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Judge for Brother Trouble Music

Nashville, TN
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Portrait of Brother Trouble Music
You could describe Brother Trouble’s sound countrified party music. They call it “Y’all-ternative.” Kenny Chesney dubbed the duo America’s “Next Big Star.”

For brothers Jason and Mark Sutton, the idea that music should be a fun endeavor is deeply rooted. They cut their teeth on the Myrtle Beach circuit, entertaining the throngs of vacationers to the South Carolina’s Grand Strand.

But while they were having fun playing “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Sweet Home Alabama” on the club scene, the Sutton brothers were getting serious about songwriting. They were making connections, too – Mark got to know members of Little Texas and toured as a guitarist with the band for several years.

Now together in Nashville, the Suttons are building a career with of a brand of fun and occasionally funky country music that’s ready-made to please concert-goers and fans of country radio. Brother Trouble’s sound incorporates country and various strands of rock. “Nobody today is into just one genre,” says Mark. He and Jason point to the hard-edged honky-tonk sound of Hank Williams, Jr. and pop-tinged stylings of Alabama; to Joe Walsh’s riff-and-hook laden blues; and to the Southern-fried rock of Skynyrd, ZZ Top and, of course, 38 Special.

These influences shine on songs like “Get it, Get it” and “Thump, Thump, Thump,” which promote a good-time philosophy on romance. “Summer’s Little Angel,” a girl who “took her first steps in the sand,” could be about a favored gal from their Myrtle Beach days. “The Game” is a vote for taking a tough stand in the face of adversity.

Combined with the Suttons’ upbeat, carefree approach on stage, it all makes for a party-like atmosphere at Brother Trouble concerts. “Most of the time, when people go to a show, they want to have great time, have fun, work up a sweat,” Jason says. “We’d rather smile than frown any day of the week.”

That attitude is what attracted country legend Rodney Crowell to the duo. He was a judge of an early round of Kenny Chesney’s national “Next Big Star” competition. As Mark recalls, the other bands “were all playing sort of the same sound. We played a song called ‘Jimmy and the Sheriff’ – we smiled and had a great time. Rodney goes, ‘The reason ya’ll won was the joy that came from the stage. There was a joyful feeling.’”

Others were drawn to Brother Trouble, too. They progressed through the competition to become Chesney’s ultimate pick. As winners, they were invited to open a series of concerts for Chesney. Mark already had a good deal of big-stage experience with Little Texas – and Jason had joined the group onstage a number of times – but Chesney shows were on another level. “It was mind-blowing, but at the same time it was really easy,” Jason says. “When we hit our first note, they accepted us. More than anything, it was really fun. The last show, I got a feeling of overwhelming sadness. It was like, ‘Man, this is going to be over.’”

Or, maybe it was just the beginning for Brother Trouble. The Suttons have got plenty of momentum – specifically, a deal with Blaster Records and a release due out in 2010.

“Getting to do what we’re doing is a real thrill,” Jason says. “And getting to be part of this with your brother is even more special.”