Monday, May 28, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Sarasota indie folk pop duo Good Graeff find success around the world

To find success in their hometown, Brooke and Brittany Graeff had to go halfway around the world.

The twin sisters had played together in high school in Sarasota, nothing too serious, before parting ways after graduation. Brooke went to Canada to work in foley arts and video game sound design; Brittany traveled to Europe and India before settling in Vietnam. "I heard it was a good place to work," she said.

The sisters reconnected in Hanoi, where a loyal fan base of American expats urged them to return to America and give their indie folk pop project a serious shot.

Since then, Good Graeff has hit the ground running in Sarasota, Florida and beyond. Through support from their friends in America and Asia, they've booked slots at huge festivals, toured the country and enlivened the region's music scene with their unique, energetic cello-driven sound.

"It's very different from what a lot of bands experience, because we didn't start playing until there was actually a demand for it, whereas usually you play and hope that demand happens," Brittany said. "We've only been doing this for a while now in the States, and we're already playing festivals like Gasparilla and South by Southwest, and it's really because we did it the other way around."

Born 11 minutes apart, the sisters Graeff (pronounced "grayf") are fraternal twins, not identical; growing up, their musical tastes reflected that difference. Brooke, who sings and plays guitar, was into the Pixies, Blink-182 and CKY; Brittany, who plays cello, loved Andrew Bird and Bright Eyes. Their first gig together, in 2004, was a Battle of the Bands, which they entered "just as a pure joke," Brittany said. "We ended up winning."

In Hanoi, Brooke bought a cheap classical guitar and Brit bought the only cello she could find ("It was a $300 piece of plywood," she laughs). Word of their talent spread quickly among their fellow Americans in the expat community; almost immediately, Good Graeff had a booking agent. For the next few months they played cafes and coffee shops. "It was just something we were doing for fun and extra cash on the side," Brittany said.

Their friends helped the sisters film a video and urged them to return to America; many donated to a $10,000 kickstarter campaign to help get the group running. Returning to Florida a couple of years ago, "we started playing open mics," Brooke said. "We hadn't lived in Sarasota in over six years. We didn't know the venues, we didn't know any bands, we didn't know anybody, really, anymore."

"We played the crap out of Sarasota," Brittany added. "We very strategically overplayed ourselves so that our name would be recognized." From farmer's markets to rock clubs to burlesque shows, the sisters were there. Eventually they added a drummer, old friend Joe Abraham, and a few bassists, currently Tyler Solu.

Since signing with Colorado booking agency Madison House — which also represents national artists like Bassnectar and the String Cheese Incident, as well as locals like Have Gun, Will Travel and Thomas Wynn and the Believers — Good Graeff has toured constantly and are readying the follow-up to their 2013 EP Better Half. They say its ready; they're just waiting for the right time to release it.

"One thing I really love about our sound is it can appeal to pretty much everybody," Brittany said. "It's a very unique sound. It's a sound that's not very offensive; but it's still pretty catchy."

"We really try and just keep it simple," Brooke said. "I don't want to have to analyze a song when I'm listening to it. I want it to just sink in and have it stick there."

Comments
Sunset Music Festival cancellation sends DJs, fans scrambling to clubs across Tampa

Sunset Music Festival cancellation sends DJs, fans scrambling to clubs across Tampa

When the threat of Subtropical Storm Alberto led Tampa officials to pull the plug on the 2018 Sunset Music Festival on Sunday, it was less an implosion than an explosion.Some 20,000 pass-holding fans and DJs who'd flown in from around the world were ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Alberto cancellations: Sunday’s Sunset Music Festival, Tampa Bay Margarita Festival called off

Alberto cancellations: Sunday’s Sunset Music Festival, Tampa Bay Margarita Festival called off

Facing ugly weather from Subtropical Storm Alberto on Sunday, the Sunset Music Festival and Tampa Bay Margarita Festival have both decided to cancel their second days."This decision to cancel was made by the Tampa Sports Authority, in conjunction wit...
Published: 05/27/18
Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival keeps rain at bay, brings Marshmello, Rezz to Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium

Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival keeps rain at bay, brings Marshmello, Rezz to Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium

In the end, we were waiting for a drop that never came.With Subtropical Storm Alberto forming in the southern Gulf of Mexico, it seemed a matter not of if but when but the Sunset Music Festival would suffer its nasty effects — inches of rain, g...
Published: 05/27/18
Country comedy band performs at Dessert Theatre benefit

Country comedy band performs at Dessert Theatre benefit

The Sweeney "Family" Band, a musical comedy act that blends country, folk and gospel music with knee-slapping humor, will perform June 3 at the CARES Elfers Center, 4136 Barker Drive, New Port Richey. Doors open at 1 p.m., with the show starting at 2...
Published: 05/25/18
Watch Kenny Chesney’s new ‘Get Along’ video, filmed entirely at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

Watch Kenny Chesney’s new ‘Get Along’ video, filmed entirely at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

Were you at Kenny Chesney's concert on April 21 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa? Then there's a decent chance you might be in his new video.The country superstar dropped the official video for his new single Get Along on Thursday, and it was appare...
Published: 05/24/18
Sunset Music Festival, more outdoor concerts could be soaked by weekend rain

Sunset Music Festival, more outdoor concerts could be soaked by weekend rain

  Your Memorial Day weekend weather forecast is not looking good, with a big low pressure system, Invest 90L, hovering out in the Gulf of Mexico and threatening to dump several inches of water on Saturday. For music fans, it couldn't be coming at a...
Published: 05/24/18
An all-ages playlist of the summer songs of 2018? It can be done

An all-ages playlist of the summer songs of 2018? It can be done

Recently I was asked to create a playlist for a summer beach party. An opportunity to procrastinate and mess around on Spotify for a few hours? Yeah, totally, when can I start?I like playlists that are diverse, not just in terms of genre (pop, hip-ho...
Published: 05/24/18
Tampa Bay Margarita Festival schedule, set times: When to see the Wallflowers, Everclear and more

Tampa Bay Margarita Festival schedule, set times: When to see the Wallflowers, Everclear and more

It's anyone's guess as to whether this weekend's ugly rains will hold off long enough for the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival to crack open some 10,000 bottles of tequila in Curtis Hixon Park.But if it does, you want to know when you can see your favori...
Published: 05/23/18
97X Barbecue schedule, set times: When to see Awolnation, Dirty Heads, more in St. Petersburg

97X Barbecue schedule, set times: When to see Awolnation, Dirty Heads, more in St. Petersburg

The 97X Barbecue Music and Arts Festival — formerly the 97X BBQ, formerly the 97X Barbecue, formerly … well, who can keep track of it all? — returns on Saturday to Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, with a lineup that includes Awolnation...
Published: 05/23/18
John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

It’s been 50 years since John Fogerty wrote Fortunate Son, one of the most scathing protest songs from the Vietnam War era. Writing another one with that kind of impact has been a challenge ever since. "Back in the ’80s, I had a couple o...
Published: 05/23/18