The Acre Brothers are an Indiana/Ohio based band whose unique sound is derived from southern American roots with influences rock and roll, blues and country music. The band is made up of Ben Cole (vocals/guitar), Nathan Dillon (guitar/vocals), Mardi Raun (bass), Brian Gill (keyboards/vocals) and Kristin Olson (drums). The Acre Brothers just released there first collection of originals on an EP titled “So Many Roads”. “So Many Roads” is filled with music that will take you on an inspirational journey that will have you meandering the back roads of southern America as your mind wanders on a journey to Memphis’ Beale Street on down to the muddy waters of Mississippi or the French Quarter of New Orleans. There is not one song on “So Many Roads” that sounds like the other. The unique sound of the Acre Brothers is combined with the gruff but modulated vocals of Ben Cole and the skillful talent of Nathan Dillon on guitar.
Be sure to check out The Acre Brothers’ “So Many Roads”
The Acre Brothers on YouTube
Nathan Dillon took some time to talk with me about The Acre Brothers and their musical influence. Check out the interview below!
Hi Nathan! Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for me!
Nathan Dillon: I’ve known our singer, Ben Cole, for 18 years. He’s my brother-in-law! That is where (at least part) of our name comes from. We started the band about 4 years ago. Mardi Raun joined on bass a few months after we got started. I played with Mardi in an Afropop group eons ago and that is how we knew each other. Our drum and keyboard chairs have changed over the years. We are SO HAPPY to be playing with Kristin Olson on drums and Matt Babineaux on keys and horns.
I was born in Alabama and grew up in East Tennessee. Ben is from Indiana. Kristin is from Minnesota and Matt is from Texas. The slide comes from me growing up, listening to blues from the South and Chicago. East Tennessee is more old-time music, country music and bluegrass. I love that music too but, especially as a teenager, I listened to a lot of blues music. That forms the basis of the sound that tends to come out of my brain and fingers. I haven’t lived in the south since I was a teenager and was as surprised as any of us at how much southern sound comes out! Ben also grew up listening to a lot of blues. His dad was very into it while Ben was growing up and that affected Ben a great deal.
I write the songs. The songs are craft, craft, craft, craft and then every so often, one just pops out fully formed! I try to, “stay out of the way” while the songs are forming and let them take shape intuitively. The process is whatever I can get my hands on. If I’m in between teaching music classes, I might sit in a quiet corner and riff on an idea. If I’m on a bus or train, I will be writing in a notebook. If I’m at home, I’m playing and some kind of recording device is at the ready if need be. If I’m in the car, I’m listening to demoed stuff I’ve recorded singing and working things out at the traffic light. I just try to make myself ready and able to write at any time, really.
I play all the guitars on the recordings. The guitar you hear is a 1964 Sears Silverstone Hornet 1450L. It was my very first guitar. It was my father’s guitar and he gave it to me when I was 12 or 13. I play other guitars but I have come full circle, back to the first guitar. It is the sound I love and the sound that resonates with me the most. Also, the super flat neck lends itself to slide and the lipstick tube pickups are prized by slide players for their pristine, bell-like tone.
I love baseball. I love politics. I follow politics like many people follow sports. I’m also a science nut. I try to read something about science every day. But my main thing is music and raising my two boys, Cy and Lou. Ben is a dad as well. His little girl Gus is great. We love it when the cousins are all playing together!
We made a demo a few years ago of covers to help land gigs. This is our first record of originals. We are going back into the studio this fall and will be working toward a full-length record. Depending on how much time we have in the studio, it will be an extended EP or a full on album. We will see how it goes. But we are working toward that goal for sure. We recorded at Farm Fresh Studios here in Bloomington. It is an amazing place. Our producer, Sam Crawford cut his teeth there before heading to NYC years ago and he loves coming back around. Jake Belser, the owner, is amazing and so fun. The studio is in an old church and sounds great. It is magic out there at Farm Fresh.
We have been talking to bookers and agents. For the last couple of years we have focused on playing in southern Indiana and trying to build a good reputation. That is working well and now it is time to build on that success. If you are a booker or agent we would LOVE TO TALK TO YOU. We hope to sign on to an agency soon and get out there more. We want to expand to Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville and smaller towns here in Indiana. But it would be great to go west or back to the south for some shows. If you know people and are reading this article, please send them our way!
I would love to open for Los Lobos. They are my heroes. I hope to write songs as good as theirs someday. I would love to open for Steve Earle or Built To Spill. We are down to play with anyone!
The next steps are getting back into the studio and getting”So Many Roads” into people’s hands. We are proud of it and love sharing our music with new people. My focus is to write the best songs I can and get this band ready to record. It’s also important that we have help finding placement in media for these songs and get help getting out to a wider audience. We are ready for the next steps.
Music is a universal language. We hope to use music to connect with people in a meaningful way. And we hope to hear from people who hear us. A good band is only as good as the people who listen.