T: 07557 742515

We are Brothers Broke

Tangled up in Blues, Dylan and The Beatles.

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Edinburgh Fringe, Dorking Halls, Brighton Fringe, Mole Valley Arts Festival, The Space UK

Brothers Broke specialise in music festivals and shows where they perform an acoustic folk-come-bluesy interpretation of songs by Bob Dylan and The Beatles, as well as delivering insightful commentary about influences, origins and styles of both artists’ songwriting.

These songs and commentary are delivered via two shows: When Judas Met John considers the relationship between Bob Dylan and John Lennon; and Sitting on a Cornflake provides an insight to the songwriting of Lennon and McCartney. Both 2022 shows have been very well reviewed, each receiving 4-stars. You can read more about both shows and full reviews below.

“Pristine musicianship. Simply a delight for music fans” – The Wee Review

“Charming and effortless performers” – Theatre Weekly

“This duo’s own arrangements gave integrity” – ThreeWeeksEdinburgh

“Far more in-depth than a simple tribute concert. The music is exquisite” – The Wee Review

“Competent musicians telling stories with ease” – The Edinburgh Reporter

“Enjoyable, well done and excellent harmonica work” – NorthwestEnd UK

“Impeccable Folk musicians offer a fresh insightful take” – The Wee Review

As well as Bob Dylan and The Beatles and depending on ambiant venues, Brothers Broke interpret songs by a range of artists including Clapton, JJ Cale, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Dire Straits, Neil Young, The Band and Van Morrison.

With tight harmonies and a mellow, acoustic delivery, we play as a duo (guitar, bass, harmonica), trio (+keyboards) or quartet (+drums), depending on venues and desired ambience.

Performances vary from Music Festivals including The Edinburgh Festival (EdFringe), Brighton Fringe, Arts Alive Festival (Surrey) and DylanFest (Ireland), to hotel venues including the luxurious Chateau de Lartigolle in Toulouse, France, and selected atmospheric bars from Surrey to Belfast.

Brothers Broke are Members of The Alliance of Musicians & Performers.

Alliance Musician Performers logo

EdFringe 2023

After 24 performances at last year’s EdFringe, we are pleased to have received 4-star reviews for both our shows, ‘When Judas Met John‘ and ‘Sitting on a Cornflake‘ and are returning in 2023

Reviews

EdFringe 2023

Our live shows ‘When Judas Met John’ and ‘Sitting on a Cornflake‘ have been very well received at the Edinburgh Fringe 2022 and we will be returning in 2023 with our show:
‘When Judas Met John’ – 6 performances.
For dates, times, venues and ticket sales, see our Festival Gig Dates page.
You can view videos of previous year’s show on our Live Videos page.

When Judas Met John

About 'When Judas Met John'

Presenting a musical journey alternating between Bob Dylan and The Beatles, Irish duo Brothers Broke adapt and perform a bluesy fusion of songs by both artists. This casual and engaging 40-minute show features the like-minded lyrics of both artists, covering themes of love & jealousy; social attitudes; creativity; and revolution of the mind.

This show is charismatic in its offering of tight and subtle ‘sibling’ harmonies supported by solid acoustic blues guitar and harmonica, adding musical personality and character by way of interpretation of the songs.

Sitting on a Cornflake

About 'Sitting on a Cornflake'

Influenced by the songwriting of Lennon and McCartney, Brothers Broke compare, adapt and perform a unique interpretation of songs by both artists from their Beatles and solo careers.

This alluring acoustic 45-minute show compares the individual styles and personalities that contributed to a unique partnership that saw both composers constantly driven to better themselves. Brothers Broke modify and present the songs in an acoustic blues and folk style, exploring influence, inspiration and the competitiveness of this collaborative, yet often independent, songwriting partnership.

Review: When Judas Met John
By Zoë White, The Wee Review, 10 Aug 2022.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Impeccable folk musicians offer a fresh, insightful take on timeless melodies.

The relationship between Bob Dylan and John Lennon was certainly a complex one. This thorny friendship, with its tangled threads of respect, rivalry and mockery is the subject of Irish duo Brothers Broke’s intimate and informative show When Judas Met John. After the show’s success at last year’s Fringe, twin brothers Tom and Hugh Adams have brought their delicate vocal harmonies and pristine musicianship back to Edinburgh for another year.

With Tom’s intricate guitar-work and Hugh expertly juggling bass guitar and harmonica, the pair perform each song with a lightness of touch… the brothers’ sense of subtlety shines on their tender rendition of Roll On John, Dylan’s poignant 2012 tribute to Lennon.

At other points, the duo weave the two artists’ music together. The Beatles’ Norwegian Wood, for example, is intercut with Dylan’s Fourth Time Around. Similarly, Dylan’s formidable condemnation of the arms industry, Masters of War, is spliced with Lennon’s own protest song Working Class Hero. Emphasising the relevance of their political messaging today, the brothers drive home the righteous, unforgiving anger of both songs in one of the show’s most powerful moments.

When Judas Met John is simply a delight for music fans. Relishing the many nuances and contradictions of the two artists’ unique relationship, the brothers highlight the songwriters’ commonalities – word-play, surrealism, biting political commentary – as well as exploring their differences, such as Dylan’s aloof obscurity compared with Lennon’s raw, introspective honesty. But while far more in-depth than a simple tribute concert, the show never alienates its audience. Whether you’re going along for a thoughtful analysis of two legendary songwriters, or simply to hear some classic melodies reinterpreted in blissful, chilled-out folk, Brothers Broke have got you covered.

Review: Sitting on a Cornflake
By Zoë White, The Wee Review, 15 Aug 2022.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Music’s most legendary song-writing partnership re-examined in chilled-out acoustics.

Following their success at the Fringe in previous years, folk and blues duo Brothers Broke are back in Edinburgh at The Space Triplex with Sitting on a Cornflake, their new show about John Lennon’s musical partnership with Paul McCartney.

The show guides us chronologically through the distinct stages in the professional and personal relationship between the two songwriters. Brothers Broke transform their songs into crisp, featherweight acoustic numbers, held together by their precise, intricately-woven harmonies.

The show begins with Things We Said Today and I’ll Be Back, two tracks from 1964, when Lennon and McCartney were collaborating closely, or in Lennon’s words, ‘writing eyeball to eyeball’. Tom and Hugh Adams certainly know their stuff. Not only are their renditions incredibly well-rehearsed, but they pepper the show with interesting anecdotes about the two Beatles.

The brothers also distinguish themselves from many other tribute acts in their thoughtful choice of songs. Instead of just the obvious hits, it’s refreshing to hear, for example, the late Beatles tracks Two of Us and Don’t Let Me Down, the duo perfectly capturing McCartney’s tender, optimistic lyricism and the strained, bluesy tension of Lennon’s impassioned love song respectively.

The music is exquisite, the performers easy-going, and with the audience joining in for a medley of the two Beatles’ solo hits, the atmosphere is truly heart-warming… you are sure to walk out of this show smiling.

Review: When Judas Met John
By Louise Rodgers, Three Weeks Edinburgh, Aug 2021
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A welcome return of this interesting show to the Fringe. This informal yet earnest folk club-like performance was not a tribute to either John Lennon or Bob Dylan, rather it was an exploration, with musical examples, of how Brothers Broke consider that these two artists influenced each other.

There was no attempt to sound like Dylan or Lennon here, and this Irish duo’s own arrangements gave integrity. Like A Rolling Stone was a highlight; it was enjoyable to hear these well-loved songs in the company of fellow enthusiasts with the addition of something to think about!

Brothers Broke Edinburgh Fringe 2021
Harmonica Hugh at EdFringe 2021
Brothers Broke at The Space Triplex, EdFringe
Brothers Broke at EdFringe 2021

Music

Recorded at Hive Studios in London, we offer our interpretation of two inspirational Beatles songs below: ‘I am the Walrus’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Down’.

Recordings

Our first recording ‘I am the Walrus’ exemplifies John Lennon at his creative, non-sensical best. With wide-ranging influences including Bob Dylan, Lewis Carroll and Allen Ginsberg, we have overdubbed the music with voiceovers that hint at some of the people and circumstances that influenced the lyrics and musical arrangement of this unique and surreal song.

Our second recording ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ is a chilled down acoustic version of Lennon’s raw, emotional self-portrait.

The famous rooftop ‘Let It Be’ footage from street level inspired the imagery for our ‘record covers’ here!

Tom recording at Hive Studios
Stu recording at Hive Studios
Hugh recording at Hive Studios
Reviewing the mix

Videos

Live videos of our shows at EdFringe 2022 and 2021 as well as our Virtual EdFringe 2020 from a sunny field in Surrey.

Videos

Click on any of the images below to view live performances of our show ‘When Judas Met John’ at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2022; 2021; 2020 (our virtual Fringe from a field in Surrey); and in 2019.

Reviews: When Judas Met John

By Richard Purden, The Edinburgh Reporter
This is an enjoyable 45 minutes…competent musicians performing harmonies and telling stories with ease. Roll On John performed here was a fitting tribute. The duo deliver a memorable arrangement of I Am The Walrus. It’s not an easy feat to perform such an epic song in a stripped-down manner and retain the original energy of the cut”.

By Theatre Weekly
The brothers, singing and playing both the guitars and the harmonica, are charming and effortless performers. Their voices harmonise almost naturally and you can tell that they really enjoy the music they play. When Judas Met John is an interesting concept”

By NorthWestend UK
An enjoyable 20 minutes – it was well done. Excellent harmonica work. With a bit of luck, I will get to see the full show in Edinburgh next year.

Festival Gig Dates

2023 sees us playing at Edinburgh Fringe, Brighton Fringe, Mole Valley Arts Festival and Dorking Halls.

MusicVideos

2023 Festival Gig Dates

May 26th 2023 (TBC)
Charlwood Village Hall
Show (90 mins): Tangled up in Blues, Dylan and The Beatles @ 7:30pm

May 27th 2023
Brighton Fringe @ Brighton Unitarian Church
Show (60 mins): Sitting on a Cornflake @ 2:30pm

May 28th 2023
Brighton Fringe @ Brighton Unitarian Church
Show (60 mins): When Judas Met John @ 2:30pm

July 23rd 2023
MoonFest @ The Half Moon, Charlwood
Tangled up in Blues, Dylan and The Beatles @ 2:00pm

Aug 4th to Aug 12th 2023
Edinburgh Fringe @ Surgeon’s Hall
Studio 1, Venue 53 
Show (45 mins): When Judas Met John @ 7:30pm

Oct 22nd or 29th 2023 (TBC)
Arts Alive Festival @ Dorking Halls Green Room Theatre
Show (90 mins): Sitting on a Cornflake @ 7:30pm

Oct/Nov 2023
N. Ireland dates and venues (TBC)

Dec 2023
England dates TBC to tie in with below

Dec 1st/2nd/3rd or 8th/9th/10th 2023
Dorking Halls Green Room Theatre
Show (90 mins): When Judas Met John @ 7:30pm

Tickets for our Dorking Halls shows will soon be available here

For further ticket information for above events, call Tom on 07557 742515

Brothers Broke live at Edinburgh Festival
Brothers broke live at the BBC
Stage set at Dorking Halls
Brothers Broke Surrey Beer Festival
Julian guesting on keyboards
Brothers Broke live at Dorking Halls
Merv on sound desk
Stage set at Dorking Halls

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