Music has a long list of family members who don’t get along. Perfect examples are the Gallagher, Robinson and Davies brothers.
But Breneau, a local pop-country duo, proves that you don’t necessarily need to feud with family members to feed your music.
Scott Breneau, 53, of Alpine, and his 20-year-old daughter Kimber, of Salt Lake City, have been creating buzz in the local music scene for their unique blend of acoustic guitar and clawhammer banjo.
The clawhammer banjo differs from other stringed instruments in that utilizes predominantly a down-picking style, whereas usually guitars and other banjos are generally marked by up-picking with the fingers and down-picking with the thumb.
While the father works at a small business and daughter spends her days as a hairstylist in Sandy, the two spend many evenings together harmonizing, rehearsing, performing and recording — the second album should be released in early 2013.
Both members of Breneau answered questions about why they play music together, what listeners can expect from the second album, and the speed of smell.
How did Scott and Kimber get into music?
Scott: I was paroled from a life sentence of piano lessons while attending high school in Kentucky and was allowed to take bluegrass banjo lessons instead. After graduating, I moved to Utah to attend college and formed an acoustic band for fun. I finished college, married my beautiful wife Donna, had four wonderful children, adopted a below-average cat and a great German Sheperd. Six years ago I picked up the banjo again and began taking clawhammer banjo lessons to prevent further loss of the right side of my brain.
Kimber: I always loved singing and eventually picked up the guitar. I started taking guitar lessons and began writing for our first CD.
Why did you decide to join forces and start performing and recording together?
Scott: Unlike most high school kids, Kimber would stay up late every night learning the guitar and writing her own songs. She never planned on sharing the songs until I made her play them for her guitar teacher. Her teacher was a former music professor at the University of Utah and told Kimber she had the right stuff to make it. (I, of course, would be along for the ride.) Kimber and I then began working together, and liked the sound. We created the band Breneau to crystallize the sound of our work.
Kimber: My Dad and I decided to play music together because we love the sound of the guitar and clawhammer banjo. We wanted to create a new sound with lyrics that listeners can relate to.
How will the second album differ from the first album?
Scott: We liked the first album. It had more of a “pop” feel to us that would make it a little more mainstream. The second album will be more organic and driving — less electric more acoustic.
Kimber: The second album will have more of a raw, organic sound. The lyrics are slightly less sugar-coated.
What is your most memorable experience in music?
Scott: The first time we played one of the first songs for Kimber’s guitar teacher and my banjo teacher. We were looking for soft critical comment, but we saw them both with a surprised, but genuine, look of satisfaction. They said, “That’s a wrap, ready to go.” We still use them both as sounding boards, and we do get a lot more input to challenge us as we move forward. If you listen to the first album and realize Kimber has not yet learned to read music and has had no formal music training outside of guitar lessons, it makes the talent evident.
Kimber: My most memorable experience with music is when my dad and I played at Cranky Chuckies [restaurant] in Provo. It was the first time I felt truly connected to the audience. The food was good and I left feeling like I knew what I was doing.
Some famous bands have broken up because of familial tensions. Are there disagreements, and how are they resolved?
Scott: As a small business owner, I have found that things run smoothly if responsibilities and communications are clear. Kimber takes care of all music and creative aspects and politely listens to my opinion. She does listen carefully to how I feel the music should be done so she can get a good laugh. Since I went to high school in Kentucky and I am an engineer, the expectations are really quite low. I take care of the business side along with Kent Kingston, who helps with marketing, promotion and booking. It’s pretty easy to manage — just pay money for everything.
Kimber: My Dad and I rarely argue when it comes to music. If we do, it is solved within a matter of minutes — as soon as my mood swing is over.
How does living in Utah impact the music you create?
Scott: Moving from Kentucky to Utah brings its share of stark contrasts and cultural differences. I really like the mountains in Utah. I travel all over the world for my work and find vast differences in peoples and cultures. Kimber has had the opportunity to travel with me and gain an appreciation for the diversity. The common thread that we both share in the music is to do a small part in making the world a better place. Life’s challenges are felt by everyone. Sometimes a song can make a difference.
Kimber: Being close to nature helps me get grounded, but the city also makes for good lyrics.
Why people are so scared of mice, which are much smaller than us, when no one seems to be scared of Mickey Mouse, who is bigger than us?
Scott: Unkown to many, mice rarely change their underwear, Mickey Mouse being the exception. The fear factor is not size, but personal hygiene.
Kimber: Probably because they are fast and sneaky. In my opinion. Mickey Mouse is practically human.
If there’s a speed of sound and a speed of light, is there a speed of smell?
Scott: Yes. Let me explain. The speed of sound is approximately 600 miles per hour at standard temperature and pressure. The speed of light is approximately 186,000 miles per second. The speed of smell is the root mean square of the product of these two values divided by the cube root of the weight of the person generating the smell. It should be noted that the heavier the person, the speed of their smell increases exponentially when upwind of the speed tracking device. Typically, these devices are good for only one measurement for those weighing over 300 pounds.
Kimber: Google says yes.
Upcoming appearances from Breneau:
Friday Sept. 28, and Saturday, Sept. 29 from 7 to 9 p.m. • Mo’s Neighborhood Grill, 358 South West Temple, Salt Lake City
Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 8 to 10 p.m. • Guru’s Café, 45 East Center St., Provo
• No cover for all shows
Check them out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx2Gu3ycUVo