“There’s only a few things that a man like me needs,” the Talbott Brothers sing in sly, inviting harmony on their song “Hey Honey.” “Jesus, whiskey, and you right next to me.”
One other thing they need: music. Lots of it, preferably homemade. “Hey Honey” is from the Talbott Brothers’ warmly received third album, “Gray,” which has kept them on the road since its release in 2017.
Their backstory resembles that of many an Americana and folk band: Growing up, small town Nebraska natives Nick and Tyler Talbott taught themselves to play along with Johnny Cash and the Beatles on a dreadnought guitar that belonged to their father, who had played in an Eagles cover band. The personable duo found their groove with the clean-shaven Tyler’s muscular baritone taking the vocal lead while playing rhythm guitar alongside bearded older brother Nick’s more complex fretwork. Eventually they took their acoustic act public at church and coffeehouses, which opened doors to bars and nightclubs; a few years ago, they followed their muse to Portland, Oregon, where they currently reside. Fast forward to the present, and they’ve added mandolin and harmonica to their gig bags, while their tour itinerary also includes wineries, February’s Key West-bound Rock Boat cruise, and Wine & Song in South Pasadena this Wednesday.
More or less on schedule with their biannual release schedule — “Gray” was preceded by 2015’s “Places” and 2013’s “The Road” — the Talbotts recently returned to the studio to work on their next album. Wednesday’s sets will hopefully include one or two new songs like the yearning “Without a Doubt,” sung in the voice of a man conflicted by yearning and regret, along with dynamic standouts from “Gray” such as the blues-tinged “Dead Man Pass” and “Traveler,” an open-hearted view of troubadour life: “Out here on the road/ So many men with talent, but only few have the soul/ … Maybe I’m no better than the man who pays a dollar for a fix/ And maybe I’m no different than the ones who are running all of this.”
Their storytelling is grounded and scaled to life, and the flowing warmth of their music connects on a visceral level. It’s reductive to compare them to anyone else because the Talbott Brothers have put in enough hours and miles to forge their own musical identity. But if you like, say, the Lumineers, the Steel Wheels, and/or Ray LaMontagne, or if you just savor acoustic intimacy, you could do far worse than heading to South Pasadena Wednesday night.
Wine & Song hosts the Talbott Brothers at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, at Arroyo Seco Golf Course, 1055 Lohman Lane, South Pasadena; $20/$14. Sofia Talvik is also a featured artist. thetalbottbrothers.com, wineandsong.com