Mulligan brothers visit Tuscaloosa for third time

Mulligan brothers visit Tuscaloosa for third time

The Mulligan Brothers will perform at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center on Thursday, January 29 at 7:30 p.m. Photo Courtesy of Lynn Oldshue

Francie Johnson

“We’re really excited about going back [to Tuscaloosa] this time in particular because we have the new record,” Rea said. “[We’re] looking forward to being able to get this second album out to our fans in Tuscaloosa and hopefully gain some new fans too.”

The band released its second album, “Via Portland,” Jan. 20. As the title suggests, the band recorded the album in Portland, Oregon, where they spent three weeks living together and working with Grammy Award-winning musician and producer Steve Berlin of 
Los Lobos.

It’s been about a year and a half since the band released its debut self-titled album, which was recorded in a small studio in Mobile. Because of space limitations, the band had to multi-track that album, meaning the instrumental and vocal tracks were recorded separately and combined during the 
editing process.

Recording their second album in a larger, nicer studio in Portland allowed the band members to play together live during the recording process.

“Just having more room and the opportunity to be able to all track together live was a big deal,” Rea said. “You can really tell the difference in this record. Us being able to play together at the same time and have that feeling together was awesome.”

Being in a new environment helped the band members immerse themselves in the recording process, lead vocalist Ross Newell said.

“When we’re at home, we all have individual responsibilities and lives to live, so that creates a lot of distraction,” Newell said. “Getting that far away from home definitely affected our focus – we were just able to go up there and completely concentrate on recording while we were there.”

In addition to being the band’s lead vocalist, Newell created the album’s cover art and serves as the band’s primary songwriter. He said his favorite song on the new album is “Calamine.”

“It took me a really long time to write,” he said. “I overwrote that song so many times, it was really more of a novel or a short story than a song, and then there was a heavy editing process where we had to figure out what details the song could 
live without.”

The band, who previously played at the Bama Theatre, will play at the Cultural Arts Center in downtown Tuscaloosa. Their performance will be recorded to appear on Alabama Public Television’s “Afterhours” music series.

While the band members said they enjoy playing at the Bama Theatre, Newell said it’s not just the venue keeping the band coming back – it’s the fans.

“It’s really the people who go there, more so than the venue,” he said. “I think the listening crowd is the key element. It feels like people are paying attention and listening, and that feels good as musicians and songwriters.”

The Mulligan Brothers will perform at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center Thursday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10. For more information about the band, visit