Growing up with one foot in country and the other in rock ’n’ roll, Charlie Everett and Donnie Challenger became best friends in their first high school band and forged a musical partnership that has grown across half a century. As guitarists in the Reactions, they learned to play in the golden era of Downstate Delaware ’60s bands; as members of Nashville East, they pioneered country rock at the University of Delaware, and in 1971 were the opening act for the Byrds; a year later Nashville East won the Delaware State Battle of the Bands. Going separate ways for decades, Everett was a cornerstone of the progressive country band Alias, based in Kentucky, while Challenger played guitar and sang with the Commotions, a Delaware band that melded new wave, classic soul, and original material in the 1980s.
They reunite as the Beausage Brothers, writing, performing, and producing a hybrid of American rock, folk, and country that bears the patina of hard-won experience: soaring harmonies, searing guitars, lyrics that matter, and the conviction that music remains a language with the power to shape who we are.
• Their first album, The First State, was both a homecoming and a lyrical retrospective. The double entendre of the CD title and the title song is intended. After decades of living lives and raising families apart, Everett and Challenger returned home to the First State, their home state of Delaware, to reunite in music and friendship.
• Their second album, North by Northeast, picked up where The First State left off, venturing beyond folk-rock borders in both songwriting and production. It opens with a title song that is itself a Byrds homage: lyrics modeled on Gene Clark's, harmonies that echo David Crosby's, and Charlie Everett's Rickenbacker 12 string, inspired by Roger McGuinn and Tony Poole of Starry Eyed and Laughing and Bennett Wilson Poole.
• Their third album, Livin' To Tell The Tale , is inspired by an understanding that after so many years, boyhood friends are lucky to be able to write and perform music together — fortunate to be livin' to tell the tale.
Their fourth album, Alberta Clipper, addresses and encourages the role of music in a collapsing world, and reaches both back to the ’60s and ahead to a shadowed future to seek out a common voice. Can the sounds that transformed the world two generations ago inspire us?
About our name....
OK, it’s true. We're not actual brothers, though we've been friends for more than 50 years and musical partners for a fair chunk of that time. And, hey there are precedents for that. What about the Righteous Brothers? The Flying Burrito Brothers? The Doobie Brothers? No brothers there. So we think of “brotherhood” in this sense as a way of representing our history, rooted in both friendship and shared musical tastes.
So on to “Beausage.” It’s a word coined by Grant Petersen, founder of the legendary Rivendell Bicycle Works. He welds the words “beauty” and “usage” together to create a new concept.
Beausage comes though use — so think of that leather jacket that took you 10 years to break in, or the jeans that took you three. An old photo that somehow looks better cracked and creased than PhotoShopped. A guitar with the gouges, cracks, saddle rash, and varnish warming toward amber that can only be acquired through many years of hard use.
So it is with the Beausage (which we pronounce “BO-sage”) Brothers. We're old guys playing music rooted in our collective musical heritage — country rock, folk rock, Americana — styles and genres we've loved deeply for most of our lives. We like the creases, the patches, and the scars that go with that heritage. We're writing and producing songs we never could have created in our 20s or 30s.
Maybe we're just late to the party. But we'd like to think we're getting better with age.....