Con Brio is touring the country, and will be playing the House of Blues in Boston Thursday, March 9. Photo: Courtesy of Con Brio
The band’s name “Con Brio” means “with light” or “with brilliance” in Spanish or “with spirit” in Italian, or it simply means to put your back into it, together. With this motto in mind, the band hopes to keep bringing music to fans across the country.
This fast-rising band has been on a sold-out tour across the country with the Revivalists, and will be performing at the Okeechobee Fest in Florida before driving up the coast to perform in Boston.
While on the road to Florida, lead singer Ziek McCarter took some time out between cuts from bad cellphone service to share his thoughts on coming here to Boston.
“We played in Boston before over last summer,” said McCarter. “It was in Brighton Music Hall—a very cozy place.”
McCarter said that they are really excited to be coming back, especially since two band members spent their college years in Boston. Guitar player Benjamin Andrews studied at the Berklee College of Music, and drummer Andrew Laubacher, went to Boston University.
The band formed in 2013 when seven musicians of diverse backgrounds met at a spot in San Francisco that hosted Jazz every Tuesday night. Together the players gathered around to listen to artists such as Marvin Gaye and James Brown.
“All of these young blood musicians came out and checked the place out,” said McCarter. “There’s seven people and we all magically ended up at that one place – it’s sort of a miracle.”
This past July, the band released their new album “Paradise” that mirrors the same dialogue the band puts out during a live performance but with songs that tell the narrative of everyday contradictions.
The song “Liftoff” speaks to the urge to fly and transcend the day with a starry, birds-eye view, which is then followed by the song “Hard Times,” which brings the listener back down to earth with the struggles of city life, inequality and a fractured society yearning for healing.
One song that seems to speak the most to today’s tumultuous times is “Free & Brave.” This song begins by name-checking Trayvon Martin and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and it’s inspired by McCarter’s own personal experience of police brutality. His father, the Rev. David T. McCarter, was unarmed and gunned down by a police officer outside Jasper, Texas in 2011.
Although the lyrics speak of the harsh truths of reality, the upbeat song speaks to the hope that McCarter sees for the future.
“Out of all these songs, the most prominent one honestly is ‘Free & Brave,’” said McCarter. “Especially during these times of frustrated voices that aren’t being heard.”
McCarter said the message of the song is “this is what it’s like now and this is what we hope it will be like in the future, and this is how we will work toward that.”
Even though the song reflects the themes of the Black Lives Matter movement, McCarter explains that making this song and other music is also a way for him to interpret the world and make sense of his past experiences.
“For all of us, creating music keeps the past alive for us,” he said.
Although McCarter said the band isn’t politically driven, he believes that “every show has been a rally.” Even when they lost power at one show and the soundboards got mixed up, they came together to keep performing and share their message.
“We just need our own power,” said McCarter. “As long as we can be heard, we will have a platform.”
For now, McCarter said they’re hitting the studio and are working on new tracks for their next album. “To our Boston fans: Get ready to hear some new stuff coming your way!”