The Partland Brothers
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|The Partland Brothers|
|Origin||Colgan, ON, Canada|
|Years active||1983 – present|
|Labels||Capitol Records, Kinetic Records|
The Partlands come from the small community of Colgan, north of Toronto. They played in many area bands before moving their act to Toronto in 1979 and forming Oliver Heavyside (ostensibly named after the British engineer, “Oliver Heaviside”), a Toronto bar staple for years. In 1982, they entered and won the “Q107 Homegrown” contest, which attracted the attention of Capitol Records. Their first album as the Partland Brothers, Electric Honey, was released in 1986, and the first single, "Soul City," a soaring anthem featuring the brothers' distinctive close-harmony vocals, went Top 10 in Canada and Top 30 in the US. This success earned them tours with the Moody Blues and the Beach Boys in the US, as well as headline gigs of their own at home in Canada. They also appeared on American Bandstand and The Late Show with Arsenio Hall, which helped raise their visibility even more.
Their live band engaged seasoned live performers, including Tom Lewis (bass), John Bride (guitar), Richard Evans (keyboards), Greg Critchley (drums), and Mike Skinner (sax). They were also nominated for Most Promising Group at the 1987 Juno Awards. Produced by Vini Poncia, and featuring the talents of countless studio favorites, the album was reissued in 1987 with the Jim Vallance-produced song "One Chance," which is still played on many adult radio stations today.
Management struggles ensued, and it took until 1990 for them to record and release their second album, "Between Worlds," produced by Jon Goldsmith (Bruce Cockburn). Gone was the slickness of Electric Honey, replaced with a more acoustic rock and roll sound. With contributions from studio veterans such as Rob Piltch, bassist Steve Webster (Alannah Myles), drummer John Anderson, guitarist Bill Dillon (Robbie Robinson, Daniel Lanois), Anton Fig (David Letterman's studio band), Shawn Jackson, Ken Greer, Hugh Marsh, Jorn Anderson, and Lisa DalBello, “Between Worlds” moved the Partlands closer to their roots.
The brothers played occasionally, highlighting the talent of, among others, Refugee's lead guitarist Rob Kennedy. It was another three years and a label change before their last studio album, Part Land, Part Water, was released on Kinetic Records. Production was given over to Ken Greer (Red Rider guitarist, Tragically Hip producer), who also played lead guitars, pedal steel, mandolin, bass, and all keyboards on the album. With this offering, the revolution moved forward with another giant step. The Partland Brothers spiritual roots come shining through in songs like “Lift Me Up," while songs such as “Lean Into It” tell a story of commitment and believing in the idea that the first to succeed are the last ones to quit.
Occasional dates ensued, but the band chose to stay close to home rather than tackling an all-out tour. These days, the brothers Partland, now including Robin Partland on Drums, can be found backing up Ronnie Hawkins on the road in Canada and the US, as well as playing shows together and individually.
- Electric Honey (1986)
- Between Worlds (1990)
- Part Land, Part Water (1993)
- This Is Who I Am (2009)
- Every Now... And Again (2010)
|Year||Song||Canadian Singles||US Hot 100||Album|
|1986||"Soul City"||10||-||Electric Honey|
|1990||"Honest Man"||?||-||Between Worlds|
|1993||"Lift Me Up"||?||-||Part Land Part Water|