep an eye out for tour dates here.