The Thistle Brothers (Cameron and Devin) are a Boston-based brotherly duo making music for a cause. Each single that they release is connected to a charity, and the money made from the singles (through streams, purchases and donations) is sent to the charities. Their main influences include and stem from artists such as Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, and Bob Dylan, placing them in a sonic space that blends folk, R&B, and classic rock. They hope that their music can not only please the ears of their listeners, but also help to make the world a better place alongside the charities that their music is connected to. The duo have released their latest single “Afford.”
Here are the brothers on the single: “Afford” is more of a mentality than a song. The two of us were raised by our parents to value love, romantic or not, over everything, and we tried to capture that mentality in the writing, performing, and producing of this track. One of the main focuses of the creative process was to build everything around the lead vocals and acoustic guitar, as if we were sitting in your living room and performing it for you with just those two components. However, we wanted to surround this acoustic performance with an imaginative state, as if our love is this intricate, full-band arrangement that gives the song its setting in your heart. Each instrument was performed and recorded by the two of us with these thoughts in mind, and we also had the pleasure of featuring our dear friend, Ron Cha, on piano, who brought his own interpretation into the mix. “Afford” is paired with Pine Street Inn, a Boston-based organization aiming to end homelessness. The money made from streams and downloads of “Afford” is sent to Pine Street Inn, helping to move homeless individuals from the streets and shelter to a home. We hope you love it.”
We recently chatted with The Thistle Brothers to learn more about them.
When did it become clear that you two wanted to go about music in the matter that you do?
Music has always been the dream. We have been singing and playing since before we can remember, so there wasn’t really a moment where we decided to devote our lives to music. It has just always been that way. However, our incorporation of charities and causes that we stand for happened in the past few years. Through watching some of our favorite bands give back, we were inspired to do something similar and pledge all money made from our singles to different charities. It just felt like a symbiotic relationship at its finest – we give to causes that we stand for through our music, charities receive donations, and listeners have a reason to pat themselves on the back after listening.
Who are some of the artists that you have looked up to as guiding inspiration?
We try our best to keep our ears on their toes at all times, but we certainly find that a massive portion of what we listen to is (or comes from) Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Prince.
What has the pandemic done for you in terms of looking at going about music differently?
The two of us, without a doubt, feel that our best music comes during live performances. We have definitely been deprived of that ability due to the pandemic, and although it has put a damper on our growth as live musicians, we have used this time to refine our recorded selves as best as we can. Over the course of the last year or so, we have put ourselves in our home studio more than ever.
What has been the response from the charities that you have worked with?
Each charity that we have worked with thus far (Northern Virginia Family Service, JDRF, and Pine Street Inn) has been a pleasure to work with. They have all made fundraising very easy for us and have shown us great appreciation as well. Love is everywhere, and it especially glows off of these organizations.
What are some of the important social issues that you feel need more attention?
There are many social issues that need light heading into 2021. However, we believe that the biggest societal issue right now is the lack of love for one another. In a time of separation and polar opposite views, it is so important to love each other, even if it is only on the grounds that we are all human. The most beautiful part of human life is diversity. We, as a society, must open the door for diversity of the physical world, but we must also open the door for diversity of the mind, diversity of the heart, diversity of the soul, etc. No two beings are the same, but all beings can be loved the same.
How collaborative is the writing between you two?
There is no specific formula – we find songs in many unexpected spaces and at many unexpected times. Still, there are paths that our songs more frequently walk than others, and those paths are quite reflective of our musical personalities. Devin fits best in lyrical and melodic situations, whereas Cam is more comfortable in harmonic and rhythmic situations. Our songs will often visit us accordingly. If there were to be any common theme to our writing process, though, it would be the following: none of our songs would exist in the way that they do without the two of us.
What is in the works for you two?
As of right now, we have a library of fully written tunes that we are pulling off the shelf a couple at a time. There are five tunes at different stages of recording right now, and we hope to get them out into the world this year at some sort of regular interval. We look forward to honoring some of our favorite musicians as features on the tracks, and we also look forward to growing our community of love and giving to more and more charities and organizations. Lastly, we cannot wait to meet lots of new people at live shows once it is safe again. Love to you all <3