A&E Review

Hidden Gems: The Teskey Brothers

The Tesky Brothers. Photo courtesy of Spotify.

Soul music is a dying genre, and passionate soul and blues artists are now a dying breed. Once soul pioneers like Etta James, Marvin Gaye and James Brown closed the curtain, soul music’s flame started to dwindle — and throughout the mid to late 1900s that flame was a raging fire.

Nowadays it’s Atlanta-born singer Leon Bridges or Washington D.C.’s finest, Jalen Ngonda, that are trying to revive a lost art. So who would’ve thought that the next hottest artists in Soul would hail from a small town outside of Melbourne, Australia rather than a southern town already deeply rooted in Soul.

Meet The Teskey Brothers. Sam and Josh Teskey started their group in 2008 but took nearly 10 years to make noise in the music industry. The Aussie-born brothers come from an area known for surf rock and indie music, making their rise in the soul and blues that much more fascinating.

With Josh on the vocals and Sam manning the guitar and other various instruments, the duo has already cultivated some heart-wrenching songs. You can feel Josh’s angst in “Pain And Misery” and “Never Tear Us Apart.” His voice belts from deep in his belly, and the fervor in his runs causes you to keep coming back to the same songs.

But whether you are heartbroken or head over heels in love, The Teskey Brothers have a song for the moment. “Forever You and Me” is a textbook “first dance at a wedding” song. From lyricism to the raw vocals from Josh, it’s such a moving song.

“So Caught Up” is one of the many songs where the brothers compete with each other for the most impressive performance. Josh’s rasp is ever present in the chorus of this masterpiece, but Sam kept my knee tapping and head bobbing the whole song with his myriad of instruments keeping the flow in the background.

There’s much to marvel at when speaking on The Teskey Brothers, but to be quite frank there’s one main aspect of their music that keeps me coming back — and don’t take it the wrong way. Sam and Josh are two grungy, white guys from Australia who have managed to mimic the tones of African-American soul legends like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke.

If I’m not paying attention to what music I’ve queued up on my phone I can genuinely mistake these guys for a past trailblazer in soul. Not to make it a race thing, but white guys just simply aren’t supposed to sound like this and I’m still in slight disbelief each time I hear their bellowing voices. 

But this is ultimately what makes The Teskey Brothers so special. It feels as if they are resuscitating a style of soul and blues that died when Redding, Cooke and Brown all left us. The twang, rasp and emotion in Josh’s voice were only ever found in jazzy bars in the deep south of America up until this point.

New age soul artists like previously mentioned Bridges and Ngonda touch on the traditions the blues legends formed before them, but understandably so these men have their style. Ngonda can be too high-pitched and Bridges can lean too heavily into the pop genre, but The Teskey Brothers give you raw soul music.

They are truly the closest thing you are going to find to original soul and blues music in this generation, and with only 3.6 million Spotify listeners (most of those being Australian), the world has yet to discover soul music’s saving grace.

Josh and Sam have three beautifully made albums and a collection of singles waiting to be enjoyed too. They create music that truly hasn’t been perfected like this since artists like Redding and Cooke did it back in the 1960s. 

If you want to see the Aussie brothers do their thing in person they’ll be in Los Angeles this summer on June 5. Otherwise, they’ll be patiently waiting for you to press play on their Spotify account.