The Belle BrigadeView in iTunes
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Based in Los Angeles, the Belle Brigade is a pop duo featuring Barbara and Ethan Gruska, the grandchildren of Oscar-winning film composer John Williams. Before teaming up with her younger brother, Barbara launched her career as a touring musician, becoming one of L.A.'s most sought-after drummers thanks to her work with Inara George and Jenny Lewis. Taking a break from the road in 2009, she began writing music with Ethan, a teenaged pianist who'd been penning his own songs in her absence. Both siblings had been raised by Jay Gruska, a former solo artist who, after releasing two major-label albums in the early '80s, made his name writing songs for artists like Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and Amy Grant. The Belle Brigade took most of their cues from the '70s, though, creating a sound whose vocal harmonies and bright, breezy pop hooks were heavily influenced by Fleetwood Mac. Using Barbara's connections in the L.A. music scene, they pieced together a backup band and entered the recording studio with producer Matthew Wilder, emerging in spring 2011 with their well-received, self-titled debut album. The duo's sophomore long-player, the ATO-issued Just Because, followed in early 2014. ~ Andrew Leahey