The Snape Brothers
family that plays together, stays together, but nowhere is this more evident
than with the The Snape Brothers who have been playing music together
for the past 27 years.
The brothers (from left) Russell, Michael and Chris Snape, all began playing in Gunnedah at age 13. They moved to Newcastle in the 70's and played in 'Hadleys Rill', a band that blew people away with their tight immaculate harmonies.
While some of the trio's backing is computer-sequenced bass, drums and keyboards, the talent of the trio is its flawless three-part harmonies and three-part layered guitar work.
Russell, the youngest Snape, plays acoustic guitar and sings low harmonies, while Chris plays lead guitar and sings the high harmonies.
"Chris can just really play everything," Russell says.
"He can pretty much match any sound he hears on a record".
Mick, who sings lead vocals, also plays electric rhythm guitar and some lead guitar, singing high lead vocals on tunes by 'Richard Marx' and 'John Farnham'. With about 200 songs in their repertoire, the The Snape Brothers harmonies have to be heard to be believed.
"You can put this in your story," Russell said.
"None of our harmonies are sequenced".
"So many people come up to us and say that's on tape".
"If we learn a song now which has three part harmonies, we all know what we're gonna do."
Playing country, country rock and music of the 1970s, Russell says the trio does some contemporary tunes - "anything with a bit of feel and rhythm and good lyrics".
A couple are 'Sugar Ray's' Every Morning and the 'Bee Gee's' Alone, again highlighting standout harmony work.
But it is the 1970s where the The Snape Brothers hearts reside.
"The seventies were the good years," Russell says emphatically.
"I think a lot of the songs back then had feeling. And the chord progressions were interesting".
'These days the chord progressions are ridiculous."
The Snape Brothers have been recording on and off for the past month with Bill Aitken at Akachant Studios in Kurri Kurri.
Mick Snape said the album would contain 13 tracks, and was expected to be released in December.
"It's a pretty diverse sort of an album," he said.
The trio is best known around the Hunter for their covers and famous three-part harmonies, especially on tunes by 'The Eagles' and 'Jackson Browne'. Mick said he and his brothers Russell and Chris had decided to record an album for posterity, and may even enter a song or two in time for Tamworth in January.
"We've been overworked and a little bit slack, you could say," Mick said. "We thought we'd better go and do something before we got too old."
All tracks had been recorded, awaiting only vocals, harmonies and a little lead guitar, including a special solo piece from a prominent, unnamed guitar picker.
The debut CD from Newcastle trio The Snape Brothers contains a dedication on the inside cover to 'loved ones who, along with us, never imagined this album would happen'.
Fortunately Mick, Russell and Chris Snape have persevered.
Maitland's Snape Brothers have produced an impressive album Nightworker which does justice to the group's live performance, itself a mighty sound to behold.
CDs are available for sale from gigs.
Until now the trio has concentrated on delivering more perfect renditions of rock, country rock and middle-of-the-road cover versions from the 1970s and 1980s.
Most of the songs are by Mick Snape
ranging from slower ballads with slide guitar and piano, to trademark
Snape harmonies on 'A Lot On Her Heart', to upbeat rockers such as 'Wantin'
Him Tonight'. The title track 'Nightworker' sounds like it was mixed
with radio in mind, and has shades of 'The Dingoes' anthem 'Way
Out West' with its tale of working class woe.