4 To Watch: The Bridges

Spanning Genres and Generations

Music Features
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Hometown: Oxford, Ala.
Members [L-R]: Jeremy Byrd, Natalie Byrd, Brittany Painter, Isaaca Byrd, Stacey Byrd
Fun fact: The entire band lives together in the same house, with a practice room in the basement.
Why they’re worth watching: The Bridges have already caught the ear of Matthew Sweet, who recorded several songs with them last year.
For fans of: The Cardigans, The Bangles, Fleetwood Mac

In the past, AAA (Adult Album Alternative) has too often stood for: middle-aged adult who eats at Ruby Tuesday and TiVos Everybody Loves Raymond; uninteresting, frequently sucky album; and decidedly unalternative, even anti-alternative. But Oxford, Ala.’s The Bridges—along with bands like The Magic Numbers and The Weepies—are doing their best to re-invigorate the genre. This is how alternative music for grownups should sound: interesting and approachable songs you can listen to in the car with your mom (or your daughter).

“I don’t know if anyone would call it rock ’n’ roll, but I’ll say ‘rock/pop’ instead of ‘pop/rock,’” jokes singer/keyboardist Natalie Byrd from L.A., where The Bridges spent the Thanksgiving holiday ?nishing their debut full-length and adding an edge to their polished songs.

The band’s three-part harmonies are catchy every time, and their straightforward lyrics ?t comfortably with the sunshine-pop vibe ("Take a hit / Take a swing / You’re the one I love / Let it all / Balance out / I’m the one you need”). The Bridges deliver their material with exuberance, creating a country-tinged sound that’s not speci?c to 2008—but it’s not cheesy nostalgia rock, either. And their story is as charming as the music.

All the band members are siblings, except lead singer Brittany Painter, who’s their ?rst cousin. (“She’s basically like our sister,” Byrd says. “You’ll catch her saying ‘my sister’ or ‘my brother’ about us.”) See The Bridges perform once, and it’s clear that their charisma comes from a unique closeness.

This is a vintage-style family band, even down to the name. “It comes from a club called The Bridge, a place our dad used to go to see bands play when he was younger,” Byrd says. “And we couldn’t be The Byrds, for obvious reasons.”

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