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> Brothers 3, Highlander Radio Featured Artist
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Posted: 28-Jun-2003, 01:09 PM
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Brothers 3 - Originally a trio of siblings, Brothers 3 has grown into a unique seven-member group playing traditional Celtic songs and tunes in styles ranging from folk, country, and jazz to World Beat. Their sweet vocal harmonies, clever arrangements, and outstanding musicianship honor the old melodies while placing them squarely in the 21~ century. They have produced two CD?s, ?Brothers 3? and ?No Turning Back?, and will release a third this year.

Mark Menikos - violin, vocals, recorder, & mandolin
Tom Menikos - drums & vocals
Tim Men ikos - bass, vocals, & harmonica
Betsy Menikos - keyboards & percussion
Wayne McKinzie - guitar, vocals, mandolin, sax, flute, & wind syntheszer
Martin McCall - percussion
Steve Jones - electric & acoustic guitars, vocals, & mandolin


BROTHERS 3 came into being in January, 1997, when?following the usual Menikos family Christmas dinner? Mark and Tom got to talking about their respective day jobs and musical lives. For the purposes of protecting the innocent and preventing backlash, lets just say that things could be better.

Mulling over the conversation later, Mark decided that the time had come to implement a long-held dream to create a folk and world-music group that combined traditional melodies and rhythms with contemporary instruments and musical settings. Even before all th~ details were clear in his mind, Mark contacted Tom and they talked long time about this idea?the first time ever that these brothen would play together in an ongoing venture. The excitement started brewing. Tim was brought in, and in early the next month, Brothen 3 had its first rehearsal.

At first, it was indeed just the three brothers: Mark on violin, Tom on guitar, and Tim on bass, with all three singing carefully constructed harmonies. It was a little shaky at first. Brothers 3 decided they would concentrate on music and song from the British Isles before expanding outward to include their Greek heritage and other musical traditions. The Menikos boys move quickly to a weekly rehearsal schedule. Everyone eagerly looked forward to these sessions. Later, as things began to jell, the brothers decided to expand the possibilities by moving Tom to drums and percussion and replacing him on guitar with another player. It was a big step to add someone else. The name, ?Brothers 3?, would no longer be completely descriptive, and of course there were the usual issues: Would he/she get along with everyone else? be reliable? be ready to devote the time and energy to make things work? Tom suggested a player he knew and respected. Steve Jones came to rehearsal, and the rest is history.

Although performing Celtic and English music was new to everyone except Mark, all players dove in with both feet and started making some really joyful noises. Steve?s background in bluegrass, country, and rock stood him in excellent stead, and his clear ringing tenor voice helped to create some beautiful vocal harmonies.

Brothers 3 rehearsed and performed as a quartet for about a year, always trying to improve and polish. From the time that expanding beyond the original three brothers was decided, Mark had wanted to include keyboards for the extra melodic option and tone color possibilities, and another percussionist, who would be especially useful if/when the band began to include Latin and African music. He knew of the perfect player, someone he had known for more than twenty years, and with whom he had spent several years in the jazz fusion group Aurora: Martin McCall.

Mark?s ?vision? for Brothers 3 always had included using synthesizers for their harmonic as well as melodic contributions. A brief experiment with him switching to keyboards for some pieces was not very successful. So in October of 1998, after month of musings and discussion, the band added its newest Brother: Betsy Menikos ? Mark?s wife.

Betsy has played piano and guitar for many years (though not professionally) and sung in choirs. She has a near encyclopedia knowledge of musicals and keeps Mark amused by singing around the house. Though hesitant at first, Betsy has gamely joined in and worked very hard at learning the material. We are all very glad of her inclusion, though it does mean we can?t talk about our wives at rehearsal any more.

In August of 1999, guitarist, vocalist, and friend Steve Jones had to take a leave of absence from Brothers 3. The responsibilities of home, family, church, and job became too much along with weekly band rehearsals and our performance schedule. Although we entirely agreed with his decision, we sorely missed him and his driving guitar that had become so much the backbone of the Brothers 3 sound.

We began working in our newest member: multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Wayne McKinzie. We met Wayne at Trini Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, where we have performed several times. Once Steve Jones made his plans to leave known, Wayne immediately became one of the frontrunners in Brothers 3?s quest to locate a replacement. In September of 99 Mark made the call to Wayne, who enthusiastically accepted the position. That enthusiasm has continued throughout the entire process teaching him our lengthy songlist. And, as if Wayne?s fine tenor voice, guitar- and mandolin-playing weren?t enough, Mark arrangements now had some new sounds to draw from: saxophone and flute.

In the spring of 2000, Mark gave Steve Jones a call to ask if he would like to join the band for an upcoming special event with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. He gladly agreed. Rehearsals and more phone calls ensued. Soon, Steve called Mark to let him know that he had missed playing with the band, had made some important decisions, and had done some restructuring in his life. Was there a place for him? It was with the greatest joy that Brothers 3 welcomed our prodigal guitarist back into the fold!

Visit the Brothers 3 Website for more information and CD sales!

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