Performing frequently around the Twin Cities, poet and songwriter Brian Laidlaw pairs his music and lyrics with the enthusiasm and talents of The Family Trade. An ethereal gift to the eardrums, Brian Laidlaw and the Family Trade are like waking up on a Saturday morning, where every position is comfortable and cozy. With a mandolin, violin, cello, ukulele, guitar, bass, and drums in tow, their folksy jams are songs you can sing along to after only one listen. Laidlaw’s lyrics lay out smooth against the background of so many strings, ebbing and flowing with each crescendo and diminuendo. On stage, the band members swell with the music as they strum and sing along.
First things first, how does a big ol’ band like The Family Trade come to be? Slowly, naturally, progressively, it would seem. “At the time when this band formed, I was living in a very musical house. We’d often find ourselves hosting impromptu song-swaps on our porch, with a cast of local songwriters sharing their works-in-progress and other folks jumping in, singing harmonies on the fly, adding other instruments, and so on,” Laidlaw says. “The Family Trade arose from those informal sing-alongs; after several of my musician friends knew how to play my songs, the ‘sing-alongs’ shifted almost imperceptibly into ‘rehearsals.’ Pretty soon we were playing at venues bigger than the front porch.”
It was an incredible blessing to discover an awesome band hiding right inside my circle of closest friends.
Hailing from California, Laidlaw had his own band back in San Francisco. But when he moved to Minneapolis to pursue his MFA in poetry at the U of M, he missed the joys of performing and writing music. “When The Family Trade took shape, it was an incredible blessing to discover an awesome band hiding right inside my circle of closest friends,” Laidlaw explains.